‘When I was a little kid I was briefly given the nickname Little Fury. This seemed like a compliment. I felt tough. I felt powerful. Unlike rage, fury is focused. It has energy to it. It can be cool, clear and sharp. It can be a resource.

‘So Fury refers to me – the me I once was. But it also refers to the ongoing possibility of energy and power. Before all this happened, before I got on that boat, I was stuck. Fury is the opposite of being stuck.’

– Kathryn Heyman



A memoir of courage and determination, of fighting back and finding joy, Fury is the story of Kathryn Heyman: novelist, essayist, scriptwriter, educator.

Coming from a family of poverty and violence, she had no real role models – no example of how to create or live a decent life, how to have hope or expectations. But she was a reader. She understood story, and the power of words to name the world. This was to become her salvation.

At the age of twenty, after a traumatic sexual assault trial, Kathryn Heyman ran away from her life and became a deckhand on a fishing trawler in the Timor Sea.

After one wild season on board the Ocean Thief, the only girl among tough working men, facing storms, treachery and harder physical labour than she had ever known, Heyman was transformed. Finally, she could name the abuses she thought had broken her, could see ‘all that she had been blind to, simply to survive’. More than that, after a period of enforced separation from the world, she was able to return to it newly formed, determined to remake the role she’d been born into.

A reflection on the wider stories of class, and of growing up female with all its risks and rewards, Fury is a memoir of courage and determination, of demanding joy and demanding to be seen.

A roadmap of recovery and transformation, this is the story of becoming heroic in a culture which does not see heroism in the shape of a girl.

‘I read this book in one jaw-clenching, gut-wrenching, fist-pumping sitting. Distressing, thrilling, immaculate – and vitally important.’

– Clare Wright, Stella Prize-winning author

‘I can’t remember when a book gripped me so tight and so hard. This stunning harrowing memoir is a fierce testament to the power of words and books to save a life.’

– Caroline Baum, author of Only

‘This book is important – a vital addition to the national conversation. A searing, moving, deeply honest achievement.’

– Nikki Gemmell, author and commentator

‘Fury is a gripping and brilliantly written story of a young woman’s survival, up there with the very best of adventure memoirs such as The Salt Path by Raynor Winn or Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Kathryn Heyman has pulled off an amazing feat, giving a true story of trauma and recovery all the narrative pull and beauty of the best of novels … it has international bestseller written all over it.’

– Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard

‘A masterful work, a personal and literary triumph … searing, thrilling and redemptive … This book is a demonstration of how courage and fury and words can save you. They can make you the heroine of your own story.’

– Anna Funder, Miles Franklin Prize-winning author

‘Raw and bloody and real. The hundreds of indignities and offences accumulated over a lifetime of class and gender warfare are boiled down into one white-hot book.’

– Bri Lee, author of Eggshell Skull and Beauty

Media reviews

‘…full of action and drama – there’s intrigue and a crime, plenty of mysterious pasts, and intense and suspenseful sequences that pitch the trawler and its crew against the furious power of nature… this is a book about outsiderness, and what it means to make choices when one’s options are limited by class and circumstance, and by gender and trauma – especially in youth, when the forces that impinge upon a life cannot yet be fully understood.’

– Fiona Wright, Sydney Morning Herald

‘Fury vibrates with energy, remarkable physicality, clear-eyed rage and a clever, fiery wit that frequently left me breathless. Heyman’s story is unputdownable, made even more compelling by her expert narrative structure and incredible control of language. While Fury spans over two decades of tough experiences, these fractured pieces of a life come together so powerfully; the effect is far greater than the sum of its parts. This is Heyman’s story, one that stands alongside the best adventure memoirs of women’s survival (such as Cheryl Strayed’s Wild or Robyn Davidson’s Tracks), but it also offers an original reflection on issues of class and the oppressions (both harrowing and ordinary) that girls face every day… Fury is a thrilling and vital read, and its release couldn’t be more timely.’

– Stella Charls, Readings

‘Heyman’s novels explore male power, control and violence. Now, she turns her sharp storytelling skills and lyrical prose on her own life.’

– Thuy On, The Guardian

‘…it was certainly worth waiting for. Fury is about class, family and the patriarchy as experienced by Heyman. And it’s about going to sea to heal, discover and renew… This is a book that’s going to have big impact.’

– Justin Steger, The Booklist newsletter

“a powerful memoir that makes for compelling, harrowing reading… In this book about class and poverty, and the tenacity it takes to overcome trauma, the writing is sharp and beautiful, the insights unflinching and brave.”

– Justine Carberry, Irish Independent

“Fury is a passionate and unflinching memoir, laden with metaphor, and filled with honesty, compassion and love. It portrays fragility, confusion and vulnerability. But, above all, it is an uplifting story of transformation and hope. Beautifully written, honest and evocative, this is essential reading for both men and women.”

– Karen Viggers, Canberra Times