The Next Big Thing
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The Next Big Thing is all about showcasing exciting new writers: the ones to watch. In this special MWF edition of the Wheeler Centre series, hear from Miles Allinson, Maria Katsonis, Eileen Ormsby and Laura Woollett – in the cosy surrounds of The Moat. Hosted by Helen Withycombe.
Laura Elizabeth Woollett is a Perth-born, Melbourne-based author. Her first novel The Wood of Suicides was published in early 2014. Her short fiction collection The Love of a Bad Man was published in 2016 by Scribe Publications.
She was the winner of the 2014 John Marsden/ Hachette Prize for Fiction, and has had recent work appear in Award Winning Australian Writing, The Suburban Review, and Voiceworks. She is currently working on her second novel Beautiful Revolutionary, about a young couple who enter the orbit of Jim Jones' Peoples Temple in late '60s California.
Miles Allinson is a writer and an artist. His paintings and installations have been appearing semi-legally in or on billboards, newspapers, laneways, answering machines, trams and underground car parks around Melbourne since 2003. Allinson's first novel, Fever of Animals, about the elusive Romanian surrealist Emil Bafdescu, won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript in 2014, and will be published this year.
Maria Katsonis was a good Greek girl until university, when she discovered her rebellious side, embracing her independence and true sexuality. In 2008, she experienced a severe episode of depression and was hospitalised for over a month. She now lives with an ongoing mental illness and is a vocal mental health advocate and an ambassador for beyondblue. Katsonis' writing has been published in the Age, the Guardian and New Paradigm. The Good Greek Girl is her first book and recounts her experience of mental illness and recovery, set against her escape from a traditional Greek upbringing. She is a senior executive at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.
After seven years as a corporate lawyer in Melbourne and London, Eileen Ormsbythrew it in to become a freelance journalist and writer, with regular investigative features for the Age focusing on cybercrime, online privacy and illicit drugs. Finding her way into the murky underworld of the dark web in 2011, Ormsby became an active member of notorious underground black market Silk Road, gaining the trust of the website's operators and customers. She wrote Silk Road in real time, chronicling the rise and fall of the multi-million-dollar drugs empire as it happened, with input from the major players. Ormsby recently presented to an expert roundtable on drugs and the internet in Portugal, the output of which will inform EU drug policy.
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.