The debut novella by Rosemary Johnston.

Kate and her teenage daughter return to Ireland to sort through what is left of the family farm. Source is a book about beginnings and homeland and the words that accompany us on our journey.

Published in line with our Planet Positive Promise

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Source by Rosemary Johnston

Kate and her teenage daughter return to Ireland to sort through what is left of the family farm. But in doing so, Kate is brought to all the reasons she left many years ago. She can find no attachment to the objects of her past until she comes across her father’s dictionary.

Can words be the way for her to unlock the past? Can they help pave the way towards reconciliation? Can they help us understand ourselves?

Source is a book about beginnings and homeland and the words that accompany us on our journey.


Part of the Story Machine New Fictions series.
Buy as a bundle together with Madeleine and The Day I Killed J. D. Salinger here. 


Praise for Source

‘Sensory, stunning and full of heart. Writing of the highest quality – I loved it!’

Ashley Hickson-Lovence, author of The 392

‘One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.’
Whispering Stories

‘A love of words drenches this tender rumination of place and people. Set amidst the melancholy purging of Irish rain, it feels almost like a prose poem. The humour is feather-light but lifts a peaty darkness towards the light and a richly satisfying conclusion.’
Sarah Passingham, author of Push: My Father, Polio, and Me

‘A little gem from the pen of a very talented writer.’
Northern Reader

Such an enjoyable read. I was fully invested. When we know where we’ve come from, we find out where we’re going. The story is only 40 pages long so it’s an incredibly quick read which left me wanting more.’
Daisy Hollands

‘Powerful. Highly recommended.’

‘Powerful and beautifully written. A lovely read from the pen of a very talented writer.’

‘Stylish, compelling, thought-provoking’
John Hill, Books Up North

‘Fascinating and exceptionally well written…Truly thought provoking about the power of words, their origins and meaning, and how important they are in every aspect of life.’
Yorkshire Book Lover

‘In this tale of loneliness, tragedy and exile the love of words provides a seam of light. I loved Rosemary Johnston’s conception of words as making journeys through history like refugees, survivors in strange lands.’
Sally-Anne Lomas, author of Live Like Your Head’s On Fire and Love Like Your Heart’s On Fire

A beautiful quick read. [Leaves a] lasting impression.’
Bethany’s Bookshelf

The prose is measured and meaningful. Every paragraph has impact and results in such a short story becoming an incredibly detailed and thought provoking one. This is a beautifully written novella about family and love and the past and the present.’

‘Packed full of character’
Bookworm Blogger

A gentle, compassionate and insightful look at origins, or sources – of identity, shame, grief, anger, despair – (and interestingly, of words themselves) and the roots that provide definition, and a past, that cannot be removed, but can evolve, with time, into something perhaps softer around the edges.’
Terri (BooklyMatters)

A beautifully sweeping story about identity, heritage and home. It’s deeply moving, evocate and descriptive; invokes a sense of longing for home and vivid imagery.’
B.S. Casey

A powerful and beautifully written story of memories, words and life. I recommend it as a lovely read from the pen of a very talented writer.’
Goodreads review

An emotional, uplifting saga which shows that the memories in your past don’t stop you from being ‘free’.’
Jenny McClinton

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I finished reading it.  I was utterly hooked from start to finish.’
kirsty, Goodreads review





Photo of Rosemary Johnston, author of SourceAbout Rosemary Johnston

Rosemary Johnston grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland and lives in North Yorkshire with her family. She has written for adults and children, and regularly writes articles on poetry, language and history. Her plays have been produced at the Gateway Theatre in Chester and she has completed a debut novel The Children of Angels’ Eyrie. She is an editor of Vixen Magazine.


Book Details

ISBN: 9781912665105
Length: 68pp
Format: Paperback Original with french flaps
First published: 1st July 2021
Also available: ebook ISBN: 9781912665112

Planet Positive Publishing

Story Machine is committed to putting the environment first. This book is printed using processes that are:

Planet Positive Printing means that our books are a little more expensive than they would otherwise be. We believe that this is a small price to pay for the future of our planet.

Additional information

Weight 0.35 kg
Dimensions 1 cm


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