‘This is an epidemic’: Local author’s book about meth shortlisted for major award

Mandurah author Alan Fyfe's first full-length, confronting novel 'Floaters' has been shortlisted for the City of Fremantle T.A.G Hungerford Awards. Photo: Kingsley Flett.

Mandurah author Alan Fyfe's first full-length, confronting novel 'Floaters' has been shortlisted for the City of Fremantle T.A.G Hungerford Awards. Photo: Kingsley Flett.

Former Mandurah resident and author Alan Fyfe has witnessed a lot in his lifetime, including drug abuse, crime and poverty.

So he put pen to paper and wrote a book that has now been shortlisted for the City of Fremantle T.A.G Hungerford Awards.

His novel, Floaters, follows a male main character through his involvement in the world of methamphetamine use and addiction.

And it is set right here in our backyard.

“Certain things about the ‘Methandurah’ reputation are true – Mandurah and Rockingham has a lot of meth addicts, it’s a cheaper place to live,” Fyfe said.

Floaters is basically a novel about the poor people of Mandurah, the unemployed people and locals without many prospects and much money who are involved in a low level in the methamphetamine trade – I’m not talking about dealers or cooks or anything other than really low level users and the life they lead.

“It’s about one particular guy who gets involved in the trade and through the years on the drug, he starts to experience some supernatural things and you’re not really sure whether those things are actually happening to him or if they’re just happening in his mind.

“This is an epidemic and a lot of people of all ages are affected.”

Fyfe said, given his personal experiences, it was important for him to write about the widespread and aggressive use of meth in Mandurah in a “beautiful and honest way”.

“I lived in Mandurah for a really long time and a lot of the people I know and love have fallen victim to the meth epidemic we see all around the Peel region,” he said.

“When these low socioeconomic Australians are written about, it’s often in a really patronising way and I felt like I wanted to give the people I grew up around in Mandurah and Pinjarra a more authentic and literal voice.

“There’s a big tendency in people when something is a little bit tragic, to find the humour in it and I’ve tried to include that native wit of the place and the things I’ve heard from people growing up there.”

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It took the author over a decade to piece together his first full-length novel.

“I spent several years in South Yunderup putting together a lot of different types of writing and it all had the voice of the Peel region,” Fyfe said.

“From a personal point of view, I was trying to understand a lot of the things that were happening to the people around me and that fed into my knowledge of it all and eventually became the novel.

“Then there was a lot of technical research on the effects of lack of sleep because that’s generally what causes hallucinations and they enter into a lucid dream.”

Now residing in Perth, the father has dreamed of being a published author since he was 13 years old.

“When I got the news of the prize, it was a huge thing,” Fyfe said.

“It’s tricky to get a complex art novel through on your first attempt so this is a pretty big break.

“It’s something I’m very proud of because it’s been my life ambition so if it gets published, I’ll have to start working on my next dream or write another book I guess.”

The winner of the 2018 City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Awards will be announced on Thursday, November 15 and will receive a publishing contract and $12,000 in prize money.

For more information, visit the Fremantle Press website.