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John Morrissey

  • awardWinner, Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists, 2024
  • awardWinner, Best Collection, Aurealis Awards, 2023
  • awardShortlisted, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, Fiction, 2024
  • awardShortlisted, Indigenous Writers’ Prize, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, 2024
  • awardShortlisted, UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, 2024
  • An imprisoned man with strange visions writes letters to his sister.

    A controversial business tycoon leaves his daughter a mysterious inheritance.

    A child is haunted by a green man with a message about the origins of their planet.

    In this striking collection of stories, the award-winning John Morrissey investigates colonialism and identity without ever losing sight of his characters’ humanity. Brilliantly imagined and masterfully observed, Firelight marks the debut of a writer we will be reading for decades to come.


    3RRR: Indigenuity (0:11:02)     
    3KnD: Big Brekky
    ABC Listen: The Book Club: Short Stories (0:44:00)      
    Australian Book Review ($)   
    Kill Your Darlings    
    Kill Your Darlings: Show Your Working   
    Readings: Best Australian fiction of 2023    
    Sydney Morning Herald     
    Writing NSW: First Friday (YouTube)    

    John Morrissey
    About the Author

    John Morrissey is a Melbourne writer of Kalkadoon descent. His work has been published in Overland, Voiceworks, Meanjin and the anthology This All Come Back Now. He was the winner of the 2020 Boundless Mentorship and the runner-up for the 2018 Nakata Brophy Prize.

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    1 August 2023
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    Praise for John Morrissey

    ‘An exemplary collection of Indigenous literary speculative fiction. [Firelight] engages with both a sense of wonderment and our innate capacity for compassion, wonderful and abstracted at turns, often simultaneously. Literary spec-fit is a genre to which Aboriginal people seem well suited, for a number of reasons; one of them is that Aboriginal literature is constantly and instinctively engaged with the fantastical. Morrissey’s stories, those of a new writer stretching his mind and experimenting with form, demonstrate that perfectly.’

    ‘Here is a sharp and compelling new voice in Australian fiction. Morrissey honours his characters, and his writing is at once lucid and poetic, meticulous and economical. I read Firelight breathlessly.’

    Firelight introduces us to a young writer with a dedication to the craft of short fiction. Each of John Morrissey’s stories is a gem, while the collection as a whole is superb.’

    ‘Brilliant…This clever, genre-bending book constantly challenges the reader’s expectations…Prisoners, ghosts, strange green men, and mining tycoons populate the pages.’

    ‘A beguiling, evocative delight…I would be happy to recommend this collection to any curious reader—regardless of their usual position as a speculative fiction lover or hater. There’s something about his confident, conversational writing style that allows Morrissey to encase very abnormal events in everyday settings in a way that feels completely believable.’

    ‘John Morrissey has produced a suite of short stories…that investigate colonialism and identity with a keen eye and uninhibited imagination…An elegant and unpretentious narrative style allows Morrissey to reach for outlandish or bizarre elements with the irreducible impact of a lucid dream. It’s a fable-like, and well-crafted collection.’

    Firelight is a mastery of craft. Each piece challenges narratives of colonialism with precision. Stories portray Indigenous characters from inside and outside perspectives—as observers and the observed—with a complexity that adds an incredible richness to the canon of Australian fiction. The writing is vivid and lush…It is a truly talented writer who can produce a collection that is both harrowing and exciting.’

    ‘Morrissey is showing his prowess in working in speculative fiction.’

    Firelight is a highly original and compelling collection. In this debut, Morrissey cleverly uses tropes of familiar genres to explore different facets of contemporary Australian life, particularly the legacy and experience of colonialism.’

    ‘It’s difficult to think of a time in Australia’s recent history where a book of short tales reflecting on ideas of colonialism and the Indigenous experience would hit harder…Brought together with provocative cover art by Aboriginal artist Gordon Hookey, this collection of superbly-written Australiana is unmissable, and couldn’t come at a more significant moment for Australian readers.’

    ‘Exhilarating…Blends and bends genres.’

    Other editions ofFirelight
    • Firelight
      ISBN: 9781922791481
      1 August 2023
      Buy ebook