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Small Town Stories


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Rural Australia – indeed, rural anywhere – is a storytelling fixture. But in many ways, it’s specifically small towns that make a perfect setting for fiction, and a potent backdrop to coming of age.

A writer might draw on the intense social relations (or seething suspicions) of people living in each other’s pockets; the pleasures and pressures of being too near or too far from your roots. Small towns can represent a known quantity or an unknown quality. And, in terms of scale, some would be perfectly cast as a set for stage or screen.

In this edition of The Next Big Thing, we’ll hear from the authors of three new novels and one short story that take place beyond the big smoke. Slink down to The Moat to discover fresh writing from Jay Carmichael (Ironbark), Kate O’Donnell (Untidy Towns), Mira Robertson (The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean) and Jesse Paris-Jourdan (‘Shit City’).

Readings will be our bookseller at this event.


Jay Carmichael

Jay Carmichael is a writer and editor whose first novel, Ironbark, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction in 2019, and whose writing has been published by Beyond Blue and appeared widely in print and online, including in Overland, The Guardian, SBS, and The Telli... Read more

Kate O'Donnell

Kate O’Donnell is a writer, editor and bookseller specialising in children’s and young adult literature. Untidy Towns is her first novel.

Mira Robertson

Mira Robertson is an award winning screenwriter who has also published short fiction. Her feature film credits include the multi award winning films Only the Brave and Head On, co-written with director Ana Kokkinos. The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean is her first novel. She lives in Melbour... Read more

Jesse Paris-Jourdan

Jesse Paris-Jourdan is a writer from Toowoomba, Queensland. He is the editor of Farrago, the student publication at the University of Melbourne.


The Moat

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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