Homegrown acclaimed author’s latest release

Author Tony Park with elephants roaming in the background.
Author Tony Park with elephants roaming in the background.

It was a small Campbelltown library that inspired the career of acclaimed international novelist Tony Park.

While Mr Park now splits his time living in South Africa and Sydney, it was his formative years in Campbelltown that inspired him to forge a career as a writer.

“My earliest memories are of the tiny, little library that used to be on the ground floor of the civic centre building,” he said.

“It was minuscule compared to the lovely big new library Campbelltown now has.

“What is undeniable, however, was that I learned not only to read, but to love books in that little library.

“I used to wander up and down the narrow aisles thinking ‘wouldn’t it be cool if writing books could be your job?’. I finally got there.”

The St Gregory’s College Campbelltown dux of 1981, who has written more than a dozen books, recently released his latest book, The Cull, through MacMillan Publishers.

The book follows a former mercenary who’s hired by a successful businesswoman to “take down Africa’s top poaching kingpins”.

It was a story that was close to home – the 53-year-old’s home in Africa that is.

“I spend six months of each year in South Africa, based at my house on the edge of the Kruger Park,” he said.

“Poaching, especially the illegal killing of rhinos for their horns, is sadly very much part of daily life here.

“While the South African military, police and national parks people are doing a good job fighting the war on the ground, there is often a sense of frustration that the kingpins behind this terrible trade are out of reach.”

Author Tony Park

Author Tony Park

Mr Park said he enjoyed splitting his time between Sydney and South Africa as both homes were worlds apart – both in distance and lifestyle.

Though the former Campbelltown resident still had a soft spot for his childhood home town.

“In Australia I’m very much a city boy enjoying life in Sydney, and in Africa I live in the bush surrounded by wild animals,” he said.

“(In South Africa) I can literally look out from my writing desk and see zebras, wildebeest and even the odd leopard or elephant.

“It’s impossible not to be inspired by my environment.

“Going back to Campbelltown recently to address a Probus Club I was reminded of the sense of community of the Macarthur area and how people helped each other out. 

“People are genuine – there’s no pretence and no complaining.”