Margaret Sutherland

Margaret Sutherland has followed several careers: nursing, writing, marriage and motherhood, and music teaching. These experiences have provided invaluable material for her seven novels and three short story collections.

Her early books were well received in Britain, America and New Zealand. Great reviews and competition successes earned her a NZ Scholarship in Letters, two Australia Council writing grants, and first prize in a recent national short story competition. Radio NZ and Radio Denmark have broadcast her stories. More recently, she has self-published, on-selling to Ulverscroft large-print. 

Her goal in writing is to uncover the small truths at crisis points of everyday life. She writes affectionately about ordinary people who share our hopes, joys, loves and sorrows. Her settings include the languor of the tropics (Fiji, New Guinea) New Zealand - her birth place - and Australia; a country she loves for its warmth, landscapes and generosity of dimension.



Margaret Sutherland's Books

Paperback / eBook

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The Sea Between cover


In Trundle,an imaginary town on the coast of NSW, Mr Lal’s wife falls ill and dies. In his grief he evolves a plan to build a monument in her honour. His Taj will be a tribute to his culture and a memorial to his own struggle as a migrant and outsider. His search for land takes him to the town’s outskirts, where Pelican is a defunct commune on the verge of disbanding. Meanwhile, the large cast of Trundle residents are caught up in their own past hurts and present problems. Some find the challenge of their crooked deals, perversion or violence is too great. But unexpected kindness and the rebirth of love allow others to feel the human spirit is alive and well, and that beginning afresh is an option. Written with wry humour and compassion, the story unfolds as a meditation on grief, healing and forgiving the past. 

Paperback /eBook

Large print hardback

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Leaving Gaza cover

1913: The world is about to go to war and Maggie Butler’s husband has run off to America, leaving his devastated wife and children to make their own way in the provincial Irish Catholic city of Wellington, New Zealand. Seeking happiness and security, the Butlers will do what it takes and go where they must – into the convent, over the sea, headlong into impulsive marriages, the low life, jail. Spanning twenty years of war, the fun-loving ’20s and the Depression, this classic trans-Tasman story follows the Butler men and women across oceans and into the confronting mysteries of the heart. 


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Taj Mahal of Trundle cover

 Two women, two wars : the migrant, Ruth, is a vibrant Israeli writer who grew up amid gunfire and grenades, while her new friend, Barbara, lives and paints quietly in her home town, Newcastle, with her husband, the musician Heath.  Ruth enters their orbit just as Barbie withdraws marital sex; her own war on a life she sees as subservient and controlled. Ruth is drawn in to fill the growing rift, but sociable lunches and cosy picnics falter.

Is Barbara’s future in ruins? Turning for inspiration to her admired models, the early Australian women painters like Grace Cossington-Smith who once said “People thought that a woman painter couldn’t be good,” Barbie faces the long road to freedom and the ability to believe in herself.

A book about music, painting, friendship and forgiveness, ‘Leaving Gaza’ suggests the strength that a crisis in life can uncover.

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