Eddie Ayres learnt the viola as a child in England, studying in
Berlin and London before playing the viola for eight years with the
Hong Kong Philharmonic. As Emma Ayres, she moved from Hong Kong to
Australia to present a long-running and extremely popular radio
program on ABC Classic FM, while teaching music privately and
When Emma hung up her headphones at the end of 2014, there was a public outpouring of emotion. This tattooed, intelligent, warm and witty woman had made her way into the hearts of many Australians. What the devoted audience didn't see, however, was Emma's daily struggle to live within her woman's body. For sixteen years, she knew that she was transgender but to take any action seemed impossible. Emma believed there was too much to lose -- family, friends and her career.
In 2016, Emma accepted a position teaching cello, viola and double bass to Afghanistan's children at the world-renowned Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Amid the chaos and unpredictability of life in war-savaged Kabul, Emma realised she had to accept her future and returned to Australia to begin transitioning from female to male. In 2016, Emma became Eddie.
Danger Music, Eddie's second book will be published in September 2017. He is currently writing a children's book which will be published in 2018. Cadence: Travels with Music, published in 2014, was his first book.
"I was deeply moved by this book. I was moved by the plight of the
children living through this hell and moved by their bravery and
that of their families. And I was moved by Eddie's decision to
finally find the courage to become the man he always knew he was."
- Good Reading
"The book is so immersive, that the reader feels a sense of relief when Ayres decides to return to Australia. But he is also able to leave part of us there, absorbing the beauty and the terror that is Afghanistan and hoping beyond hope that at the very least, the musicians who graduate ANIM will have more positive choices in their futures, just as Eddie Ayres has ultimately been able to forge his required path." - Loud Mouth - The Music Trust Ezine
"Eddie shares his brave journey to self-knowledge and self-acceptance and opens our eyes to the beauty that can be found in the worst of places. It is a brave and incredibly inspiring story." - Out in Perth
"Never upstaging his students' dramas even as he struggles with his own identity, Eddie Ayres writes with forthrightness and compassion in this timely, powerfully-told tale." - The Age (syndicated to SMH, Canberra Times & WA Today)
"Danger Music moves in whirlwind snippets through Eddie's days teaching in Kabul. Students appear and disappear with startling irregularity...The stress, uncertainty and trauma of everyday life in Kabul are felt keenly in this whirlwind narrative. In one moment, Eddie is describing the beauty of the young cello players playing together; in another, he's wondering how to get everyone out if suicide bombers and the Taliban storm the school. I loved this book." - Readings.com.au
"There are so many memoirs and biographies available these days, very few are written with as much heart as Danger Music. Eddie Ayres writes of tremendous hardships, unfathomable in many ways, with humour and most importantly, with understanding. Captivating, moving and relevant...this book is one of the best memoirs I've ever read." - The Bibliophile's Bookshelf (blog)