2018 Colin Roderick Award Winner


On the Java Ridge, skipper Isi Natoli and a group of Australian surf tourists are anchored off the Indonesian island of Dana. In the Canberra office of Cassius Calvert, Minister for Border Integrity, a federal election looms and a hardline new policy on asylum-seekers is being rolled out.

Not far from Dana, the Takalar is having engine trouble. Among the passengers on board fleeing from persecution are Roya and her mother, and Roya’s unborn sister.

The storm now closing in on the Takalar and the Java Ridge will mean catastrophe for them all.

Judges' Report

The writing leaves you breathless and there are passages that are brilliant, for example - ‘Now he understood the gravity. Now he could trace the river backwards to him at the source:’ in speaking of responsibility; ‘The pile of bodies on the island, that didn’t even enter the political calculus. … they’d died as they lived: on the wrong side of an invisible line.’ Serong brings together thriller, political critique, and adventure story in a way that might be reminiscent of James Bond, were it not that governments turn out to be the evilest of all.

About the Author

Jock Serong’s debut novel Quota won the 2015 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel. In 2016, his second novel, The Rules of Backyard Cricket was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. His third novel, On the Java Ridge was published in 2017. Formerly a lawyer, Jock is now a feature writer and was the editor of Great Ocean Quarterly.  He lives with his wife and four children in Port Fairy, Victoria.