dirt & dust

life after the suicide of a family member

melia Olsen’s debut book explores the topics surrounding suicide after the loss of her husband. The story of ‘Dirt and Dust’ is narrated by her eighteen-year-old son, Riley, on their 1,400km, seven-day motorbike ride adventure from Cairns to Cape York.

A combination of Amelia’s hilarious, yet heart-warming struggle to complete the physical challenges of the ride, along with Riley’s attempt to comprehend the loss of his father, makes a tough topic an easy read.

I don’t want this situation about suicide or our circumstances to make us bitter and twisted. We’ve lived in a world of anxiety for so long. We have to do this ride, to try and settle the dust.


Looking over at Mum, I wondered if she was doing the same as me, literally soaking this magical place up in her own steady silence. It was an hour of my life that would be replayed in my mind over and over again. One hour of living to sustain life in the darkest and dirtiest of moments. I needed to collect them. I needed to collect more, just like that…