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Acclaimed author to visit Aireys bookshop

August 2, 2022 BY

When not writing, James Mckenzie Watson works as a nurse in regional NSW. Photo: SUPPLIED

GREAT Escape Books in Aireys Inlet will host the author of acclaimed novel Denizen, James McKenzie Watson, next week in their first event of the year.

McKenzie Watson won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize for his debut novel, which was also awarded a 2021 Varuna Residential Fellowship and a 2021 KSP Residential Fellowship.

A gothic thriller, Denizen explores the simultaneous celebration in rural Australia of harsh country and stoic people.

Penguin, which published the novel last month, describes it as “one part literary thriller, another part psychological study, blended powerfully and uncompromisingly”.

McKenzie Watson, who works as a nurse in regional New South Wales, was highly commended in the 2020 Writing NSW Varuna Fellowships and shortlisted for the 2017 Kingdom of Ironfest prize.

His short stories have been recognised in competitions including the International InkTears Flash Fiction Contest, the Newcastle Short Story Award and the Grieve Writing Competition, and featured in publications such as Baby Teeth Journal and Brave Voices Magazine.

He contributes regularly to the Newtown Review of Books, and co-hosts the fortnightly writing and health podcast James and Ashley Stay at Home with author Ashley Kalagian Blunt.

This year marks the fifth awarding of the Penguin Literary Prize, which was launched to find, nurture and develop new Australian authors of literary fiction.

McKenzie Watson will be in conversation at Great Escape Books with fellow author R.W.R. (Rob) McDonald.

McDonald’s debut novel The Nancys won Best First Novel in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards, as well as being a finalist in the Best Novel category. It was shortlisted for Best First Novel in the 2020 Ned Kelly Awards, and Highly Commended for an Unpublished Manuscript in the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Nancy Business, his second novel, was published in June 2021 and has been longlisted in the 2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best Novel.

The event will be held in the bookshop at 2/75 Great Ocean Road, Aireys Inlet, on Friday, August 5 from 7-8.30pm, with complimentary wine and champagne.

Bookings are $8 and are fully redeemable against any book purchases on the night – all of McKenzie Watson and McDonald’s books will be available for signing and purchase.

To book, head to greatescapebooks.com.au or phone 5289 7052.