In 2002, for the first time ever, the same manuscript was shortlisted for both The Australian/Vogel Literary Award and the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Emerging Author – Australia’s two major prizes for unpublished manuscripts. The manuscript was Nerida Newton’s The Lambing Flat. It went on to win the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award, and was later shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ award for best first book. In 2004, The Sydney Morning Herald named Nerida as one of the country’s best young novelists.
Nerida Newton was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1972. After almost a decade of living and travelling overseas, Nerida returned to Brisbane where, during a masters degree in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland, she wrote The Lambing Flat, an historical novel which addresses feelings of displacement and themes of migration, isolation and survival.
This novel was followed up by Death of a Whaler, a story set on the east coast of Australia, in the Byron Bay region, in the 1960s and 1970s – a decade that encompassed the demise of the whaling industry and the establishment of an eco-aware, alternative lifestyle culture. Through the history of the region and the lives of the characters, the novel deals with issues of death, grief, rebirth and reawakening. The Bulletin has called this book a modern-day Australian classic.
Nerida’s next novel is set across WWII Germany and modern-day Australia and Paris, and is due for completion in 2012.
Nerida presently lives in Brisbane with her partner and children.