Oliver Mol

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Oliver Mol

“I hope you get lost inside my writing, so the story ceases to become about me and becomes about you. If I do my job correctly, I can create a space for people to feel less alone.”

Oliver Mol is the author of Lion Attack! (Scribe Publications). 


He is a 2020-2022 Marten Bequest scholar for prose. He has appeared at National Young Writers Festival, Emerging Writers Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, Sydney Writers Festival, Brisbane Writers Festival and Queensland Poetry Festival. He has been published in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, ABC, Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin and The Saturday Paper amongst others. He was the recipient of a 2014 ArtStart Grant, the co-winner of the 2013 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers and the recipient of a 2012 Hot Desk Fellowship. Recently, he received a Best Theatre Award at Adelaide Fringe for his show Train Lord, adapted from his second book, and was commissioned by Sydney Fringe to perform in their Made in Sydney showcase as part of the Global Fringe Alliance this September.


Freemantle Media want to adapt Train Lord for a web series with Mol writing it.


Train Lord was acquired by Penguin Michael Joseph in 2021 and published in July 2022.


Editorial Director Jillian Taylor said, ‘Train Lord is a stunning piece of non-fiction that upends all the tropes of the illness memoir. Oliver’s emotional journey back to health explores what it truly means to feel at home in one’s body. Illuminating an illness that affects millions but which remains widely misunderstood, this book is about the darkness of depression, but it is also ultimately about survival and redemption. Oliver is an astonishingly brave writer, and we are so delighted to be publishing his book and launching a very exciting career.’


Oliver Mol said: ‘In 2015, I suffered a 10-month migraine. No doctors could help me, and I nearly threw myself in front of a train. It wasn’t that I wanted to die; I just wanted, needed, the pain to end. After I began working as a rail guard, I discovered a new sense of self. Slowly I found my way back to writing. This memoir grew out of paragraphs – sometimes prayers – scribbled on the backs of train diagrams. It is a book that I never in my wildest dreams expected to be published, much less published by Penguin Michael Joseph. Train Lord was my way out of a difficult time, and I hope that it might help someone else realise that they are also not alone. Because this is, in the end, a story of hope.’



Praise for Train Lord


“Piercingly sad, shockingly beautiful. Train Lord is about pain and persistence. Oliver Mol swings on the gossamer threads that bind us to the world and reports what he sees below. He is uncompromising with himself and preternaturally perceptive about others. Mol maps the ruptures and repairs in connections between humans who are flawed and fallible, silly and hopeless and lovable and doing their best. This is a profoundly moving work by a stellar writer”

Michael Winkler - author Grimmish (Puncher & Wattmann) and shortlisted for the Miles Franklin


“Oliver Mol’s writing is beautiful and direct, something steady as a rail-carriage but often something stranger, miraculous, a ufo moving from pain to joy at breakneck speed. Writing through illness and heartbreak and work, Train Lord is a book that speaks to anyone who’s gone to the darker side of life and still come out alive”

Paul Dalla Rosa - author of An Exciting and Vivid Inner Life (Allen & Unwin / Serpent's Tails)


“A work of elemental force”

Amanda Lohrey - author of The Labyrinth (Winner of The Miles Franklin, Voss Literary Prize, Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction)


“A wounded writer’s account of coming to health through the trials of the working world, Train Lord also serves as a testament to the transformative power of art in times of trouble. Amidst a half-mad crowd of conductors and commuters, Mol’s narrator guides the reader through the searing subterrains of his private pain and doubt, all the while searching for the enigmatic source of the chronic migraines that torment him. Tender, ecstatic, and comedic by turns, Mol’s infectious energies as a born storyteller guide the reader along the electric lines of his inimitable prose like a beckoning light in the dark passages ahead”

Luke Carman - author An Elegant Young Man, Intimate Antipathies, An Ordinary Ecstasy


“Oliver Mol's writing is addictive with its heart-on-sleeve honesty and his clear, rhythmic, absolutely alive voice. Train Lord is a glorious, rare reading experience - it feels as though Mol himself is reading this out to you, looking you in the eye. How do we write about chronic pain and what it does to our mind, body, relationships, self-belief? Mol's constant looping back to people, places and thoughts nails the blur of chronology when it comes to pain and the memory of it. An unmissable book.   There are no lazy conflations between pain and art here. Mol shows us how in the moment, pain actually makes art near-impossible. It's in the messy aftermath that narrative stumbles out, and this is what Mol renders in a way that's so real, funny, sad and gorgeously candid”

Katherine Brabon - author The Memory Artist (Winner of The Australian/Vogel's Literary Prize) and The Shut Ins.


“Train Lord' is the book I've been waiting for all these years. A book about life, about pain and the power of love and literature. Read Train Lord and come on an all stops journey of the heart. I loved this book”

John Connell - author of The Cow Book, The Running Book, The Stream of Everything (Gill Books/Grants)



Praise for Lion Attack


Lion Attack! turns online stories into a winner.- Sydney Morning Herald


A book unlike anything you've ever read before.- Readings Bookstore


I know the electric feeling that is too often missing from the world when it is written on the page. The pure light comes in from here and there ... It is there in the feverish marginalia and the wet monomania of Kate Middleton’s Ephemeral Waters, in the plangent logorrhoea of PiO’s Fitzroy ... in the distended alt-text ouroboria of Oliver Mol’s Lion Attack!, and in every line of the tectonic linguistic ecologies that make up Alexis Wright’s mesmerizing novels. -  Luke Carman, Lithub


★★★★★Oliver performed in the green room after our gig in Barcelona. Wild and special. This asshole made me cry. See this or die. - Clarence McGuffie, Confidence Man


★★★★Sydney author Oliver Mol delivers his autobiographical monologue with such clarity and heart ... best just go. - Louise Nunn, The Advertiser


★★★★Saturated in emotional truth and unapologetically low-fi, Train Lord is testament to the powerful potential of Fringe shows that hark back to the no-frills days of the festival’s past. - Farrin Foster In Daily