Simon Cleary is the author of three novels: The War Artist (2019), Closer to Stone (2012) and The Comfort of Figs (2008).

Simon grew up in Toowoomba before studying literature and law at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

His first novel, The Comfort of Figs, is a genesis story for his adopted home of Brisbane, while also exploring the changes to landscape that come with the creation of cities. After graduating from university he spent six months hitch-hiking across the Sahara into West Africa. His experiences in Algeria when civil war broke out there informed his second novel, Closer to Stone, which deals with impacts of extreme beliefs.

He commenced legal practice with Redfern Legal Centre, a community legal centre in Sydney, working for disadvantaged and vulnerable people in legal difficulties. He went on to work for Legal Aid and continues to work in the justice system as a barrister where he has had the privilege of representing people and organisations at times of conflict and stress.

His third novel, The War Artist, interrogates the human cost of war – for families and communities as well as for soldiers – and explores journeys of healing from trauma.

Photo: Pat Hamilton