James McKenzie Watson writes fiction with a focus on health and rural Australia. His novel Denizen won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize and was shortlisted in the 2023 Ned Kelly Awards for Best Debut. Denizen also received a 2021 Varuna Residential Fellowship and a 2021 KSP Residential Fellowship.
James has written for The Guardian, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings and the Newtown Review of Books. He has appeared at events including the Sydney Writers Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival and BAD Crime Sydney. He co-hosts the writing and health podcast James and Ashley Stay at Home and works as a nurse.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2023 NED KELLY AWARDS - BEST DEBUT
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 AUSTRALIAN SHADOWS AWARDS - BEST NOVEL
One of the best novels by an Australian author in recent times.
Quite simply a masterpiece.
Lyn Yeowart, author of The Silent Listener
This book absolutely blew me away. A must-read.
Sally Hepworth, author of The Soulmate and The Good Sister
This is a not-to-be-missed reading experience.
Hayley Scrivenor, author of Dirt Town
A gothic thriller exploring rural Australia’s simultaneous celebration of harsh country and stoic people – a tension that forces its inhabitants to dangerous breaking points.
On a remote property in western NSW, nine-year-old Parker fears that something is wrong with his brain. His desperate attempts to control this internal chaos spark a series of events that gallop from his control in deadly and devastating ways.
Years later, Parker, now a father himself, returns to the bushland he grew up in for a camping trip with old friends. When this reunion descends into chaos amid revelations of unresolved fear, guilt and violence, Parker must finally address the consequences of his childhood actions.