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 2020 judges.
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 Day, The 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 are supported by a team of experienced readers, consisting of:
- Adolfo Aranjuez
- Bridget Caldwell
- Maddee Clark
- Elizabeth Flux
- Leanne Hall
- Adalya Nash Hussein
- Melanie Saward