Ash Road Critical Context - Essay

Ivan Southall

Critical Context

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

During a writing career spanning more than fifty years, Southall became a well-known, popular, and award-winning writer for children and young adults. His desire to surround the great moments of life with words and protect them for young readers has been appreciated by both children and critics. Ash Road is one of the novels for which Southall received the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Award. It displays many of the elements found in his other works: Hills End (1962), To the Wild Sky (1967), Finn’s Folly (1969), and Chinaman’s Reef Is Ours (1970) are all fast-moving survival tales. In each, young people face adversity with little or no adult support. This formula appears to be successful: Although Ash Road was first published in 1966, it has a contemporary feel and retains its appeal as a compelling survival story.