Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2019 Shortlist

Jessie Cole’s Staying: A Memoir has made the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards shortlist in the Non-Fiction category.


Read the judges’ report.

Shortlisted titles are:


No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Behrouz Boochani, Picador)
Staying: A Memoir (Jessie Cole, Text)
The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire (Chloe Hooper, Hamish Hamilton)
Eggshell Skull (Bri Lee, A&U)
Miss Ex-Yugoslavia (Sofija Stefanovic, Viking)
Axiomatic (Maria Tumarkin, Brow Books)

For more information, go to the Wheeler Centre.


Word for Word – National Non-fiction Festival, 16th – 18th November


Jessie will be appearing in Geelong.

18 Nov 2018

1:00 pm- 2:00pm

Inspiration Space, Level Two
Geelong Library & Heritage Centre

Jessie Cole and Rick Morton – Despite the Dark

In this harrowing, down-to-earth discussion, critically acclaimed author Jessie Cole, and social affairs reporter Rick Morton dissect and discuss the memoir genre with author and memoirist Jo Case and explore the strength of family in times of trauma, and the uplifting power of the written word.

Buy Tickets

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival – 24th – 28th October 2018


Small Towns, Big Imagination

25th October: 2:30 – 3:30

Taman Baca. Festival Hub, Jl. Raya Sanggingan

Is there something universal about small towns and rural life? A lack of anonymity, a close community? Does it allow writers to go places that cities don’t? We’ve gathered writers from Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Portugal to discuss the insights and inspiration that come from writing beyond city limits. With Rosemarie Milsom, Jose Luis Peixoto, Joshua Pomare, Jessie Cole and Darmawati Majid.

The Big Read: Journeys

26th October: 1.00 – 2.15

Taman Baca. Festival Hub, Jl. Raya Sanggingan

It’s one of life’s pleasures: having someone read to you. Let your imagination wander with some of UWRF’s finest storytellers as they share tales of adventure, stories of discovery and journeys of the heart. Grab a tasty bite from our food stalls, put your feet up, and let our scribes take care of the rest. With Agustinus Wibowo, Will Buckingham, Jose Luis Peixoto, Carlo Pizzati, Jessie Cole, Jay Griffiths and Geoff Dyer.

Intimate Instincts

27th October: 10.15 – 11.30
Indus. Festival Hub, Jl. Raya Sanggingan
Sometimes the smallest details tell us the most. In their moving and memorable books, these writers draw on intimate interactions of ordinary families in extraordinary circumstances. They share the craft of writing that is based in truth, the necessity of going to dark places, and the magic of the cracks where the light gets in. With Rosemarie Milsom, Julia Prendergast, Jessie Cole and Gabriela Ybarra

Tamar Valley Writers Festival

TVWF logo


Jessie will be appearing in:


Learning to Fly: Emerging Authors

Sat. 15 Sep, 2018 10:45am – 11:45am AEST

Cheryl Akle, Louise Allan, Jessie Cole, Adam Thompson


Who decides? Ending Life or Ending Suffering

Sun. 16 Sep, 2018 10:45am – 11:45am AEST

Ending Life or Ending Suffering – Julian Burnside, Dr Terry Hannan, Dr Charlie Corke, Jessie Cole


Buy Tickets.

Melbourne Writers Festival


Jessie will be appearing in:

A Tribute to Childhood

Sat 1 Sep, 4pm
Mission to Seafarers Chapel

To my childhood: goodbye. Author of the memoir Staying, Jessie Cole, South Sudanese refugee Majok Tulba, former child actor Mara Wilson and transgender activist Nevo Zisin celebrate, lament and mourn their youth as they turn towards the future.

This session contains content related to death and self-harm, mental illness and homophobia.

Jessie Cole: Staying

Sun 2 Sep, 4pm
ACMI Studio 1

How do we recover from loss? Jessie Cole discusses her heartbreaking memoir Staying, a book that Tim Winton describes as “wounded, lovely, luminous”, and shares how, through writing, she found peace in a place of pain. With Maria Tumarkin.

This session contains content related to death, self-harm and mental illness

Closing Night Party: You Are There

Sun 2 Sep, 7pm
Melbourne Museum

The final night of MWF celebrates what it means to let go, as six writers pay tribute to something or someone loved and lost in a night of ritual, healing and farewell. Featuring readings from Ali Cobby Eckermann, Jessie Cole, Sophie Cunningham, Kate Holden, Mariam Issa and Maria Tumarkin; a full musical performance by the soaringly beautiful Megan Washington. Hosted by Rafeif Ismail.

Doors and bar open 7pm. 2 hour event followed by party till late

Buy tickets.

WAM – Write Around The Murray

WAM web_banner

Jessie will be appearing in:

Self in the Story

When: Saturday 8 September, 1pm – 2.15pm

Where: LibraryMuseum, Corner of Kiewa and Swift Streets, Albury

Price: $5.00

To what degree is the author present in their fiction or the biographer present in stories of others? Is the self as revealed in memoir any truer than the self that might emerge in other forms of writing? Caroline Baum, Jessie Cole and Robert Hillman get introspective about the ways they see themselves reflected in their various writings.

Finding Words

When: Sunday 9 September, 12pm – 1.15pm

Where: LibraryMuseum, Corner of Kiewa and Swift Streets, Albury

Price: $5.00

Caroline Baum and Jessie Cole’s memoirs recount childhoods that couldn’t be more different. Jessie’s free-range upbringing in the hinterlands of northern NSW contrasts Caroline’s worldly and privileged, if tightly controlled, childhood in England. Both were unconventional, neither idyllic. They talk to Ailsa Piper about family, forgiveness and the importance of writing to understanding their lives and losses.

To book now.

Byron Writers Festival — 3 – 5 August


Byron Writers Festival 2018 features a stellar line-up of more than 140 writers and thinkers spanning a mix of genres including music, art, environment, philosophy, health, politics, human rights and of course memoir and fiction.

Check out the full program.

Buy tickets.

Jessie will be appearing at:

Living Wild

Friday, August 3

10am – 11am, Yellow Brick Road Pavilion

Jessie Cole, Miriam Lancewood & Gregory Smith

Chair: Nathan Scolaro


Making the Beast Beautiful

Friday, August 3

4pm – 5pm, Yellow Brick Road Pavilion

Jessie Cole, Dervla McTiernan & Sarah Wilson

Chair: Sarah Krasnostein


Shaping Life into a Story

Saturday, August 4

12.15pm – 1.15pm, The Saturday Paper Marquee

Jessie Cole, Bri Lee & Gregory Smith

Chair: Zacharey Jane


First Open a Vein: Writing Through Personal Pain

Sunday, August 5

1.45pm – 2.45pm, The Saturday Paper Marquee

Jessie Cole, Walter Mikac & Hannah Richell

Chair: Jesse Blackadder


Mudgee Readers’ Festival — 10th – 12th August.


Stories in the Landscape

Saturday 11 August, 12:00pm–1:00pm at Town Hall Theatre

All hailing from different parts of the country, Inga Simpson, Jessie Cole and Paul Collis discuss their connections to their environment and how the landscape informs their work. Hosted by environmental writer and novelist Jane Rawson.

$12 – book ticket.


MRF Book Club: Staying

Sunday 12 August, 11:15am–12:15pm, The Coffee House at Parkview

Jessie Cole’s heartbreaking memoir Staying asks what happens to those who are left behind when someone takes their own life. It’s about the importance of home, family and forgiveness—and finding peace in a place of pain. Join the critically acclaimed author of Darkness on the Edge of Town and Deeper Water and host Julia Tsalis for an intimate discussion.

Free, RSVP essential.

Woollahra Library – Writers & Readers, 10th July

Staying cover_final_TW

Tuesday 10 July 2018, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Join Jessie Cole to hear from her heartbreaking memoir as she asks what happens to those who are left behind when someone takes their own life, the importance of home, family and forgiveness – and finding peace in a place of pain.

Woollahra Library, 451 New South Head Road, Double Bay

Get tickets for Jessie Cole at Woollahra Library.


High Tea with Jessie Cole – Better Read Than Dead, 7th July

Staying cover_final_TW

Better Read Than Dead – Saturday, July 7

3pm – 4.30pm

What if the thing in your past is so big that to avoid talking about it you’d have to move far away, but you loved your home so much you couldn’t leave?

Staying is a searing memoir by acclaimed novelist Jessie Cole, about surviving personal tragedy and finding a place to heal. Her highly praised novels, Darkness on the Edge of Town and Deeper Water, explore similar themes, but it is this, her own powerful story filled with profound wisdom and redemptive beauty, that she has been longing to write.


Join Jessie Cole for a conversation about Staying, over a high tea of sweets, scones, sandwiches and champagne.

Better Read Than Dead – 265 King Street, Newtown, NSW.

Get tickets from Better Read Than Dead.


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