Introducing our 2020 Fiction Edition Authors!

30 September 2020 Magazine

Introducing our 2020 Fiction Edition Authors!

This Friday 2 October, The Big Issue will release its 16th annual Fiction Edition, featuring 14 stories from prominent and emerging Australian writers.

The bumper edition includes new commissioned work from Bruce Pascoe, Claire G Coleman and Alice Bishop. A further 11 writers – Millie Baylis, Anne Kate Blair, Nina Cullen, Jennie Del Mastro, Brooke Dunnell, Angharad Hampshire, Jodie Kewley, Michael McGirr, Ferne Merrylees, Rebecca Varcoe and Colin Varney – were selected from a record number of 871 submissions.

The Big Issue editor Amy Hetherington says the edition is highly anticipated by Big Issue readers and vendors alike.

“There is always something special about The Big Issue’s Fiction Edition, but this year it’s extra special. Sharing stories is a way we connect and make sense of the world, and this collection of new fiction brings some levity and meaning to these unpredictable times.

“Not only is this edition full of great reads from new and emerging writers, but by buying a copy you’re also supporting your local Big Issue vendor in what has been a tough year.”

With 16 extra pages, this edition was made possible by the generous support of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Submissions were blindly judged by The Big Issue books editor and poet Thuy On and writer and editor Katherine Smyrk, as well as The Big Issue editorial team. Illustrations are by Melbourne artist Janelle Barone.

Check out the successful writers below!


Millie Baylis, VIC
Millie Baylis (@MillieBaylis) is a writer living in Melbourne, on Wurundjeri land. In 2019 she was a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk fellow and in 2020 she is a Moreland Writer in Residence and the Program Coordinator of the Emerging Writers’ Festival. She writes essays, memoir and short stories – largely about living with disability and chronic illness, and her work has recently appeared in Kill Your Darlings, Overland and The Victorian Writer.

Alice Bishop, VIC
Alice Bishop was named The Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelist for 2020. Her debut, A Constant Hum, is out now through Text. Find her @BishopAlice.

Anna Kate Blair, VIC
Anna Kate Blair (@annakblair) is a writer from Aotearoa living in Naarm. Her work has recently appeared in Reckoning, Meanjin, Landfall and The Lifted Brow.

Claire G Coleman, VIC
Claire G Coleman (@clairegcoleman) is a 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. She writes poetry, short-fiction and essay and is the author of two novels, Terra Nullius and The Old Lie.

Nina Cullen, NSW
Nina Cullen is a Sydney-based writer. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared both here and overseas in publications such as Sleepers Almanac, Island, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, Taste – Fresh New Writing and Imagining Ourselves. She’s currently finishing an anthology of short stories. You can find her and her blog at or on Twitter @ninakcullen.

Jennie Del Mastro, VIC
Jennie Del Mastro (@JennieDelMastro) writes between caring for her four boys, her kelpie and a very froggy garden in Central Gippsland. Currently she misses faraway family, prays a lot, and has the intermittent thousand-mile stare of the novel plotter.

Brooke Dunnell, WA
Brooke Dunnell (@thespinelabel) is a Perth writer whose short fiction has been published in Best Australian Stories, Meanjin, Westerly and other journals and anthologies. Her work has been recognised in a range of competitions including the Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award 2020, the Bridport Short Story Prize 2019, the Newcastle Short Story Award 2019 and the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize 2017.

Angharad Hampshire, NSW
Angharad Hampshire is a British journalist who is studying for a doctorate of Arts at the University of Sydney. She worked for many years for the BBC in London before moving to Hong Kong, where she taught journalism at the University of Hong Kong and wrote feature articles for The South China Morning Post. She lives in Sydney with her family and is writing her first novel.

Jodie Kewley, VIC
Jodie Kewley’s stories have appeared in many short story publications, including Australian Short Stories, Imago, Southern Review, Australian Multicultural Book Review, Ulitarra, Aurealis, Storyfire and Going Down Swinging. Jodie lives on the Mornington Peninsula with her husband, her sheltie and her chooks.

Michael McGirr, VIC
Michael McGirr is an essayist, short fiction writer and regular reviewer for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. His books include Things You Get for Free (Scribe), Bypass: The Story of a Road (Picador), Snooze: The Lost Art of Sleep (Text). His most recent is Books that Saved My Life (Text). He is working on a book about philosophy for Text. He buys The Big Issue outside Readings in Hawthorn.

Ferne Merrylees, NSW
Ferne Merrylees has a PhD in English from the University of Newcastle, Australia, and has had short stories published in multiple online magazines. She writes a blog that reviews young adult literature and speculative fiction books at, and she has a growing Twitter following @fernemerrylees.

Bruce Pascoe, VIC
Bruce Pascoe is the author of Night Animals, Fox, Ruby-eyed Coucal, Shark, Ocean, Earth, Bloke, Cape Otway, Convincing Ground, Little Red Yellow and Black Book, Fog a Dox, Dark Emu and Young Dark Emu. He published and edited Australian Short Stories (1982- 1999), and is the winner of the Australian Literature Award 1999, Radio National Short Story Award 1998, FAW Short Story 2010, Prime Minister’s Award for Literature (Young Adult) 2013, NSW Premier’s Book of the Year 2016 (Dark Emu), ABA Children’s Book of the Year 2020 (Young Dark Emu), and is shortlisted for The CBCA Eve Pownall Award 2020 (Young Dark Emu). He is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man and lives in far east Gippsland.

Rebecca Varcoe, VIC
Rebecca Varcoe is a writer whose work has appeared in places like Meanjin, The Guardian and Kill Your Darlings, but all she really wants is you to tell her that she’s funny. She tweets at @becca_varcoe and posts pictures on Instagram at @becca_v.

Colin Varney, NSW
Colin Varney’s debut novel, Earworm, is a tragi-comedy narrated by a love song. His short fiction has featured in Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings and Island, while satirical pieces have appeared in Points in Case and Slackjaw. He completed a Masters in creative writing at the University of Tasmania. The music world mourns his decision to cease drumming in pub bands.


Janelle Barone, VIC
Janelle Barone is a commercial and editorial illustrator currently working in Melbourne. Her work aims to tell stories, create atmosphere and cause contemplation. She is inspired by comic art, traditional Japanese printmaking and cinematography.

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