A memoir of courage and determination, of fighting back and finding joy.



‘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. And if you’re stuck, you can’t find joy.’

– Kathryn Heyman

Fury is the story of Kathryn Heyman: novelist, writer, 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