Author(s): Anna Mackenzie
Ness lives with her brother and their cousin's family on Dunnett Island. The island people live a life close to the land, ruled by the seasons, in constant fear of all things that come from the sea. In the past they lost many of their folk to the ocean's toxins, and to illness brought by the occasional refugee who managed to land on their shores, seeking help. The adults in this community have been hardened by fear, loss and superstition. Ness and the other young people live a restricted, hard-working life. However, the three teenage cousins Ness, Ty and Sophie defy the adults' orders about keeping away from the sea and whenever they can escape unnoticed, they explore and forage in a concealed cove. There they discover washed ashore a delirious and injured man who has been shipwrecked. They are terrified of what might happen to the man, and to them, if he is discovered by their elders. Yet Ness - whose father was a fisherman, before the sea turned traitor, quickly realises that his very existence heralds the possibility that there are other lands, other survivors, and also the possibility that the world's seas are healing. She undertakes a foolhardy, courageous gamble when she decides to keep the stranger concealed and alive. All too soon she risks everything, including her own life, to help him escape when her close-minded, 'witchhunting' community discovers her secret. Ness is an imaginative, independent young woman who questions and seeks meaning in a world her elders would drain of all variety and joy. Gothic in setting, The Sea-wreck Stranger is a gripping post-apocalyptic novel.
Winner of Storylines Notable New Zealand Books: Young Adult Fiction 2008. Commended for New Zealand Post Children's Book Award: Senior Fiction 2008. Shortlisted for LIANZA Children's Book Awards: Esther Glen Award 2008.
Anna Mackenzie is a full-time writer and editor. She lives on a farm in Hawke's Bay with her husband and two children. It is only in the last five years that she has turned her attention to writing for children and young adults. Her first novel, High Tide, was featured in the Children's Literature Foundation List of Notable Books of 2003. Her second novel, Out on the Edge, for young adults, was published by Longacre Press in 2005. In 2006 Anna received a grant from Creative NZ to assist in completing her third novel, The Sea-Wreck Stranger.