McKell CEO Ed Cavanough’s debut book, ‘Divided Isles: Solomon Islands & The China Switch’ to be released September 19, 2023.

“A pacy must-read investigation into one of the most consequential geopolitical events in Australia’s region”

McKell Institute CEO Ed Cavanough’s first book, Divided Isles: Solomon Islands & The China Switch, is set to be released via Black Inc Books / La Trobe University Press on September 19. 

Cavanough’s debut offers a forensic on-the-ground investigation into the origins and fallout of one of the most consequential geopolitical events in Australia’s region in recent years.

In 2019, Solomon Islands’ enigmatic four-time prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, made international headlines when he ended a decades-long alliance with Taiwan in exchange for a new future with China. 

The decision prompted international condemnation and terrified Australian security experts, who feared Australia’s historical Pacific advantage would come unstuck. 

But on the ground, it also divided a country, as anger over the decision was grafted onto long-standing fault lines that had in the past seen the country descend into violence,. 

In Divided Isles, Edward Cavanough explains how the switch played out on the ground and its extraordinary consequences. 

He speaks with the dissidents and politicians who shape Solomon Islands’ politics, and to the ordinary people whose lives have been upended by a decision that has changed the country – and the region – forever. 

Pre order:



14 September, Melbourne CBD, VIC.

La Trobe University City Campus, in conversation with Dr. Bec Strating




28 September, Glebe, Sydney, NSW

Gleebooks, in conversation with SMH/The Age International Editor Peter Hartcher.