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Girls Writing About Girls



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‘My body was still boyish and small and straight up and down, but I knew that it was interesting to men.’ Abigail Ulman’s short-story collection, Hot Little Hands, features female characters on the brink of adulthood, coming to terms with desire and what it means to be desired.

Such frank, funny and authentic depictions of girls’ sexuality (and its infinite variations) aren’t as prevalent in literature as you might think. What are the other blind spots in writing for, and about, girls?

For our HEY GIRL series, we’re bringing Ulman together with three other writers – Marlee Jane Ward, Jax Jacki Brown and Jennifer Down – to discuss these blinds spots and how, as writers, they’ve tried to address them. Ward’s award-winning Young Adult novel Welcome to Orphancorp, tells the dystopian tale of a rebellious girl in a semi-futuristic orphanage, while Jax Jacki Brown is a spoken-word artist and commentator with a focus on disability and sexuality. Host Jennifer Down is the author of Our Magic Hour, a novel about navigating grief and relationships in young adulthood.

Lust, longing, anger, rebellion, self-surveillance, anxiety, technology, friendship – our panel will discuss these topics and more. What stories do girls want to read? And what stories do they want to tell?


Jennifer Down

Jennifer Down is a writer and editor. Her debut novel, Our Magic Hour, was shortlisted for the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. The story collection Pulse Points won the 2018 Readings Prize and the 2018 Steele Rudd Award in the Queensland Literary Awards. ... Read more

Marlee Jane Ward

Marlee Jane Ward is a writer, reader and weirdo living in Melbourne. She grew up on the Central Coast of New South Wales and studied Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong. In 2014 she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, Washington.  You can find her short stories in th... Read more

Abigail Ulman

Abigail Ulman is a writer from Melbourne. She is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Fiction from Stanford University, and a winner of the Best Young Australian Novelist Award. Her debut short story collection Hot Little Hands has been published in Australia and abroad. ... Read more

Jax Jacki Brown

Jax Brown (they/them) is an esteemed disability and LGBTQIA+ rights activist, writer, educator and consultant. Their tireless commitment to LGBTIQA+ disability human rights and advocacy has been recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Jax utilises their experience as a queer, trans... Read more


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