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Petronella McGovern 2.jpeg

Image: Giles Park Photography.

I'm fascinated by people - what makes us tick,
how we view the world, and the lies we tell others
and ourselves. I'm interested in the complexities of relationships and the dynamics in families. 


Petronella McGovern is fascinated by what makes us tick, the lies we tell, and the secrets we keep. She is the best-selling author of Six Minutes, The Good Teacher, The Liars and The Last Trace. Her books have been nominated in the Ned Kelly Awards, the Davitt Awards and the Australian Independent Bookseller Awards. The Liars was selected in the Top 100 Big W/Better Reading list for 2023. Petronella has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and tutors in creative writing. She grew up on a farm in central west NSW and now lives with her family in Sydney on Gadigal Country. Among other adventures, she has worked on a summer camp in America and travelled in eastern Africa which inspired parts of her fourth novel, The Last Trace.

I write my books on Gadigal Country, where I am constantly inspired by the sandstone caves
and rocks, the bush and the sea. I acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation
as the Traditional Custodians of this land.


Petronella's first novel, Six Minutes, was published in July 2019 and debuted on the Australian best-seller list. It was short-listed in the 2020 Ned Kelly Awards by the Australian Crime Writers' Association and in the Sisters-in-Crime Davitt Awards. It was long-listed for the 2020 Australian Independent Bookseller Awards


The Good Teacher was released in September 2020 and long-listed in the Sisters-in-Crime Davitt Awards, 2021The Liars was published in September 2022 and rapidly became a book club favourite. It was selected in the Top 100 Big W / Better Reading list for 2023. Her fourth novel, The Last Trace, will be published in July 2024.

Petronella has co-written two non-fiction books: an Olympic memoir (Trailblazers: Australia's First Olympic Equestrians) and a travelogue (For Love and a Beetle). For many years, Petronella worked in marketing and corporate communications. She has written magazines for tertiary students, international education and Australia / international business networks. As an editorial consultant, she has worked for government agencies, not-for-profits and private organisations.

She is a member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Australian Crime Writers Association and Sisters in Crime Australia. Petronella has a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney and works as a creative writing tutor for the Australian Writers Centre.

Petronella grew up in a large family on a farm in the Central West region of New South Wales - building tree houses, chasing cows and avoiding snakes. Bitten by the travel bug, she backpacked in Africa, Europe, America and Russia. After working in Canberra for a number of years, Petronella now lives in Sydney with her family.

Literary representation

Alex Adsett Literary, Email: alexadsett(at)

Publisher & publicity

Allen & Unwin Book Publishers, Australia
Email: publicity(at)

For upcoming events, follow Petronella on Instagram or Facebook.

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