Earlier this year I was lucky enough to hear Graeme Simsion talk about the real life inspiration for his best-selling Rosie Project: a former IT colleague, geek and misfit,  who became a best friend.  Not that we have to see Don Tillman as a portrait of  this friend.  Simsion emphasised that his characters are 1/3 someone he knows, 1/3 himself and 1/3 made up.  Neither are the events in The Rosie Project real in all their details but some real-life events have been given what-if makeovers.

While readers may recognise symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome in Don, the author was careful not to use the A word in his novel.  Had he done so, he reckons that his readers would have become uninterested in the characters and the comedy.  That would be a real shame  because Simsion’s debut novel is both character-driven and very, very funny.   A joy to read, in fact.

I’m not sure I entirely bought into the premise.  I had niggling doubts about whether Rosie, as large as character as Don but in a different way, would fall for him as she did.  That aside, I enjoyed everything about Don’s quest for a wife and the various ways in which he almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

I am looking forward to the sequel, The Rosie Effect, due in September.


I asked the author to sign my copy in preparation for a giveaway, which is happening now that it is #anzlitmonth on Reading Matters.  So, if you’d like to win a copy signed “To Lizzy’s Lucky Reader.  Well done! Graeme Simsion”, all you need to do is answer two questions.

Simsion carries a selection of coloured pens in his pocket, fastidiously arranged, just as Don would do it, in Richard-of-York-Gave-Battle-In-Vain sequence.

Didn’t he say that Don is 1/3 himself? Before he signs, Simsion asks the reader for their preferred colour. So question 1) Which colour did I ask my book to be signed in. (Clue: I have always loved this colour.  I didn’t wait to become old before dressing – frequently from head to toe – in it.) 2) Which colour would you have asked him to use?

Answers in comments olease. Winner will be chosen at random on Monday 12th May.  Competition open worldwide.