Jessica Webster

Jess Webster is the winner of the 2009 IP Picks Best First Book and has been short-listed for major competitions, including the Somerset National Novella competition. She recently graduated with distinction from a Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) at the University of Wollongong and has just commenced Medicine at University of Wollongong.


Jess' launch speech


Lesson One: Introduction to the concept of stealing secrets…which is very, very bad, and should NEVER be done.

A very, very long time ago there lived a magician who became obsessed with secrets.

He wasn’t a very good magician – at least, not a very versatile one anyway. That is to say, he could only do one thing. But that one thing he did very well, and with a vengeance.

When he looked into a person’s eyes he could see their secrets – each and every one of them. And when night-time came (a person is most vulnerable in sleep) he could reach into their minds and take possession of any secret that he chose. In doing so, this magician became the only person in the world who could speak of that secret. It became his, to conceal or reveal at his own whim.

You see, this magician – Louis was his name, Louis d’Arlend – had had an epiphany: that information is the key to power. And so for years he amassed hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of secrets – both delightful and devilish. And it is true that every single one of us has a secret or two (or more); whether it be that you like the girl next door, or that you killed your own father to acquire your inheritance. But one thing is true of all secrets, whether innocent or damning: a secret is only a secret because you wish to keep it from everybody else, at all costs.

And so Louis d’Arlend realised that he could become the most powerful man in the world (despite his shortcomings as a magician). If he could gather but a single secret from every person, he could control them, and make them do as he wished. For a person will go to extraordinary lengths to keep their deepest secrets concealed.

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