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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

Tracy Sorensen’s ‘The Vitals’


Bathurst author of ‘The Lucky Galah’ (longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2019) publishes her second novel ‘The Vitals’ with Pan Macmillan on July 25.

Sorensen’s cancer memoir transformed by imagination into something far richer and stranger.

Deep inside Tracy’s body live the organs of the peritoneal cavity.

Ute, a wandering womb.
Rage, an existential spleen.
Gaster, a gleeful gorger.
Liv, a workaholic liver.

But there is also Baby, an ever-growing tumour, and Baby’s child Bunny, whose cells are multiplying alarmingly.

Together, the organs must fight for homeostasis … and Tracy’s survival.

The Vitals is Tracy Sorensen’s cancer memoir transformed by imagination into something far richer and stranger. Narrated by her internal organs, it will make you infinitely more aware of the peculiar world inside your body, and illuminate all the hidden parts that make you human.

‘This book pulls off the holy trinity of great writing: it’s experimental, playful and meaningful all at once. I felt changed after reading it, put back together differently – in the same way that Sorensen was left radically changed after surviving cancer. It has shifted my view of organs and bodies (my own and others’) forever. There’s a courage that animates this book that is hard to define, but I think it’s the sort of artistic and personal courage that comes not only from enduring something that is beyond words, but of still being willing to take creative risks on the other side in order to ‘voice’ the unsayable. The Vitals is suffused by courage of this kind – and I’m grateful to Sorensen for risking so much to bring this book into being.’ – Ceridwen Dovey, award-winning author of Only the Animals

Praise for The Vitals

‘The most original book about cancer ever written’ – Nick Horne

‘Tracy Sorensen writes and thinks like nobody else. We’re so lucky to have her’ – Tegan Bennett Daylight

‘Deftly crafted and wildly original’ – Dr Leah Kaminsky

The Vitals quivers with life. It is thrillingly visceral and deeply moving – literally’ – Prof. Stephen J. Simpson


Tracy Sorensen is a writer and scholar. She grew up in Carnarvon on the north coast of Western Australia and now lives in Bathurst, New South Wales, with her partner, Steve. Her first novel, The Lucky Galah, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2019. The Vitals, her second novel, is based on her experience with advanced primary peritoneal cancer, a form of ovarian cancer association with a mutation on the BRCA1 gene on the 17th chromosome. She has now been cancer-free for eight years.

More info and purchase a copy