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State of the (Writing) Nation: Jennifer Down


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Multi-award-winning novelist Jennifer Down reflects on the state of Australian literature and publishing in Writers Victoria’s annual State of the (Writing) Nation address.


The State of the (Writing) Nation is Writers Victoria’s annual address from a prominent Australian writer. It’s a chance to reflect on what’s happening and where we’re heading in Australian literature and publishing. Now, for the first time in three years, the State of the (Writing) Nation will return as an in-person event, with a livestream also available.

This year, Jennifer Down will give the address. Down’s debut novel, Our Magic Hour, was shortlisted for the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Her story collection Pulse Points won the 2018 Readings Prize and the 2018 Steele Rudd Award in the Queensland Literary Awards. She was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist in 2017 and 2018, and Bodies of Light, her second and most recent novel, won the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Hosted by Writers Victoria patrons Melanie Cheng, Andy Jackson and Christos Tsiolkas, the evening will also feature a short virtual reading from Mykaela Saunders, editor of This All Come Back Now.

This event was originally scheduled for Monday 21 November 2022.

Presented in partnership with Writers Victoria. All proceeds from this event will support the Writers Victoria Fund, which supports writers who experience financial barriers to access professional development and networking opportunities.


Live-stream tickets: Free, but bookings are required. Book for the live-stream here.

In-person tickets: $20, plus $4.40 transaction fee.

We never want cost to be a barrier for anyone to experience events presented by the Wheeler Centre. If you are not in a position to purchase a ticket right now, please select the No One Turned Away For Lack of Funds (‘NOTAFLOF’) ticket option.


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Accessible toilets available

Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact reception on 03 9094 7800 or

About the book

The bookseller for this event is the Sun Bookshop.


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

Mykaela Saunders

Dr Mykaela Saunders is a Koori/Goori and Lebanese writer and teacher, and the editor of This All Come Back Now, the world’s first anthology of Blackfella speculative fiction (UQP, 2022). Mykaela won the 2022 David Unaipon Award for her manuscript of spec fic stories Always Will Be: Stories of G... Read more

Melanie Cheng

Melanie Cheng is a writer and general practitioner from Melbourne. She is the author of Australia Day, which won the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, and Room for a Stranger, which was longlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Award. Her non-fiction has been published in the G... Read more

Andy Jackson

Andy Jackson is a poet, essayist and creative writing teacher, and was awarded the inaugural Writing the Future of Health Fellowship with RMIT’s Health Tranformation Lab. He has featured at literary events and arts festivals in Ireland, India, the USA and across Australia, including Melbourne ... Read more

Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of six novels, including Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award, as well as being made into a feature film. His fourth novel, the internat... Read more


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