My long-form projects have explored ideas and themes from family and place (She Played Elvis), to apology and reconciliation (What the Ground Can’t Hold), to what it might mean to try to live outside of capitalism (FREEFALL – forthcoming). All of my projects have involved months, if not years, of research – whether busking across the USA, hiking through the Andes or dumpster-diving in New York.

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What the Ground Can’t Hold

Two Americans are presumed dead and nine people are trapped in a cabin after an avalanche falls in the remote Andes...

Told from five points of view, What the Ground Can't Hold follows:
Emma, an Australian faced with an impossible decision that could see her parents jailed. 
Jack, a teenager obsessed with Jack Kerouac, anti-globalism and sex. 
Carmen, a tango dancer whose estranged father is dying of cancer. 
Pedro, the cabin manager, who's in hiding from his ex-wife. 
And Wolfe, an American on a deadly family quest.

With food supplies dwindling, these unlikely companions are forced to extremes and discover they are bound by more than their surroundings – each has a secret that links them to Argentina's Dirty War.

‘Wow. That was the first thing that came to mind when I finished Shady Cosgrove’s stunning novel … I loved it. I want to read it again’ (Moniquie Mulligan).

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She Played Elvis

This is the story of a trip that Shady – a young American immigrant to Australia – undertakes with her Australian boyfriend to rediscover her homeland, which, after several years in Australia, doesn’t necessarily feel like ‘home’ anymore. As part of the journey, the two decide to make a pilgrimage across America, travelling on Greyhound buses, to arrive at Graceland for the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, with Shady busking and singing Elvis songs at cities and towns along the way. As they travel, memories of her past begin to surface and Shady realises that while she is coming to understand the meaning of ‘home’, she is also untangling the knotted threads of her difficult relationship with her estranged father. 

‘This is an enjoyable and skillfully delivered memoir combining a road trip and homage to Elvis with a quest for ‘home’ and ‘self’. Humour and wit sit comfortably alongside melancholy and loss—there is rawness and honesty but no murky, self-indulgence’ (Paula Grunseit, Australian Bookseller+Publisher).

‘… a story told with a clear eyed, intelligent, unforgettable grace’ (

Shady Cosgrove busks in Sydney's Kings Cross, in front of the Coca-Cola sign, playing Elvis Presley's 'Hound Dog'. Her book She Played Elvis chronicles her busking adventures across America to Graceland and is available now through Allen & Unwin.