New Australian Fiction shortlist spotlight: Born Into This by Adam Thompson

Born Into This is one of the six books shortlisted for this year’s Readings New Australian Fiction Prize. An engaging short story collection from a new and exciting voice, this collection has a cohesion that will render readers truly affected by the final page.

Our 2021 judges found this to be an extremely compelling work, commenting: ‘As an examination of masculinity, a showcase of life as a First Nations person in a specific time and place, and a reminder of what we are losing and have lost, both in the natural world and culturally, these tales are a triumph. While they might start off feeling self-contained, by the end the message is loud and clear — and it is certainly not one to be missed.’ Staff reviewer Stella Charls also said of the novel: ‘This remarkable debut crackles with wit, swagger and rage — as entertaining and affecting as it is thought-provoking — and assuredly introduces Aboriginal (pakana) writer Adam Thompson as a fresh new voice to follow in the Australian fiction landscape.’ You can read her full review here.

We asked author Adam Thompson about writing inspiration, advice, and what he hopes readers may take away from his book.


What was the initial inspiration for this story?

My stories were inspired by my life in the pakana (Tasmanian Aboriginal) community: the work that I have done on country as a ranger, political activism, and working in community services. As the collection came together, I began to see how my work could potentially influence the readers thinking towards Aboriginal people, our heritage and our land. Perhaps I could make a difference.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope people will be entertained by my book. People read fiction for pleasure and stimulation. I hope I have achieved that. Some of the themes are pretty heavy, so the stories had to be compelling enough to get the readers to the other side. I want people to feel like they have walked in our (pakana people’s) shoes and visited those locations - such as the islands – that they will probably never physically get to.

What has been the best writing advice you’ve received?

I am lucky enough to have had two really great mentors and have been given some brilliant advice. Some particularly good advice was to value my voice and don’t compare myself to other writers. Another good piece of advice was that the publishing industry in Australia is relatively small and everybody talks – so don’t piss people off or be known to miss deadlines. But I think I have perhaps failed at that one. Lol.

You can read more about the 2021 Readings New Fiction Prize shortlist here. We’ll be announcing the winner on Monday 8 November.

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Born Into This

Born Into This

Adam Thompson

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