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The Competition

Frances quite honestly isn’t that excited about the SpeechMakers annual national conference and public-speaking competition. What she’s excited about (relatively speaking) is that this year there’s a major prize. Frances has a few small problems and forty thousand dollars would go a long way to sorting them out.

Keith is Frances’s probably-ex-mentor, it’s hard to tell since she’s not talking to him, and he disapproves of the prize money. He thinks SpeechMakers should be about self-improvement, not self-enrichment. He wants to win the competition, though. He thinks it might help the situation with his wife Linda.

Neil doesn’t care about the competition at all but Judy, his mother and coach, does, so.

And Rebecca…

Actually, what the hell is Rebecca doing here? Rebecca belongs to Frances’s past, not her present. And certainly not her (hopefully) less-disastrous future.

Katherine Collette, author of the hilarious The Helpline, returns with another sharply observed comedy of manners and a cast of loveable underachievers, headed for self-improvement despite themselves.

Katherine Collette talks about The Competition


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Katherine Collette
About the Author

Katherine Collette is a novelist, podcaster and engineer living in Melbourne with her husband and two children. Her debut novel, The Helpline, was published in the US, UK, Germany and Italy. She also co-host books podcast The First Time.

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Text publication date:
1 February 2022
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Praise for Katherine Collette
andThe Competition

‘A book centred around a collection of endearing but socially challenged misfits who need to let go of their less-than-perfect pasts in order to take control of their lives. Inspired by the author’s real-life experiences in Toastmasters, The Competition tells an amusing tale of ambition, friendship and redemption, with just a touch of romance. It will appeal to fans of heartfelt easy-reading books with quirky characters such as those by Graeme Simsion and Toni Jordan.’

‘A fun read, full of unique characters.’

‘The character of Germaine, endearing but far from cutesy, is the great triumph of this accomplished debut.’

The Helpline is populated with prickly women who are often terse or unkind to the people around them. And it’s wonderful.’

‘Colette’s writing is funny, propulsive and smart. She continues the compelling comedic flair of her debut, The Helpline, which also saw a complicated, “oddball” heroine portrayed in a nuanced, sensitive manner. She has been involved heavily in Toastmasters in the past – this real-life experience comes through in her storytelling – and as a reader, her evocative depictions of the cut-throat world of competitive speech-making is delightfully welcome at a time when indoor gatherings still seem like a fantasy.’

‘Katherine Collette is back in fine form with The Competition, proving (in case anyone was in any doubt) that she is a skilled master of the light-hearted comedy – drawing you in, keeping you laughing, compelling you to feel emotionally invested in this quirky cast of characters…This is one I’d happily press into the hands of everyone who came into the shop, so go grab your towel, head down to the beach, and settle in with a new favourite book.’

‘I definitely recommend it as a perfect balm for these weird times. It was a lot of fun to get drawn into the world of SpeechMakers. As with Collette’s first novel The Helpline, this has a cast of eccentric oddballs and insight into the inner workings of an organisation I hadn’t previously given much thought.’

‘Warm, very funny…A lovely read.’

‘It’s rare to discover a book that is hilarious, well-written AND contains a compelling message, but Katherine Collette has done it again in her second novel The Competition (Text Publishing 2022), a funny, tender, vulnerable and thoughtful story about a young woman who must voice her thoughts to others in order to speak to herself.’

‘(A) gently comedic novel narrated by a pair of socially awkward but endearing protagonists.’

‘Katherine Collette’s debut, The Helpline, was one of the most delightful novels I’d read in years. So, I was thrilled to pick up her latest, The Competition. It’s another sharp, insightful Australian comedy with an unlikely rag-tag cast…This is the feel-good redemption story of the summer.’

‘Charming and darkly, vibrantly funny…The Competition tells its wholly engaging story with wit, honesty and head-tilting mischievousness.’

’This book is so funny and also heart-warming and moving…It’s just really, really good.’

‘A super smart, funny, nuanced, hopeful story about beautifully flawed humans finding their voices. A total delight, just like her debut The Helpline.’

‘What distinguishes The Competition is that, among the dry humour and deft plot twists, there are some compelling questions raised about ordinary and often ugly human behaviour.’

Other editions ofThe Competition
  • The Competition
    ISBN: 9781925774832
    1 February 2022
    Buy ebook
Other Titles byKatherine Collette