Being Here

Being Here Preview this book in PDF format Buy Online Download Teachers' Notes (PDF Format)
Published February 2011

There are stories buried within me. One in particular. It's about a boy and a girl. It's about the power of imagination. It's about love.


When Leah Cartwright was five years old her father went to the barn, put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Soon afterwards a boy appeared to Leah, in a tree in the orchard – an imaginary friend. Leah called him Adam. And she grew to love him... As a child on an isolated farm with only her fierce yet loving mother and her dog, Pagan, for company, Leah treasured books and characters and the stories within them – the places they could take her.

Now she is old, and a gifted storyteller, so when 16-year-old Carly interviews her for her local history project, Leah draws Carly in – to her present and her past – with the magic of story. Being Here is a beautifully told novel about a grim reality and a rich imagination, about hope, faith and consequences. It’s the story of Leah – and Adam, the one true love of her life.

'I loved Being Here. Honest, entertaining and emotionally gripping.' Maureen McCarthy

'…poignant and beautiful. You just need to read it and discover it for yourself. 10/10’ Samantha, 17


Winner Queensland Premier's Award; shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award.

The Author Says

The idea of a story involving a tulpa had been in my head for quite some time. A tulpa is a fascinating thing; I heard about them when I read of certain travellers’ experiences in the Himalayas. Many reported that they felt they were not alone in the snowy wilderness and a few even reported seeing figures walking with them. But it was Alexandra Neil’s memoirs about creating a tulpa that I found particularly interesting. She managed to create a thought form – a personal hallucination – through the powers of concentration alone.

What was more interesting, however, was that others could see what she imagined. I liked this idea – it is close, for example, to the creative process whereby the writer imagines a world and brings it into being so others can experience it. I decided I wanted to write a book about books, about stories, about imaginary friends who become real. And a love story, since I hadn’t written one before…

I must confess that I think Being Here is the best thing I've written [yet]. It's very different from my other books and I like to try different approaches. It is also the 'cleanest' book I've written - in other words, the first draft [which I finished in October 2009] is very similar to the final copy that is about to come out. I was very careful with the writing and I think that care has paid off. Still, we'll see what readers have to say. I hope they have plenty to say!

Barry Jonsberg