Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in northern New South Wales and still lives in her childhood home. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim. Staying, a memoir, was longlisted for the 2019 Colin Roderick Award and shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.

photo credit: danika cottrell
photo credit: danika cottrell

Staying: A Memoir

‘A wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing potential of words.’ Tim Winton

Staying is rich and complex – and often surprisingly funny given its dark subject matter. Above all, this memoir is a meditation on what it means to be traumatised by loss, and ultimately to be healed by life.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘When Australia’s cultural narratives insist an artist must leave home to succeed, Cole shows one forged by staying put. She still inhabits her fallen Eden today. It’s surprising that, in the midst of such sorrow, what resounds is a sensation of fecundity. But perhaps it’s not, from a writer of such talent and grace.’ The Saturday Paper

‘It is a ­literary achievement, but always a human story. Its message is that life has a tenacious power to draw us out of states of bereavement that, if surrendered to, have the capacity to destroy us ­entirely … The challenge is the one Cole meets and betters­ in this lovely, sad, sometimes luminous memoir: to hold the brokenness that grief ­creates without becoming broken oneself. To find consolation in remaining unconsoled.’ The Weekend Australian

Deeper Water

Deeper Water is a fine and elegantly written novel from an impressive writer.’ Weekend Australian

Deeper Water delivers on its title’s promise of immersion, sensuality, and the liminal … a compelling examination of our relationship with nature.” Australian Book Review



Darkness on the Edge of Town

“One of the stand-out debuts of 2012.”
Adelaide Advertiser

“Jessie Cole’s debut novel Darkness on the Edge of Town is on another level of storytelling altogether … It’s exquisite writing. Graceful, revealing, pitch perfect. Cole is an author who pays sharp attention to the world around her. And she deserves to have the world pay her some attention in return.” Australian