H.G. Royster

H.G. Royster

Author

H.G. Royster is the debut author of In Turn, a fictionalised memoir of her Australian hospital internship.  

Hannah was born in Sydney, Australia. She was raised in remote Far North Queensland by her academic professor mother, bohemian artist father, and two godmothers, with her younger sisters. The family lived on acreage at the end of a dirt road on the other side of the Barron River, renowned for flooding every wet season, locking the family in for extended periods every year. She made lifetime bonds with the community on that side of the river.

Hannah had an affinity for writing at a young age despite struggling with reading and writing due to missed school from deafness and epilepsy. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2002 and received curative brain surgery. Hannah’s saving grace was being raised in a family that encouraged full expression, giving her a great sense of freedom and creativity. She was first published in a short story competition in her small-town quarterly newspaper at age ten.

Her passion for writing fully emerged at fourteen during a family road trip through New Zealand’s North Island. Her family stopped their van in the small town of Taihape for a leg stretch. By the curb of the road was a cardboard box of free books. Hannah grabbed a blank scrapbook and a baby naming book from the top of the pile. She spent the rest of the road trip listing the most unusual names she could find and a character archetype to match them. Scenes started appearing to her, and she translated them rapidly to paper before they were lost.

In this same year, her father experienced his first psychotic episode. Writing became Hannah’s instrument for private and personal exploration to process these new and traumatic experiences. These experiences led to her first novel series, which she used to hone her writing skills and for self-exploration during her adolescence. 

After missing many years of primary school, Hannah built her way up the academic ladder and got into medical school. She graduated and completed her internship in Far North Queensland. It was during her internship that she realised her daily life on the wards was more unbelievable than the fiction she’d previously conjured. She decided to take notes about her experiences. In her second and third postgraduate years, three junior doctors committed suicide in the hospital in which she was working. These incidents prompted Hannah to commit to publishing her writing as a contribution to preventing further harm from the pressures of medical culture.

She published her debut novel IN TURN in 2023. It is a fictionalised memoir about internship in an Australian hospital and the hospital culture that persists despite the desperate need for change. 

Hannah continues to write while balancing medical training and has future novels in the works. She believes it was her early years, deaf, epileptic and recovering from brain surgery, that taught her the art of observation, which she translates into her writing.

Photographer: Michael Gregory