‘Boy Swallows Universe’ by Trent Dalton: A Tale of Triumph Over Adversity

Trent Dalton’s journey from a challenging childhood in Bracken Ridge to becoming an acclaimed author and journalist is proof of the power of resilience and hope, with the transformation of his bestselling novel, “Boy Swallows Universe,” into a gripping, seven-part Netflix series.



Released on 11 Jan 2024, this adaptation marks a significant milestone in Dalton’s career, bringing his deeply personal story to a global audience.

Early Life and Challenges

Born and raised in Bracken Ridge, a neighbourhood fraught with drug addiction and crime in the 80s, Dalton’s early life was far from ordinary. His childhood was spent in the shadows of his mother’s boyfriend, a heroin dealer, which exposed him to a world of turmoil and uncertainty. Despite these early adversities, Dalton managed to steer clear of the destructive paths taken by many of his peers.

A significant turning point in Dalton’s life came in January 2000 when he began working as a journalist in Brisbane. This opportunity not only launched his career in journalism but also led him to meet Fiona Franzmann, who would become his wife. This period marked the beginning of a transformative journey for Dalton, eventually leading to his success as a writer and novelist.

Throughout his life, Dalton’s family played a crucial role in shaping his future. His father, Noel Dalton, in particular, served as a source of inspiration and encouragement. Despite passing away before witnessing his son’s literary achievements, Noel’s influence remained a guiding force in his son’s writing career.

“Boy Swallows Universe” on Netflix

The Netflix adaptation of “Boy Swallows Universe” has brought Dalton’s story to life, showcasing the struggles and triumphs of his formative years. 

Starring Felix Cameron as Eli Bell, the series delves into Dalton’s experiences growing up in a troubled household and his journey through adversity. The series has been praised for its authentic portrayal of 1980s Brisbane and the complex dynamics of Dalton’s family life.

For Dalton, the series is more than just an adaptation of his novel; it’s a reflection of his life’s journey. Visiting the set, he was overwhelmed by the accurate depiction of his childhood memories, bringing to light unresolved emotions and experiences. This adaptation has allowed Dalton to revisit and understand his past in a new light, providing a unique perspective on his own story.



“Boy Swallows Universe” on Netflix is not only a remarkable adaptation of a bestselling novel but also a celebration of the author’s extraordinary life. It’s a story of overcoming hardship, embracing love and hope, and the transformative power of resilience. The series invites viewers to experience a world where even in the darkest of times, the human spirit prevails.

Published 17-Jan-2024