James McKenzie Watson writes fiction with a focus on health and rural Australia. His novel Denizen won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize and was published by Penguin Random House in 2022. Denizen also received a 2021 Varuna Residential Fellowship and a 2021 KSP Residential Fellowship.
James' short stories have been recognised in Australian and international competitions. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings and the Newtown Review of Books. James co-hosts the writing and health podcast James and Ashley Stay at Home with author Ashley Kalagian Blunt and works as a nurse in regional New South Wales.
One of the best Australian novels I've ever read.
Lee Kofman, author of The Dangerous Bride and The Writer Laid Bare
Quite simply a masterpiece.
Lyn Yeowart, author of The Silent Listener
I can’t remember the last time a book rocked me to my core like Denizen did.
Michelle Tom, author of Ten Thousand Aftershocks
Denizen is a novel everyone will be talking about.
Simon McDonald, PRH ABA Young Bookseller of the Year
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.
Available now from Penguin Random House as a paperback, eBook and audiobook.