Retired local teacher now a published author as new book hits shelves

Local author Kevin Radley. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Retired Penrith teacher Kevin Radley will be joining the greats on the shelves of your local bookstore, with a brand-new book releasing this week.

Radley has been writing on and off for decades, having started out his career in scriptwriting for television in the early ‘80s, including for shows like ‘Neighbours’, before moving on to teaching.

Over a span of 30 years, Radley taught science at schools in St Marys and Glenmore Park, as well as coaching at Penrith Emus Rugby Club. But, in his retirement, he’s decided to go back to his roots.

In the last few years, Radley put out a memoir and a novel before his latest book, Rabbit Town, was picked up by Contempo Publishing.

For Radley, the inspiration for Rabbit Town, which he describes as a piece of historical fiction beginning in 1930s inner Sydney and ending in the present, came about a number of years ago upon visiting an exhibition about the Great Depression.

With chaos all around, it made him question if things had really changed that much at all.

“With increasing issues of homelessness in Sydney, and then the lockdown and everything, it made me wonder, for a lot of people, had things really changed, and I thought perhaps they had not,” he said.

Radley combined this with his existing interest in Australia’s military history, due to his father’s involvement in WWII, to create a multi-generational novel, telling the stories of the protagonist’s descendants in what he calls a family epic.

Though he said research for the piece was one of the most challenging aspects, his personal connection was an added bonus.

“I do have an advantage in the history, because one section of the book follows my father’s movements through WWII,” he said.

“He’s not a character, but I’ve used his movements for accuracy, through Africa and New Guinea and Borneo and places like that.”

After four years of work put into Rabbit Town, Radley said he couldn’t be happier with the finished product.

“I’ve had a couple of friends read the finished product, and the feedback from them was really encouraging,” he said.

Despite being released just this week on Wednesday, February 28, Radley admitted he’s already thinking about the next thing.

“It’s very exciting, more so because I can put this one to bed then and get into my next one,” he said.

“When this is sorted, I’ll be able to carry on and put out some new stories.”

With the book now available everywhere books are sold, Radley said he can’t wait for Australian history lovers of all ages to get reading.

“We hear about the big gap between millennials and boomers, but I think both of those audiences will look at it with a lot of interest, because it ends up in a millennial situation with the pandemic,” he said.

Cassidy Pearce

Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.

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