Philip Ian McLaren was born in Redfern, Australia, one of seven children, a descendant of the Kamilaroi people from the Warrumbungle Mountain region in northwestern New South Wales. His first novel, Sweet Water, Stolen Land, won the 1992 David Unaipon Award.
Doctor Jack Nugent never liked looking at dead people and he hated touching them. In spite of this, he acquired detailed knowledge as to what happened to human remains. In the small community of Utopia, in the middle of Australia, he'd picked up skills he simply never could have learned by staying in New York: Aboriginal ritual killings hardly ever happened there.
Perhaps it's also worth repeating the author's note:
This is a work of fiction.
There is a real place named Utopia, it's situated in the red-desert centre of Australia. This story is not about that place, nor is it about any real people. I found the irony irrisistable: imagine naming a place called Utopia, a place so impoverished, so desolate.