Depth of Field

Depth of Field

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Kirsty Iltners


Winner of the 2023 Dorothy Hewett Award


In photography, you don’t get to have it all. You are always making choices, always making sacrifices.

To capture the light.


Tom’s longest-standing commitment is his run-down house Mayfield, which hasn’t been the same since Adeline. He’s stuck in the past drowning his sorrows in too many bottles of wine and an unfulfilling photography business. Unable to move on, Tom is treading water in a low-commitment relationship. The only problem—she isn’t Adeline.


Lottie is living with her baby, Coral, in a cramped flat above a fish and chip shop. Struggling to make ends meet, all she wants is to find connection—with her distant mother, the parent’s group, her old school friends, but Lottie straddles too many different worlds to quite fit into any of them. She doesn’t have much, but at least her and Coral have each other.


Told through alternating perspectives, Kirsty Iltners’ debut novel examines the lives of two isolated individuals to reveal the fragility of life and the fallibility of our memories. Winner of the 2023 Dorothy Hewett Award, Depth of Field is a gripping novel where the mechanisms of photography are allowed to falter just enough to expose how selective and unreliable our memories are, especially when parts of the truth are left out of the frame.


Praise for Depth of Field

“Depth of Field in essence is portraiture taken at the young edges of society. Iltners’ protagonists grapple with social isolation, new parenthood, poverty, and dependence. Skillfully stitched together, this is a novel that exposes the truth as grainy and low-res; as unreliable as a photograph. A compelling debut from a striking new literary talent.” – Sarah Sasson, author of Tidelines

“Kirsty Iltner’s dazzling debut peers beyond the composed shots we curate for public viewing. Memory is a slippery tale and this one delivers.” – Sharlene Allsopp, author of The Great Undoing

"Masterful, poignant, heartbreaking." – Siang Lu, author of The Whitewash and Ghost Cities

"Affecting, innovative and original. Such an impressive debut novel.” Brendan Ritchie, author of Eta Draconis and winner of the 2022 Dorothy Hewett Award

"An incredible debut full of love, grief, regret – how trauma can collapse the lives it affects – and the possibility of redemption.” – Graham Akhurst, author of Borderland

"Kirsty Iltners is an accomplished writer.” – Samuel Bernard, The Weekend Australian

"Not many writers produce a work of such high quality with their first novel, but Iltners has done so. She is a good story teller who has enhanced rather than spoilt a good yarn by tackling a subject as profound as the fallibility of memory.” – Erich Mayer, ArtsHub

"As a photographer, Kirsty Iltners is well qualified to write this intriguing story, conceptualised around the theme of photography. In chapters named after photographic terminology, Iltners gives us alternating snapshots of two different characters, Tom and Lottie. From the outset it’s clear that, while both are struggling with the consequences of past events, there’s more to their stories than first revealed...Towards the end of the book the narrative takes an unexpected turn and connections only previously hinted at are revealed, showing that, as in photography, things left out of the frame make a lie of our selective memories...cleverly constructed.” – Anne Green, Good Reading

"There is no denying how powerful Depth of Field is, how effectively and easily it breaks your heart, how it hides its secrets before bringing them back into focus slowly, how it grips your mind until you are done reading. I highly recommend this one – and I look forward to reading more of what Kirsty Iltners writes in the future." – Annie Mills, The AU Review

"[Depth of Field is a novel] delicately textured by the effects of social isolation, and intriguingly posits photography as an analogue for memory...an intriguing and deftly handled debut novel. " – Cameron Woodhead, The Sydney Morning Herald


Book details

PUBLICATION DATE: 1 May 2024

EXTENT: 300 pages

FORMAT:C format paperback, 234x153mm, 0.5kg

ISBN: 978-1-76080-275-2

RIGHTS: World

CATEGORY: fiction, award-winning

PRICE: $34.99 AUD incl GST