The Next Big Thing
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A comical trip through the bureaucracy of local government. A memoir of adolescence lived alongside the heart-rending rollercoaster of a mother’s mental illness. A gap between an ex-policeman father and his artsy son, bridged by stories of colourful criminal hijinks.
In this edition of The Next Big Thing, we’ll hear excerpts from three darkly funny new books tackling the spaces between people, and how we make sense of them – plus a writer from Voiceworks, to be announced.
Katherine Collette will read from her big-hearted satire, The Helpline; Justin Heazlewood from his endearing light-and-shade memoir, Get Up Mum; and Paul Verhoeven from Loose Units, a vibrant and sensitive pursuit of lineage and understanding.
Readings will be our bookseller at this event.
Justin Heazlewood is one of Australia’s most versatile storytellers. Music and comedy fans know him best as the ARIA award-nominated Bedroom Philosopher, a moniker under which Heazlewood has released several albums of incisive, brutally funny and often heartbreaking songs. Heazlewood is also a writer of journalism and essays – bringing humour and critical thinking to important issues such as mental illness, unemployment and the frailty of human relationships.
He has written two acclaimed books: the memoir The Bedroom Philosopher Diaries (2012), followed by Funemployed (2014), which focused on the ecstasies, horrors and realities of being a working artist. The latter earned praise from Tony Martin, Dave Graney and international writer Neil Gaiman, and featured interviews with over 100 local and international artists including Gotye (Wally De Backer), Clare Bowditch, John Safran, Tony Martin, Amanda Palmer, Christos Tsiolkas, Tim Rogers and Adam Elliot.
Paul F. Verhoeven is a writer, broadcaster and entertainer. A mainstay of the Australian media landscape, he has written for ABC News Online, IGN, Smith Journal and Yen Magazine, and has spent years working extensively as a games journalist. After beginning his career hosting Weekend Breakfast on Triple J, he went on to host and write Steam Punks on ABC TV, and currently co-hosts the critically acclaimed podcast 28 Plays Later.
Katherine Collette is a writer and sewage engineer living in Melbourne with her husband and two children. Her debut novel, The Helpline, is being published in Australia and New Zealand by Text Publishing in September and then in the UK, North America and Italy next year.
Madison Griffiths is a writer, artist and poet whose work has been published in VICE, SBS, Overland, Daily Life, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Catapult and Going Down Swinging, amongst others. She is also an online editor at literary youth journal Voiceworks and the co-host of pedestrian.tv’s newest mental health podcast, No Chill. Her work revolves predominantly around issues concerning women, mental illness, animals and race.
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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.