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 2021 judges. 

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for Indigenous Poetry, 2010 and her first collection of stories, Purple Threads, won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010.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.