The Next Big Thing
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With a fan base far beyond that of its ‘young’ descriptor, Young Adult fiction is a not-so-guilty pleasure of readers of all ages – and Australian authors are producing some of the best work in the business. Come and hear from some of the newest voices adding shine to the golden age of YA, including Alison Whittaker, Emily Gale, Jessie Perrin and Marlee Jane Ward.
Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi multitasker. Between 2017–2018, she was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, where she was named the Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. Alison is a Senior Researcher at the Jumbunna Institute at UTS.
Her debut poetry collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, was awarded the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship in 2015. Her latest poetry collection, Blakwork, was published in 2018 and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and won the QLA Judithe Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection. She is the editor of the anthology Fire Front: First Nations poetry and power today.
Alison was also the co-winner of the 2017 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for ‘Many Girls White Linen’. She was the Indigenous Poet-in-Residence for the 2018 Queensland Poetry Festival.
Marlee Jane Ward is a writer, reader and weirdo living in Melbourne. She grew up on the Central Coast of New South Wales and studied Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong. In 2014 she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, Washington.
You can find her short stories in the Hear Me Roar Anthology, Interdictions and Mad Scientist Journal. Her debut novella, Welcome to Orphancorp, won the 2015 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize and the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction. Its sequel, Psynode, was published in 2017.
Emily Gale has been involved in the children's book industry for nearly 20 years and has worked as an editor, reviewer, talent finder and literary award judge. She spent several happy years at independent bookshop Readings as a children's book buyer, during which time she was instrumental in establishing their Children's Book Prize.
Emily's writing includes two novels for teenagers – Girl, Aloud and Steal My Sunshine – and Eliza Boom's Diary for younger readers. Living on the other side of the world from the place she grew up (and most of her family) means that concepts of home, belonging and displacement have long occupied Emily's mind, inspiring her to write The Other Side of Summer.
Jessie Perrin is a University of Melbourne Arts graduate who has studied literature and taught English in Austin, Buenos Aires and Melbourne. She currently writes for Asylum Insight and works with Melbourne Free University to run courses and lectures around Melbourne. She’s recently started trying her hand at fiction, and hopes to commence a Master in Creative Writing this year – and to write the Great Australian Novel next year, featuring a carton of apple and ginger juice as the principal character.
The Next Big Thing takes place every month at the Moat and is a cherished Melbourne institution. It's the place to be if you want to hear great emerging writers read from new and adventurous work.
Enjoy a delicious drink and a bite to eat, while sampling writing from tomorrow's best and brightest literary stars.