Isobelle Carmody

Isobelle Carmody portrait image to appear alongside the Isobelle Carmody biography.

Isobelle Carmody was born June 16, 1958 in Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia. She is an author of science fiction and fantasy for children, young-adults and adults and best known for her Obernewtyn Chronicles, which she wrote while she was still at high school and worked on it while completing her Bachelor of Arts and subsequent journalism cadetship.

Carmody is the author of many award-winning short stories, Scatterlings won Talking Book of the Year in 1992 and in 1993 The Gathering was a joint winner of 1993 CBC Book of the Year Award and winner of the 1994 Children’s Literature Peace Prize. Billy Thunder and the Night Gate was shortlisted for the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's' Literature in the 2001 NSW Premiers Literary Awards. Greylands was named a White Raven at Bologna Book Fair and the title story of the Green Monkey Dream collection won best short story in the Aurealis Awards. Darksong won an Aurealis Award in its year. Alyzon Whitestarr won a Golden Aurealis. The Red Wind, the first book in The Kingdom of The Lost series which she also illustrated won the CBC Book of the Year in 2011 in the Younger Readers’ Category.

Carmody was Guest of Honour at the 2007 Australian National Science Fiction Convention, Convergence 2, held in Melbourne.

“It was lovely building their relationship. I really do like a thread of human relationship, a very intense, passionate, loving relationship. It was very important for me, because she started out like I started out; feeling utterly unlovable, prickly and difficult to love, as well as feeling that she would never be loved. I think she was difficult to be loved. And as she grew and grew in confidence, she learns more and more about love. The relationships between people should grow with the people. And sometimes, as with Kella and Domick, they grow apart. And that’s life too. And other times, there’s a ghosting of things that happen. Selmar is a ghost of Elspeth in a way; she is an echo of what she might have become. And all the way through there are these kind of echoes, where a theme is struck which is 'if it could go that way, this might happen.' Domick is also another ghost, a ghost of Rushton himself."
Isobelle Carmody talking to our own Joshua S Hill regarding the Obernewtyn Chronicles and its lead Elspeth and her love interest, Rushton.

Isobelle Carmody books reviewed


Obernewtyn Chronicles

  • Obernewtyn (1987)
    In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities, it is also dangerous. Survival is only by secrecy and so she determines never to use her forbidden powers. But it is as if they have their own imperative and she is brought to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land. Banished to the remote mountain institution of Obernewtyn, she must throw off her cloak of concealment and pit herself against those that would resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse. Only then will she learn most truly who and what she is ... Elspeth is determined to uncover the plot and so, accompanied only by her cat, Maruman, embarks on a terrible adventure full of danger, the conclusion to which promises not just uncertainty about her safety but also that of many around her.
  • The Farseekers (1990)
    Since their takeover of Obernewtyn, Elspeth and the Misfits have been preparing for the inevitable confrontation with the Council - developing their forbidden mental abilities so they are ready for battle. But in the midst of plans to rescue a powerful Misfit, it is foreseen by a futureteller that the fate of Obernewytn is inextricably bound up with their quest. Led by Elspeth, whose extraordinary powers set her apart from her Misfit friends, the expedition sets out on its danger-filled task.
  • Ashling (1995)
    Elspeth is sent to Sutrium, seat of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land, to seal an alliance between the secret Misfit community at Obernewtyn and rebel forces. She undertakes the journey reluctantly as she has another task at hand: to find and destroy the dormant weaponmachines. Her journey takes her far beyond the borders of the Land and into the heart of the desert region of Sador, where she soon discovers just how much help she needs to complete both her quests!
  • The Keeping Place (1999)
    When one of their number is kidnapped, Elspeth and the Misfits are forced to use their extraordinary mind powers to help the rebels in their struggle to overthrow the oppressive Council. But Elspeth has another problem to solve - she is still on her quest to destroy the Beforetime weaponmachines. To find a clue hidden deep in the past, Elspeth must travel the Dreamtrails, but her journeys are fraught with danger as she battles a terrifying winged beast intent on destroying her. Gradually Elspeth realises that her quest will take her back to Obernewytn, and it is here, in its past, as well as its future, that the answers lie.
  • Wavesong (2008)
    The rebellion has been a success; it has brought changes - changes that not everyone welcomes! Captured by an old and vicious enemy, Elspeth Gordie is drawn into the heart of the Herder Faction, where she learns of a terrible plot that could threaten all that she has fought so hard to achieve. Elspeth must risk everything, knowing that if she dies, she will never complete her quest to find the weaponmachines that destroyed the Beforetime. But should she succeed, she could find the prized weaponmachines much sooner than she had hoped.
  • The Stone Key (2008)
    Friend becomes foe and trust is a thing of the past when the Misfits' most relentless enemy, on the cusp of ultimate revenge, turns Elspeth's world upside down. Before it's too late, Elspeth must rescue a former ally whose mind and body have been manipulated to unleash a plague that will destroy all it touches.
  • The Sending (2011)
    It came to me then, like a chilly draught from an unseen gap, that I had always known in my deepest heart that it would be like this, a slipping away from a life full of people I had come to love, in a place I had helped to shape, in a land I had helped to free. The time has come at last for Elspeth Gordie to leave the Land on her quest to find and stop the computermachine Sentinel from unleashing the deadly Balance of Terror arsenal.  But before she can embark on her journey, she must find a lost key. And although she has long prepared for this day, nothing is as she anticipated. Elspeth's search will take her where she never thought to go, and bestow upon her stranger companions than any she ever imagined.  It will lead her far from her destination to those she believed lost forever. And it will test her, as she has never been tested before...
  • The Red Queen (2014)
    After years spent struggling to balance her desires with her responsibilities, Elspeth Gordie has fully embraced her role as the Seeker. Battle-scarred and lovelorn, haunted by memories of her beloved Rushton, Elspeth is not prepared for what she finds at the end of the black road she travels: the Compound, a lost community with a startling secret. As Elspeth strives against her captors, she learns that Rushton and her friends have fallen into the hands of the deadly slavemasters that rule the Red Land. And worst of all, as Elspeth stumbles, the Destroyer creeps ever closer to his goal: awakening the cataclysmically destructive weaponmachines that Elspeth has been charged with stopping. Has all her sacrifice been in vain?

Legendsong Saga

  • Darkfall (1997)
    After the death of her parents and her beloved instructor, Wind, Glynn devotes herself to the care of her sick twin sister, feeling her own life to be unimportant. One night, during a midnight swim, she is swept across the Void to the troubled watery world of Keltor, through a portal created to summon the mythical Unraveller. What is the mysterious connection between Glynn's world and Keltor? And why does the man who rescued her from the waves bear an eerie resemblance to Wind?
  • Darksong (2002)
    These are the signs by which the Unraveller shall be known: Half-blind yet seeing all, marked by visioning yet without Darkfall mark, who lives yet sings the death song, who is born yet is not of the Song of Making, who is gifted from the Great Waters, who is crowned in bright flame... Legendsong of the Unykorn. After crossing to the troubled world of Keltor, Ember learns that her twin sister also crossed, and is in great danger. She must find Glynn and warn her before it is too late.
  • Darkbane (forthcoming)

Gateway Trilogy

  • Billy Thunder and the Night Gate (2000)
    Rage finds herself trapped in Valley, a dreamworld in which she will learn the limits of courage, hope and friendship as she battles to return to the real world and her dying mother.
  • The Winter Door (2003)
    In the midst of the worst winter on record, Rage is beset with worry. Her mother still hasn’t fully recovered from her car accident despite Rage’s successful quest for healing magic. Her stoic uncle seems to be having second thoughts about looking after her. The school bully, Logan, is increasingly malicious. And her only friend, Billy Thunder, is just a dog again. As if that weren’t enough, there’s something wild lurking in the woods around the farm. Do Rage’s dreams hint at a sinister threat to two worlds?
  • Firecat's Dream (forthcoming)

The Legend of Little Fur

  • Little Fur (2005)
    Who is Little Fur? Why, she's a half elf, half troll, as tall as a three-year-old human child, with slanted green eyes, wild red hair that brambles about her pointed ears, and bare, broad, four-toed feet. Little Fur loves and tends to the Old Ones, the seven ancient trees that protect her home, a small, magical wilderness nestled magically in a park in the midst of a large, bustling human city. When she learns that evil forces are out to destroy her beloved trees, the intrepid halfling must embark on an ambitious and dangerous journey into the human world and down into an ancient cut in the earth, in search of a way to save not only the Old Ones, but the Earth Spirit itself.
  • A Fox Called Sorrow (2006)
    When Little Fur discovers that the Troll King is plotting against the earth spirit that binds all living things, she sets off on a new adventure with a set of unlikely companions: the faithful cat Ginger, a reluctant rat, a pair of ferrets, and a mysterious fox called Sorrow who believes their quest is doomed. Can someone as small as Little Fur prove him wrong?
  • A Mystery of Wolves (2007)
    Little Fur goes in search of her friend, Ginger the cat, who has failed to return to the hidden grove they call home. But before she can help her friend, Little Fur must learn about the Mystery of Wolves - a mystic order of wolves who dwell in the high mountains to the east of the city. On an adventure that leads to more than just Ginger, Little Fur aids the animals in a zoo, learns more about her long-gone father and mother, and ultimately risks everything she loves to save the mysterious and dangerous humans who do not even know she exists.
  • Riddle of Green (2008)
    When Little Fur loses touch with the flow of earth magic, she knows that she must regain it, whatever it takes. A visit to the prophetic Sett Owl makes it clear that Little Fur has to embark on the most dangerous of all her adventures and follow the dreams of a lemur. Accompanied by new companions including the lemur, a horde of lemmings, and a panther, Little Fur leaves the human city and sets out across the great salten sea. What Little Fur discovers about the past and the future on this most dangerous, yet most personal and rewarding journey, makes for an exciting and moving conclusion to this eco-fantasy quartet.

The Kingdom of the Lost

  • The Red Wind (2010)
    Every year Zluty journeys to the great forest while Bily stays to tend their desert home. And every year Zluty returns with exciting tales of his adventures. But then a devastating red wind sweeps across the land destroying everything in its path. And each brother must fight for his survival. A magical new series for younger readers from the award-winning author of Little Fur.
  • The Cloud Road (2013)
    Adventure and danger follow Bily, Zluty, Redwing, and the monster as they cross a barren desert and journey over high stony mountains in search of a place where they can make a new home. But will the secret they uncover in the Cloud Mountains be the end of them all?
  • The Velvet City (forthcoming)


  • Scatterlings (1991)
    Merlin awakes from a terrifying accident not knowing who, or where she is. All she knows for certain, is that this is not her world ... Bewildered and alone, Merlin sets out through an alien landscape to try and discover the truth about herself - as terrifying as it may be!
  • The Gathering (1993)
    When Nathanial and his mother move to the quiet, safe streets of Cheshunt, he immediately senses something wrong.  Violent gangs patrol the streets, feral dogs roam at night, and the oppressive stench from the abattoir lingers over the school. Soon Nathanial learns that his presence is no accident.  As he uncovers the dark secrets of Cheshunt's past, and event spiral desperately out of control, he and his new friends must confront phantoms from their past in the battle to stop the Gathering and its terrifying creator.
  • The Red Shoes (1996)
  • Greylands (1997)
    A silent, lonely place, devoid of colour and scent - this is the Greylands. Jack and Ellen have lost their mother and their grief-stricken dad isn’t coping. In the sad and confusing aftermath of her death, Jack tries to understand more about his mother and the mysteries behind her death. One wakeful night, Jack enters a place made up of colourless reflections of his own world. Trapped inside this lonely land he meets Alicia, a strange girl with a secret, and the tragic laughing beast. Will Jack work out how to escape before the terrifying wolves find him? Or is he destined to live in the Greylands forever?
  • The Landlord (2000)
  • Angel Fever (2004)
    When plain and simple Eely finds a beautiful winged man wounded in one of the rift caves she takes him to Iakas, a roofie, who learns that the winged man had been betrayed by those who resent the superiority of the winged folk and cast out of his beautiful city in the clouds. Together with Red and his drain-crawler twin brother Igorik, they embark on a quest to recover the sacred and elusive starstone, which had also been cast adrift. The starstone responds to beauty, and grows stronger in its presence - so where is it? Can the people of Quentaris find true beauty and end the long-standing animosity that exists between the elitist roofies, the vain sky folk, and the humble ground dwellers? And why is Eely becoming so - angelic?
  • Alyzon Whitestarr (2005)
    Are Alyzon’s new abilities a blessing... or a curse? Alyzon Whitestarr doesn't take after her musically talented father or her nocturnal, artistic mother. In fact, she’s the most normal member of a very eccentric family... until the day that an accident leaves her more unique than she ever could have dreamed. Suddenly colors are more vibrant to Alyzon; her memory is flawless; but strangest of all is Alyzon’s sense of smell. Her best friend smells of a comforting sea breeze. She registers her father’s contentment as the sweet scent of caramelized sugar. But why does the cutest guy in school smell so rancid? With Alyzon’s extrasensory perception comes intrigue and danger, as she becomes aware of the dark secrets and hidden ambitions that threaten her family. In the end, being different might be less of a blessing than a curse...
  • The Cat Dreamer (2005)
    When a deligation of visitors arrive in Quentaris and stay, dark and strange rumours of sacrifice emerge and people start disappearing. Igorik, with the help of a mysterious cat, takes it upon himself to investigate.

Critical acclaim

"Blends graceful storytelling with appealing characters." Library Journal