Join ABC Radio National's Cathy van Extel who is in-conversation with author Kate Wild discussing "Waiting for Elijah".
“Kate Wild's Waiting for Elijah is brave, balanced, and profound; wrestling with the fatal police shooting of a young mentally ill man, Wild reveals a compelling investigation into mental illness and the police on the frontline of psychosis. A beautiful writer, Wild's Waiting for Elijah is a thrilling debut.” - Anna Krien
In 2009, in the NSW country town of Armidale, a mentally ill young man is shot dead by a police officer. Senior Constable Andrew Rich claims he ‘had no choice’ other than to shoot 24-year-old Elijah Holcombe — Elijah had run at him roaring with a knife, he tells police.
Some witnesses to the shooting say otherwise, though, and this act of aggression doesn't fit with the sweet, sensitive, but troubled young man that Elijah's family and friends knew him to be. The shooting devastates Elijah's family and the police officer alike.
So what happened in that Armidale laneway — and how could it have been avoided? Waiting for Elijah is the culmination of journalist Kate Wild's six-year investigation — an investigation that not only seeks to answer these questions, but also poses some vitally important ones of its own: Why is it still taboo to talk about mental illness in our society? Is it fair to expect police to be first responders in mental health crises? If the community insists this job belongs to police, how can these interactions be improved?
Written with clear-eyed compassion and a compelling narrative drive, Waiting for Elijah is an account of a tragedy that didn’t have to happen. It is also an intense, forensic deconstruction of the extended legal proceedings that followed, and a heartbreaking portrait of a family’s grief.
Kate Wild is an investigative journalist whose work with distinguished teams at the ABC has been recognised with three Walkley Awards and a Logie. Her reports from Darwin, where she lived from 2010 to 2016, laid the groundwork for a Four Corners story on juvenile detention that prompted the calling of a Royal Commission. Like Elijah Holcombe, Kate grew up in country New South Wales; she now lives and works in Sydney. Waiting for Elijah is her first book.
This event commences at 6:30pm. Printed tickets are not issued and your booking will be on a door list under your surname. Tickets for this event cost $7.50. If you have a book and ticket deal (save $5.00) the book will be at the counter under your surname.