Ryan Butta

Author | Writer | Speaker

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About

After starting out life on the opal fields of western NSW, Ryan was raised among the vineyards and horse studs of the Hunter Valley. His first work of historical non-fiction, The Ballad of Abdul Wade, recounted the previously untold story of the Afghan men that came to Australia in the1800s to work in the mining and wool industries. The Ballad of Abdul Wade was longlisted for the Indie Book Awards non-fiction book of the year for 2023. Ryan's latest work, The Bravest Scout at Gallipoli, retells the remarkable life story of Harry Freame, a Japanese-Australian adventurer, soldier of fortune, Anzac, orchardist and spy.


Ryan's feature writing has appeared in the Good Weekend Magazine and he is a regular contributor to Galah Press, writing about the people and places of regional Australia. Ryan’s works of historical non-fiction look to reveal and understand the hidden and forgotten stories of Australia and the Australians who, like his own family, came across the seas to make their home here. Ryan believes that only by dismantling the myths of the past can we build the country of the future. Ryan now lives on Dharawal country on the NSW South Coast.

Books

The Bravest Scout at Gallipoli

The many lives and tragic death of Harry Freame, the Anzac hero betrayed by his nation.

Harry Freame was the first Australian to win the Distinguished Conduct Medal at Gallipoli. Raised as a samurai, he risked his life again and again to scout the beaches and hills of the battlefield, reporting invaluable intelligence back to his officers and relieving stranded soldiers who otherwise would surely have died. Some say he should have got the VC but didn't because he was half-Japanese, a fact he tried hard to conceal.


After the war, Harry (real name Henry Wykeham Koba Freame) became a soldier settler and champion apple grower. But when Japan emerged as a perceived threat to Australia, Harry was recruited into Australian intelligence to spy on the Japanese community in Sydney. Before Japan's entry into World War II, Australia opened a diplomatic legation in Tokyo, and Harry was sent as a translator - but his real role was a spy. Extraordinarily, his cover was leaked by the Australian press, and the Japanese secret police tried to assassinate him not long after his arrival in Tokyo in 1941. Harry died back in Australia a few weeks later, but his sacrifice has never been acknowledged by Australia.


Until now. Featuring never-before-seen material, The Bravest Scout at Gallipoli is a fascinating and immersive investigation into a grievous historical wrong.

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The Ballad of Abdul Wade

The Incredible True Story of Australia's unsung Pioneering Heroes - The Afghan Camelleers.

Separating the bulldust from the bush poetry, Ryan Butta reveals a gritty alternative history that defies the standard horse-powered folklore to reveal the untold debt this country owes to the humble camel, its drivers and the Afghans who brought them here.


When Afghan entrepreneur Abdul Wade first brought his camel trains to the outback, he was hailed as a hero. Horses couldn't access many remote settlements, especially those stricken by flood or drought, and camel trains rode to the rescue time and time again.


But with success came fierce opposition fuelled by prejudice. The camel was not even classed as an animal under Australian law, and, in a climate of colonial misinformation, hyperbole and fear, camel drivers like Wade were shown almost as little respect. Yet all the while, for those in need, the ships of the desert continued to appear on the outback horizon.


After his interest was piqued by a nineteenth-century photo of a camel train in a country town, Ryan Butta found himself on the trail of Australia's earliest Afghan camel drivers. Separating the bulldust from the bush poetry, he reveals the breadth and depth of white Australian protectionism and prejudice. Told with flair and authority, this gritty alternative history defies the standard horse-powered folklore to reveal the untold debt this country owes to humble dromedaries, their drivers and those who brought them here.

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A Certain Kind of Power

A slow-burn thriller set on the streets of Buenos Aires.

Fading corporate spy Mike Costello has had enough of Argentina. Enough of the chaos. Enough of the deception. Enough of feeling the blade slip between his shoulders.


But Buenos Aires won’t let him go so easily and as Mike's plans start to unravel and bodies start appearing, he realises that he is just another loose end that a corrupt and crumbling Government needs to tie up.


To survive he will have to forget everything he has ever been told.

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The Bravest Scout at Gallipoli, The Ballad of Abdul Wade and A Certain Kind of Power are available at your favourite bookshop or online bookseller.

Recognition

Praise for The Bravest Scout at Gallipoli

‘A gripping, high stakes adventure as well as a brilliantly written biography of a forgotten hero.’

~ Shankari Chandran, winner of the Miles Franklin Award 2023

Praise for The Ballad of Abdul Wade

‘Meticulous research animated by deep empathy and storytelling skill.’

~ Michael Winkler, author of Grimmish

‘This is a highly researched and well-written portrait of a largely forgotten Australia.’

~ Sydney Morning Herald Review

‘This is a truly impressive piece of writing and history. I highly commend it.’

~ Independent Australia Book Club Review

Praise for A Certain Kind of Power

‘Thoroughly recommend if you like cerebral, character-driven novels. Would make an excellent movie.’

~ Michelle Tom, author of Ten Thousand Aftershocks

Recognition for The Ballad of Abdul Wade

Events & Media

Writers Festivals

  • Panel: Hijacked Histories, Mansfield Readers & Writers Festival, February 2023
  • Panel: The Power of the Edit, Mansfield Readers & Writers Festival, February 2023
  • Panel: Shaping Australia, Words on the Waves Writers Festival, June 2023
  • Merriwa Literary Lunch Address, Scone Literary Festival, March 2023
  • In Conversation with acclaimed author Ryan Butta, Scone Literary Festival, November 2023

Media

Appearances

  • Author Visit with Ryan Butta, Denman Library, August, 2022
  • Author Visit with Ryan Butta, Muswellbrook Library, 2022
  • Meet the Author: Ryan Butta, Wangaratta Library, October 2022
  • Meet the Author: Ryan Butta, Shepparton Library, October 2022
  • Author Talk: Orange City Library, October 2022
  • Author Talk: Ryan Butta, Cowra Library, October 2022
  • Author Talk with Ryan Butta, Wollongong Library, February 2023
  • Ryan Butta author talk – The Ballad of Abdul Wade, Kiama Library, June 2023
  • In conversation with Chris Masters, Muswellbrook Library, September 2023
  • Author Talk with Ryan Butta, Canada Bay Historical Society, February 2024
  • Meet the Author: Ryan Butta, Kiama Probus Club, February 2024
  • Ryan Butta: The Ballad of Abdul Wade, History Week, Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, September 2023
  • Q&A with Ryan Butta, Islamic Museum of Australia, December 2023
  • Panel host: Between the lines: Conversations on the art of writing, Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, March 2024
  • In conversation with Rebecca Hazel, Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, May 2024

Book Club

Ryan is available to make a virtual or in-person (based in or around Sydney) appearance at your book club meeting. Get in contact for an online or in-person author event for your book club, bookstore or library group.

Publications

Ryan is passionate about telling the stories of remarkable Australians doing amazing things at home and abroad. His work has been published in a variety of magazines including the Good Weekend and Galah Magazine.

Good Weekend Magazine

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Galah Magazine

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Contact

Email:

Sales Enquiries: keiran.rogers@affirmpress.com.au


Media & Event Enquiries: publicity@affirmpress.com.au

Media Kit:

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