The Next Big Thing
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Have you ever felt that The Next Big Thing should’ve been … well, bigger?
Australia’s small publishers are right there with you. Each year, the Small Press Network’s Most Underrated Book Award celebrates independently published titles that didn’t receive the attention they deserved. Previously, the award has been given to books such as The Cook by Wayne Macauley, A Wrong Turn in the Office of Unmade Lists by Jane Rawson, and Building Cities by Marcus Westbury.
For this upsized instalment of our Next Big Thing series – a part of this year’s Small Press Network Conference, and hosted by Toni Jordan – we’ll point you, dear reader, to books that deserve another look. (Don’t worry – we’ll bring the bar upstairs.)
Featuring writing from Ben Hutchings, Susan McCreery, Christina Kennedy and Briohny Doyle. (Briohny is unable to come along, so publisher Sam Cooney will read on her behalf.)
Toni Jordan is the author of four novels. The international bestseller Addition (2008) was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award. Fall Girl (2010) was published internationally and has been optioned for film, while Nine Days (2012) was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards, shortlisted for the ABIA Best General Fiction award and named in Kirkus Review’s Top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Her latest novel is Our Tiny, Useless Hearts (2016). Toni has been published widely in newspapers and magazines.
Ben Hutchings is a comic book artist and co-founder of Australia's first cartoonists' studio, Squishface Comic Studio, where he works as a freelance artist. Ben has worked on poetry books and magazines, as well as other projects such as The Invisible War.
Christina Kennedy’s design and cultivation of a classical garden using native plants across her property on Horse Island was selected by the State Library of New South Wales to feature in its Grand Garden Designs exhibition, which surveyed contemporary landscape design across the state.
Susan McCreery is a writer from Thirroul in New South Wales. Her microfiction has been published by Spineless Wonders (Writing to the Edge, Flashing the Square and Out of Place), as well as by Seizure and Cuttlefish. Her poetry and short fiction have also appeared in Best Australian Poems 2009, Sleepers Almanac, Going Down Swinging, Hecate, Five Bells and Island, among others.
Sam Cooney runs the literary organisation TLB, which houses the independent book publishing press Brow Books and quarterly literary magazine The Lifted Brow, as well as running a website, writing prizes, events, and more. He is publisher-in-residence at RMIT, teaches sessionally at several universities, and is a freelance writer and literary critic.
New and emerging writers often produce adventurous, experimental or honest work – with the lesser burden of expectation, habit and legacy allowing for more careful or bold ideas.
A Wheeler Centre stalwart, our Next Big Thing series showcases the best in fresh Australian writing – with a focus on a different genre each month. You’ll hear from future favourites, and discover new darlings while you enjoy a drink and a bite in the intimate surrounds of The Moat.
Why wait for everyone else to catch up? Find tomorrow’s literary stars today.