Connection. Empathy. Home.
  • Safe Haven
  • Download Cover

Safe Haven

Shankari Chandran

The new novel from the Miles Franklin award-winning author of Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens.

It was a beautiful evening. The wind gathered speed, lifting the frangipanis from the grove behind him, pink and yellow petals defying gravity. Beyond the trees, hidden by the foliage and rows of towering palm trees, the detention centre slept fitfully in the heavy summer heat. The palms blocked the ocean gust that now swirled around him, filling his lungs with the taste of temple flowers and salt. It reminded him of home. He took a deep breath, stepped off the escarpment and felt the red sand rush up towards him.

Arriving in Australia seeking asylum, Fina dedicates herself to aiding the refugees who are held in Port Camden, a remote island outpost. Over time she settles into a life within a community of like-minded people, finding a new family, far from her original home. After she speaks out for those being detained, Fina becomes the focus of a media storm that leads to her arrest, and the threat of deportation.

When a security officer dies under suspicious circumstances, Lucky, a special investigator, arrives to uncover the truth. The mystery is tied to Fina’s fate—and the secrets she reveals will divide the town and the nation.

Safe Haven is about displacement and seeking refuge—but ultimately it is a story about finding home—and the lengths you’ll go to find safety and love.

About the Author

Shankari Chandran was raised in Canberra, Australia. She spent a decade in London, working as a lawyer in the social justice field. She eventually returned home to Australia, where she now lives with her husband and four children. She is the author of Song of the Sun God, The Barrier and Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens, which won the 2023 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Praise for Safe Haven

‘A powerful, well-crafted story’ Sydney Morning Herald


‘a heart-wrenching yet hopeful tale.’ –The Sunday Age


‘I suspect I’ll be reflecting on Fina, Lucky, and the small community of Hastings for some time.’ –The Guardian


‘a fearless novel that reaches into your heart with evocative prose and beautifully drawn characters. It’s also a page turner.’ –Australian Women's Weekly


‘a compassionate literary page turner’ –Big Issue


‘timely and provocative’ –The Australian


Safe Haven offers readers a novel that does exactly that – exploring, through a fictional lens, the ways in which these intertwined histories come to deliver powerful personal, emotional and political legacies.’ –ArtsHub


‘a powerful tale’ –The Advertiser


Safe Haven yet again demonstrates why Chandran is one of Australia’s most impressive contemporary authors, her words resonating long after the final page.’ –T: The New York Times Style Magazine Australia


‘Chandran's writing is evocative and studded with beautiful imagery’ –Books + Publishing


‘a gripping and persuasive novel’ –The Conversation


Anyone who read Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens will already know that Miles Franklin winner Shankari Chandran is an expert at sketching communities of people whose dependency on one another is matched by their care for each other. Chandran's new novel, Safe Haven, has it all: a group of refugees only too aware of the fragility of their position; bonds of love and trust; a mysterious death; and similarly beautiful storytelling to her prize-winning book.’ Qantas Magazine





Pub Date
May 2024




Displacement, community, seeking asylum.