By Lisa Lang
Allen and Unwin, 2010
Lisa Lang won the Vogel prize for the manuscript of Utopian Man, a glorious fictionalised account of the life of E.W. Cole, a visionary who is best known today for creating the childhood stalwart Coles Funny Picture Book. In HIS day (1880s Melbourne), Cole had a bookstore that encompassed a full city block, replete with monkeys, a fernery and a tea room. With more than 1 000 000 books and white wicker chairs for reading, this was a unique and before-its-time venture in a Melbourne that was awash with gold dust.
Lang has developed Cole as a person, the reader experiences his fears, worries, manias and family joys and travesties.
Listen to Lisa talk about Cole, her writing life - and the parts she left out of the book.