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2021

Arnold Zable is a highly acclaimed novelist, storyteller and human rights advocate. His works include The Watermill, Scraps of HeavenViolin LessonsThe Fighter (shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award).

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, teacher and academic from southwest New South Wales. After a long teaching career, she completed a doctorate in Australian literature and Aboriginal representation and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the Australian National University.

Her first Volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961 (2010, Presspress) won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry, 2010 and her first collection of stories, Purple Threads, won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature.

Fiona Wright is a writer, editor and critic from Sydney. Her book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction, and her new collection, The World Was Whole was longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize. Her poetry collections are Knuckled (2011) and Domestic Interior (2017).

Claire G. Coleman is a Wirlomin Noongar woman whose ancestral country is on the south coast of Western Australia. Born in Perth, she has spent most of her life in Naarm.

Her debut novel Terra Nullius, written while travelling around the continent in a caravan, was published by Hachette in Australia and Small Beer in the US. Terra Nullius won a black&write! Fellowship and a Norma K. Hemming Award, and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Aurealis Science Fiction Award, among others. The Old Lie is her second novel.

Claire writes novels, poetry, short-fiction, drama and essay and has featured in The Saturday Paper, The Guardian, Meanjin, Australian Poetry and many others. Lies Damned Lies: A Personal Exploration of the Impact of Colonisation, her first non-fiction book, was published in September 2021 by Ultimo Press. Her third novel is slated for release in early 2022.

2020

Tony Birch is the author of Ghost River, which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s DayThe Promise and Common People.

Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.

Nam Le’s first book, The Boat, was translated into fifteen languages and received over a dozen major awards in Australia, America and Europe including the PEN/Malamud Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize for Literature and the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Book of the Year. The Boat was selected as a book of the year by over thirty venues around the world, and its stories have been widely anthologised, adapted and taught. In May 2019, Le published On David Malouf as part of Black Inc’s “Writers on Writers” series. He lives in Melbourne.

Maria Tumarkin writes books, essays, reviews, and pieces for performance and radio; she collaborates with sound and visual artists and has had her work carved into dockside tiles. She is the author of four books of ideas. Her fourth (and latest) book Axiomatic won the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award (US), the Stella Prize, and the Prime Minister’s, NSW and Victorian Premiers’ Awards. Axiomatic was named a New Yorker Top 10 Book of 2019.

Maria is a recipient of the 2020 Windham Campbell Prize in the category of nonfiction. She holds a PhD in cultural history and is a senior lecturer in the creative writing program at the University of Melbourne.

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 Judith Wright 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.

In the first round of assessment, the 2020 Next Chapter judges were supported by a team of experienced readers: Adolfo Aranjuez, Bridget Caldwell, Maddee Clark,Elizabeth Flux, Leanne Hall, Laniyuk, Adalya Nash Hussein, Melanie Saward

2019

Sophie Cunningham is the author of five books, the most recent of which is City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death & the Need for a Forest. She is a former publisher, former editor of Meanjin, former Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council and was a co-founder of The Stella Prize. She is an Adjunct Professor with RMIT’s Non/fiction lab.

Ambelin Kwaymullina is an Aboriginal writer, illustrator and law academic who comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. She is author/illustrator of numerous picture books and four science fiction novels for young adults. Her latest novel, Catching Teller Crow, was co-written with her brother Ezekiel and won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Writing for Young Adults. Ambelin is the co-founder (with Rebecca Lim) of Voices from the Intersection, a volunteer initiative that seeks to create opportunities for marginalised Own Voices writers and illustrators.

Benjamin Law writes books, TV screenplays, columns, essays and feature journalism. He’s the author of the memoir The Family Law (2010), the travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012) – both nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards – and the Quarterly Essay on Safe Schools, Moral Panic 101 (2017). The Family Law is now also an award-winning TV series for SBS, which Benjamin created and co-writes.

Benjamin co-wrote the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014) with his sister Michelle, and the sex/relationships advice book Law School (2017) with his mum Jenny. Every week, Benjamin co-hosts ABC RN’s weekly national pop culture show Stop Everything. He also co-hosts online startup and tech TV show That Startup Show, and you can catch him on TV shows like Q&A (ABC), The Drum (ABC), The Project (Ten) and Filthy Rich and Homeless (SBS). He’s a Queenslander based in Sydney.

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of the novels LoadedThe Jesus ManDead EuropeThe Slap and Barracuda, as well as the short story collection Merciless Gods. He co-authored Jump CutsAn Autobiography with Sasha Soldatow. He wrote a monograph on Fred Schepisi’s The Devil’s Playground for the Australian Screen Classics series, and a monograph on Patrick White for the Writers on Writers series by Black Inc.

Christos is also an essayist, playwright and scriptwriter and is the film reviewer for the Saturday Paper. Christos is Patron of Writers Victoria and an Ambassador for the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.

In the first round of assessment, the 2019 Next Chapter judges were supported by a team of experienced readers, consisting of: Adolfo Aranjuez, Bridget Caldwell, Jo Case, Elizabeth Flux, Leanne Hall, Hella Ibrahim, Zoya Patel, Jeff Sparrow.

2018

Ellen van Neerven is a Yugambeh writer​ and poet. Her first book Heat and Light (UQP, 2014) was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize, and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize, the Queensland Literary Award for State Significance and the Readings Prize. Ellen was named as a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist in 2015.

Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry, Comfort Food (UQP, 2016) was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize and Highly Commended for the 2016 Wesley Michel Wright Prize.

She received the 2017 Queensland Writers Centre Johnno Award and the 2015 Express Media Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Young Person in Literary Arts for her work as editor, mentor and advocate for First Nations writers.

Benjamin Law writes books, TV screenplays, columns, essays and feature journalism. He’s the author of the memoir The Family Law (2010), the travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012) – both nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards – and the Quarterly Essay on Safe Schools, Moral Panic 101 (2017). The Family Law is now also an award-winning TV series for SBS, which Benjamin created and co-writes.

Benjamin co-wrote the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014) with his sister Michelle, and the sex/relationships advice book Law School (2017) with his mum Jenny. Every week, Benjamin co-hosts ABC RN’s weekly national pop culture show Stop Everything. He also co-hosts online startup and tech TV show That Startup Show, and you can catch him on TV shows like Q&A (ABC), The Drum (ABC), The Project (Ten) and Filthy Rich and Homeless (SBS). He’s a Queenslander based in Sydney.

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of six books, including the Australian Book Industry Award- and Indie Award-winning short fiction collection Foreign Soil (2014), and the critically acclaimed memoir The Hate Race (2016), which is currently being adapted for the Australian stage. Her poetry collection Carrying The World won the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.

Maxine is the author of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Award-winning picture book The Patchwork Bike, illustrated by Melbourne artist Van T Rudd. Her second picture book Wide Big World will be published in November 2018. Maxine writes for the Saturday Paper.

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of the novels LoadedThe Jesus ManDead EuropeThe Slap and Barracuda, as well as the short story collection Merciless Gods. He co-authored Jump CutsAn Autobiography with Sasha Soldatow. He wrote a monograph on Fred Schepisi’s The Devil’s Playground for the Australian Screen Classics series, and a monograph on Patrick White for the Writers on Writers series by Black Inc.

Christos is also an essayist, playwright and scriptwriter and is the film reviewer for the Saturday Paper. Christos is Patron of Writers Victoria and an Ambassador for the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.