Meet the judges

    To help us identify Australia's most original and distinctive new writers, The Next Chapter draws on the expertise of literary professionals experienced in reading, writing and the processes of publishing and editing. Meet our judges for 2018.

    Ellen van Neerven

    Photograph of Ellen van Neerven

    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

    Photograph of Benjamin Law

    Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist, screenwriter and author of two books – The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). Both were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. The Family Law is now in its fourth reprint, and has been translated into French and adapted into an AACTA-nominated SBS TV series.

    He's the co-author of the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014), with his sister Michelle, and Law School, with his mother Jenny Phang. He also wrote the September 2017 Quarterly Essay, 'Moral Panic 101'. He is a frequent contributor to Good WeekendFrankie and the Monthly.

    Maxine Beneba Clarke

    Photograph of Maxine Beneba Clarke

    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

    Photograph of Christos Tsiolkas

    Christos Tsiolkas is the author of the novels Loaded, The Jesus Man, Dead Europe, The Slap and Barracuda, as well as the short story collection Merciless Gods. He co-authored Jump Cuts: An 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.