The Most Famous Boy in Town


Latest release under our new Espresso imprint

Bel Schenk


‘What hope for a whale, a girl, a town?

The Most Famous Boy in Town explores the ramifications of toxic masculinity in a football-obsessed town in Victoria. Set in Charlotte Bay, a masculine town with a feminine name, this novella unfolds in the week before the local Aussie Rules grand final, where Lucas Walker is expected to lead the Hawks to victory. After a beach party, Lucas’s sixteen-year-old brother Ryan wakes to find a humpback whale on the foreshore. As the rescue mission unfolds, blurry recollections of his brother’s assault on a girl begin to weigh on his conscience. What exactly did he see, and how will he make sense of it when so many around him worship the star player?

Paperback, 203 pages, $24.99 + postage

  • available soon as eBook 


Events | Media

Listen to author, Bel Schenk talking about The Most Famous Boy in Town with co-host of Tsundoku, Cath Keneally. The interview begins 19 minutes in.

Thursday April 11, 6pm at Goodwood Books, 145 Goodwood Rd, Goodwood SA. Launched by poet Ken Bolton. Register here.

Saturday May 4, at 3pm at Buck Mulligan’s, 217 High Street, Northcote. Launched by David Ryding, Director, Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature Office. All welcome.


‘Bel Schenk’s deceptively simple novel of a teenage boy’s response to a small-town scandal has a lot to say about gender relations.’ Newtown Review of Books, read the full review by Michael Jongen, here.

‘The Most Famous Boy in Town stands out for its refreshing characters, whose complexities are the driving force of the storyline. This novella emerges as an essential read for young adults and adults alike, tackling heavy themes with nuance and empathy. It is a powerful and important depiction of the widespread impacts of sexual assault.’

Books + Publishing


In The Most Famous Boy in Town, Bel Schenk gives us a moody, multiple portrait of life in an Australian coastal town that is immediately recognisable while also being a site of deep damage and the struggle for hope. What can we and can’t we see? This beautifully crafted work of fiction is written with a poet’s luminous language and lively eye for detail—informed, moving and completely absorbing.

­Nicholas Jose, The Idealist


‘What hope for a whale, a girl, a town?

Bel Schenk’s crisp prose and richly drawn characters make for a brilliant portrayal of a coastal community, where footy rules and secrets fester.’

Susan McCreery, All The Unloved


About the Author

BEL SCHENK is a Community Development Practitioner currently working as the Victorian Coordinator at Welcoming Cities. Between 2008 – 2011 she was the Artistic Director and Co-CEO of Express Media. She has written three collections of poetry, Ambulances & Dreamers, Urban Squeeze and Every Time You Close Your Eyes (Wakefield Press, 2014).






Distribution inquiries:

Our titles are distributed by NewSouth Books through Alliance Distribution Services:
Tel: 02 4390 1300

Additional information







Publication Date:

April 2024


203mm H x 103mm W



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