Charlotte McConaghy has been writing from a young age. She has both a Graduate Degree in Screenwriting and a Masters Degree in Screen Arts, and has worked in script development for film and television for several years. She has written a number of speculative fiction books but The Last Migration is her first literary novel. She lives in Sydney.
The Last Migration
A dark past. An impossible journey. The will to survive.
How far you would you go for love? Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica.
As animal populations plummet and commercial fishing faces prohibition, Franny talks her way onto one of the few remaining boats heading south. But as she and the eccentric crew travel further from shore and safety, the dark secrets of Franny’s life begin to unspool. A daughter’s yearning search for her mother. An impulsive, passionate marriage. A shocking crime. Haunted by love and violence, Franny must confront what she is really running towards – and from.
The Last Migration is a wild, gripping and deeply moving novel from a brilliant young writer. From the west coast of Ireland to Australia and remote Greenland, through crashing Atlantic swells to the bottom of the world, this is an ode to the wild places and creatures now threatened, and an epic story of the possibility of hope against all odds.
Pub date: 4 August 2020
Penguin Random House Australia
This was a lovely session. It opened with an author reading of the first chapter of The Last Migration and I am so keen now to keep on reading it. Charlotte has made a leap from writing YA speculative fiction to literary fiction. The key theme of the novel is loss and from that, the courage to endure and move forward from loss. The main character is coping with her own monumental loss at the same time that the world is facing catastrophic environmental loss, and it’s the link between these two that form the backbone of the story.
Charlotte wanted to write a story that explores the question of home. Do you need a place for it to be considered home, or can the element that makes it home be something else? She believes that people can be home. Can a person be migratory yet still have a home? Charlotte believes so, and demonstrates this through her main character.
The Last Migration is heavily influenced by Ireland, its landscapes, history, weather patterns, and mythology. She likens her main character to a Selkie, although only in essence, as The Last Migration is not speculative fiction.
Charlotte says she never set out to write a novel about climate change, but when you write about the natural world today, you have an obligation to engage with the climate crisis. It cannot be ignored. While on the surface, it may depict a bleak picture, The Last Migration is ultimately a book about reclaiming hope. Humans, Charlotte feels, are at their most destructive when they lose hope. There is power in hope. The Last Migration takes an existential look at the emotional impact of the entire loss of the earth’s creatures.
Charlotte’s next novel is called Creatures All and is about wolves and the Scottish Highlands. It’s all about the healing power of nature, a theme, Charlotte says, that will always be present within her writing.