Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in Northern NSW, 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 much critical acclaim, with Portia Lindsay calling it a ‘fine and elegantly written novel’ in the Weekend Australian, and Naama Amram stating – ‘Deeper Water delivers on its title’s promise of immersion, sensuality, and the liminal … a compelling examination of our relationship with nature’ in the ABR.
Her work has also appeared in many Australian publications, including Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Island Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Good Weekend, Big Issue and the Guardian.
Jessie’s memoir, Staying, was released by TEXT in 2018, and has been shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction & longlisted the Colin Roderick Award.
‘A wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing potential of words.’ Tim Winton
‘A work of shining brilliance.’ Romy Ash
‘Staying aches and pulses with life … Cole is a writer of immense talent.’ Anna Krien
‘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
‘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
‘This touching memoir from Australian author Jessie Cole, whose childhood was irrevocably changed when her sister committed suicide, offers a rare personal take on unthinkable tragedy.’ Elle
‘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
‘Staying is a well-written, extremely moving memoir that steers resolutely clear of stereotypes and self-pity … For all the darkness, there is light too. Cole is a gifted writer with a sensual turn of phrase, and her exploration of the reverberating effects of suicide is both illuminating and absorbing. It will appeal to readers who loved her previous novels.’ Books+Publishing
‘This is a tender book about family, loss and trauma, and it deserves a wide readership.’ Readings Magazine