About the Author

Katherine Johnson AuthorTasmanian writer Katherine Johnson’s third novel, Matryoshka or Russian dolls (Ventura Press 2018), is a story of secrets, refuge and loves lost and found. Her previous novels include The Better Son (Ventura Press 2016), set in northern Tasmania’s caves, and Pescador’s Wake (Fourth Estate 2009), the story of the danger and heartbreak of lives at the mercy of the sea during a three-week Southern Ocean chase. Katherine’s fourth novel, Paris Savages, is due October 2019.

Katherine is the recipient of The University of Tasmania Prize and the People’s Choice Award (Tasmanian Literary Prizes) and HarperCollins Varuna Awards. The Better Son was longlisted for the Australian Indie Book Awards 2017 and the Tasmania Book Prize (Premier’s  Literary Prizes 2017).

As well as writing fiction, Katherine is a science journalist. She has worked for various agencies including the CSIRO and the Center for International Forestry Research. Her feature articles have appeared in publications including the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine (Wild Medicine), the World Wildlife Fund-endorsed publication Living Planet, Ecos, Australasian Geo and Australasian Science. Katherine has travelled in Africa, Indonesia, Europe, Canada, China and Alaska. She lives on a cliff top overlooking the sea with her husband and two children, and is a PhD candidate (creative writing) at the University of Tasmania.

Invited speaker festivals/conferences

  • Leading Edge Booksellers’ conference: Discover New and Diverse Voices session (Adelaide) 2019
  • International Australian Studies Association conference: Unsettling Australia (University of Queensland, Brisbane) 2018
  • International Australian Studies Association panel at the Australia in a Changing World conference (Beijing) 2018
  • One Title One Townsville 2018
  • Sydney Writers’ Festival (Varuna) 2009/2017
  • Great Writing (Imperial College, London) 2016
  • Tamar Valley Writers’ Festival 2016/18
  • Tasmanian Writers’ Festival 2013
  • Sounding the Earth Conference (Launceston, Tasmania) 2010
  • Eltham New Voices Festival 2009
Bookshop and library events

Fullers Bookshop (Hobart), Riverbend Bookshop (Brisbane), Petrarch’s Bookshop (Launceston, in assoc with National Book Council Tasmania), Mary Who? (Townsville, in assoc with Townsville Libraries and One Title One Townsville), The Bookshop at Queenscliff (in assoc with Rural Australians for Refugees), State Cinema Bookshop (Hobart), Hobart State Library, Kingston Library (Tas), Townsville Library, Gold Coast Library. Various signings nationally.

Awards
  • Longlisted Indie Book Awards 2017 (for The Better Son)
  • Longlisted The Tasmania Book Prize, Premier’s Literary Prizes 2017 (for The Better Son)
  • HarperCollins Varuna Award for Manuscript Development in 2013
    (for The Better Son under the working title Kubla)
  • University of Tasmania Prize 2013 – Tasmanian Literary Awards 2013
    (for The Better Son under the working title Kubla)
  • People’s Choice Award 2013 – Tasmanian Literary Awards 2013
    (for The Better Son under the working title Kubla)
  • HarperCollins Varuna Award for Manuscript Development in 2007
    (for Pescador’s Wake, Fourth Estate 2009)
  • Photojournalist of the Year Award, University of Queensland 1992
Supported by

Pescador’s Wake and The Better Son were assisted by Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts. Matryoshka was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory board; the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and Tasmanian Regional Arts through the Commonwealth Government’s Regional Arts Fund; and Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts.

‘From the first pages, this debut novel stands out for its subject matter: deep-sea fishery …The novel balances the sea story and the artistic novel; a different novelist would have swashbuckled, or made more of the crime suspense. Johnson instead draws lives, ordinary people drawn into exceptional circumstance. Like most debuts, it promises much for the next book. Unlike most debuts, it is ambitious and unusual.’ The Sunday Age ‘M’ Supplement, Jan 18, 2009.

‘From the first pages, this debut novel stands out for its subject matter: deep-sea fishery …The novel balances the sea story and the artistic novel; a different novelist would have swashbuckled, or made more of the crime suspense. Johnson instead draws lives, ordinary people drawn into exceptional circumstance. Like most debuts, it promises much for the next book. Unlike most debuts, it is ambitious and unusual.’ The Sunday Age ‘M’ Supplement, Jan 18, 2009.

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