Clownland is a non-fiction novel that takes the reader on a journey into that unusual place - Clownland- to find out what its extraordinary inhabitants have learnt about life, and happiness.
Clownland is "... a work of admirable daring and spirit." Fiona Capp, The Age, and Sydney Morning Herald.
"...Heartfelt, honest, funny, endearing, insightful and beautiful... this book pressed all my buttons and ticked all my boxes... easy to read and hard to put down" Shep Huntly, League of Sideshow Superstars,
"part travelogue, part plain language philosophy, set in a conceptual and real place called 'Clownland'” Antonella Casella , Circus Oz. "fascinating, thoughtful and moving” Suzanne Donisthorpe, Art Swank, Maine FM. And
“...that rare thing, a non-fiction novel of ideas that actually has a plot, and is completely readable whilst having a seriousness, depth and humour all its own ... Lanigan has captured lightning in a bottle... " Patrick Bath, Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association.
In the contemporary circus world ‘clown’ means a lot more than the common traditional stereotype, so I talked to all sorts of clowns, including a day in the life of a ‘clown doctor’, the program of sending clown trained performers into Aged Care to help repair cognitive function, clowns like the sort that entrain you in shows like La Soiree and Circus Oz, the Burlesque, and of course the circus clowns performing with our classical circus families. I went on a quest to find out if the practitioners of the artform, in their study of the human nature, had learned any of the secrets of happiness.
I approached the book project in the Gonzo style - subjective not objective- and let the Clowns lead the way by daring or suggesting the next step of the journey, and I applied the philosophy I collected to my own life to see how it worked, which gave the story an unpredictable element which proved to be quite life changing.