Body Shell Girl

Release date: May/June 2022.
Now available in Australia/NZ from Spinifex Press.
And at Amazon.
You can also order it from any bookstore, and your local library.
Also available as a Kindle ebook, as well as on Apple Books, Kobo, Nook, etc.

Publisher’s description:

think of my body as a shell
that I could vacate, not as metaphor, or symbol
but as a real possibility

Body Shell Girl is a memoir in verse about the first two years of a decade that Rose Hunter spent in the sex industry in Canada.

When Rose walked into a massage parlour in Toronto in 1997, she was looking for a temporary fix—to pay rent and avoid having to go back to her home country of Australia.

Awkward, shy and looking for a place to belong, she found herself in a strange world she understood little about, other than that here she could make more than rent. She planned to use her earnings to buy herself an education that would secure the career of her dreams.

Naively believing she could do what was required and leave the industry on her own terms, she was shattered by what unfolded.

This is her story. It is also a searing portrayal of this dehumanising industry in all its destructive power.

Praise for the book:

Trauma can destroy narrative or it can create a firestorm – in Body Shell Girl Rose Hunter has ploughed her memory and her ‘radioactive’ journals to take us not just inside the debilitating machinations of her time in the sex industry but right inside the experience itself. A highly visceral reading experience that left me body-shocked and reeling. In Body Shell Girl Hunter annihilates misogynist fantasy word by word, page by page.
—Sally Breen, author of The Casuals and Atomic City

Body Shell Girl is incredible. It is a captivating and honest account of a woman’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings in the sex trade. Communicated with authenticity, you feel as if Rose is an old friend by the end of the book: she gives a voice to sisters who are too often unheard.
—Cherry Smiley, from the Nlaka’pamux and Diné Nations, founder of Women’s Studies Online, Canada

Shimmering, relentless and candid. You didn’t expect to find yourself here and neither did she; the author takes you deftly through hell with an unexpected tenderness. 
—Simone Watson, from Latji Latji Country in Victoria, Director, Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NorMac)

Rose Hunter’s harrowing, brutally honest account of her life as a sex worker in Canada at the end of the twentieth century is both revelatory and cautionary.
—Charles Rammelcamp, read the full review in Compulsive Reader.

Body Shell Girl … blasts through the lies of the “sex work is real work” brigade and tells the truth in profound and unforgettable ways. It is a huge achievement. An act of great generosity. An attempt to equip succeeding generations of girls with essential knowledge of how to navigate this world.

Please read it and pass it on to all the young people in your life. And teachers, please put it on the school curriculum.
—Nordic Model Now, read the full review here.

Poems from the book to read online:

Quite a few poems from this book were published in literary journals (print and online). They are earlier, and therefore slightly different, versions of the poems compared to what ended up in the final book. Here are three that you can read online:

“Red Velvet Suite” in Overland (AUS)
“Just Like This With Cash Money” in Prelude (USA)
“Circus Catalogue” in Rise Up Review (USA)

And you can read the first [long] poem of the book, as it appears in the book (along with a poem from the second and third sections), at Rochford Street Review.

Book launch and interviews:

Book launch video (May 4, 2022): watch on YouTube.
Excerpt of Sally Breen’s launch speech at Rochford Street Review.
Interview with BroadAgenda (May 20, 2022).
Interview with Peter Goers, ABC Radio Adelaide (June 22, 2022). I am 1:36:20 (15 mins).