Writers Write: My Favourite Book 19

Gabrielle Wang

In a corner of a grade six classroom at Rathdowne Street State School in Carlton, two books sat all alone. The year was 1936. One was Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. The other was Green Mansions by William Henry Hudson.

It was the magic captured on the pages of these two novels that, as a child, filled my mother’s imagination. In her adult years, the story of Green Mansions haunted her. But she couldn’t remember the title. She knew it was about a girl – a girl with a beautiful voice who lived in a forest. And about a handsome young man who fell in love with her. But that was all.

After twenty years of searching, Book Searchers in South Yarra, finally found a copy.

As a child I remember the spot on the bookshelf of my childhood home where Green Mansions sat. I have read it numerous times over the years and loved it.

It is the inspiration behind my new novel, The Wish Bird, still a work in progress but to be published in 2013.

In 1959, Green Mansions came out as a movie directed by Mel Ferrer, starring Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins.


Gabrielle’s latest books are part of the ‘Our Australian Girl’ Series published by Penguin Books Australia in 2011 – ‘Meet Poppy’, ‘Poppy at Summerhill’, ‘Poppy and the Thief’ and ‘Poppy Comes Home’. Her award winning novel, ‘The Garden of Empress Cassia’ was published in the US by Kane Miller in 2011.

To learn more about Gabrielle’s books visit her website at www.gabriellewang.com