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My Heart is a Little Wild Thing

Nigel Featherstone

WINNER 2022 Canberra Critics' Circle Award

Blood is thicker than water, but the heart is a little wild thing that can’t be tamed.

The day after I tried to kill my mother, I tossed some clothes, a pair of hiking boots, a baseball cap and a few toiletries into my backpack, and left at dawn.
Patrick has always considered himself a good son. Willing to live his life to please his parents, his sense of duty paramount to his own desires and dreams. But as his mother’s health continues to deteriorate and his siblings remain absent, he finds the ties that bind him to his mother begin to chafe.
After an argument leads to a violent act, he travels to a familiar country retreat to reflect on what his life could be – and through a chance encounter with a rare animal and an intriguing stranger starts to wonder if perhaps it is not too late to let his heart run wild.
A story about family, love and the cost of freedom, My Heart is a Little Wild Thing serves as a reminder that we all deserve to pursue our dreams.

About the Author

Nigel Featherstone is the author of Bodies of Men, which was long-listed for the 2020 ARA Historical Novel Prize, Highly Commended for the 2020 ACT Book of the Year, shortlisted in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards, and received a 2019 Canberra Critics Circle Award. Nigel lives on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, and spends considerable time in Canberra, the national capital of Australia. 


‘A poignant and ultimately hopeful novel about how it’s never too late to find courage or connect with joy. I was captivated by the elegance of Featherstone’s prose and the quiet power of his voice.’ — Delia Falconer, author of Signs and Wonders and The Service of Clouds


‘Epic in its intimacy... It’s a triumph of a book about the timeless theme of how romance can be obstructed by a suffocating mother.’ — Peter Polites, author of The Pillars and Down The Hume

‘Entrancing, multifaceted, melancholic and yet full of joy, what ultimately makes this book sing is the sheer weight of human experience underpinning every one of its moving parts.’ — Sam Coley, author of State Highway One

‘Beautiful and disarmingly honest, this is a searing meditation of an urgent quest for self-meaning and deep love – and about what being a ‘good child’ and a complete adult means.’ — Paul Daley, author and journalist​


My Heart Is A Little Wild Thing is a brilliant and deeply evocative novel that breaks your heart and hints that, if you trust it enough, it will lovingly piece it back together. Powerful, tender, visceral and sublime – a must-read piece of Australian literature.’ — Holden Sheppard, author of Invisible Boys

‘Nigel Featherstone’s latest novel is an intense emotional journey, across longing, loss, letting go and embracing the unknown. A reading experience to savour and revisit again and again.’ - Melinda Smith, author of Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call

My Heart Is A Little Wild Thing beautifully explores the permutations of love – of intimacy and sex, and of connection and belonging. This is a novel that will stay with me.’ - R.W.R. McDonald, author of The Nancys and Nancy Business 


​‘Featherstone’s writing rings with assurance, and echoes with love, memory and tenderness.’ – Karen Viggers, author of The Lightkeeper’s Wife


‘Nigel Featherstone weaves a remarkable story of the possibilities of love, the cruelty of duty and the magic of place ... Featherstone’s novels are unforgettable gifts.’ – Ben Hunter, Booktopia




Pub Date
May 2022




Families. Relationships. Queer love.