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Nicole Hayes

Author, Broadcaster

Award winning author Nicole Hayes’s debut, The Whole of My World, was the first novel about AFL to feature a female main character, and the first written by a woman. It was longlisted for the Gold Inky Award, and shortlisted for the YABBA and KOALA awards. Her second novel, One True Thing, won the Children’s Peace Literature Award, is a 2016 CBCA Notable Book for Older Readers, and was shortlisted for the 2016 WA Premier’s Literary Award.

Most recently she co-edited an anthology of writing, From the Outer: Footy Like You’ve Never Heard It, with Alicia Sometimes, both of whom form part of the groundbreaking all-female footy podcast, The Outer Sanctum, which was instrumental in bringing light to the Eddie McGuire / Caroline Wilson controversy in 2016.

Alicia and Nicole are also collaborating on a kids’ guide to the new women’s AFL competition, A Footy Girls’ Guide to the Stars of 2017, and Hayes’s third young adult novel, A Shadow’s Breath, will be published by Penguin Random House in 2017. She is an Ambassador for the Stella Prize Schools Program and runs writing workshops for schools and organisations around Australia and regularly speaks about writing, storytelling, sport, politics and gender issues. She has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and a BA in Politics and Media Studies.

Where were you born?

I was born in Melbourne but spent more than a decade living in various countries around the world, including the UK, France, and Japan, and then Hawaii for three years after I met my American (military) husband. We moved back to Australia before our kids were born, and found our way back to Melbourne as soon as the US government allowed it.

What other jobs have you had?

I’ve worked as an English conversation teacher in Japan, a journalist and publishing assistant in Hawaii, an editor and communications specialist in Canberra, and a writing teacher in Melbourne. As a backpacker in Europe, I took virtually any job that presented itself.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Feminism, family, friendship, footy, politics, grief, and forgiveness, as well as the power of creativity in aiding wellbeing. In particular, I write stories about girls and women making their way in worlds or spaces where they’re not ordinarily welcome.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Being involved in The Outer Sanctum podcast which has helped drive the national conversation around women and sport. Winning the following awards: Children’s Peace Literature Award (2015), CBCA Notable Book 2016, Varuna/Hodder Headline Manuscript Award (YA), Varuna Manuscript Award (Adult fiction), New Feature Film Writers Award (Film Victoria), and shortlisting in the WA Premier’s Literary Awards (2016), YABBA Award (2014), and long-lasting in the Gold Inky Award (2014) for my Young Adult novels.

Where have your works been published?

Apart from my two YA novels, One True Thing and The Whole of My World (Random House), with a third coming out in 2017, (A Shadow’s Breath) as well as co-editing an anthology of footy stories (From the Outer: Footy Like You’ve Never Heard It) I’ve also co-written a children’s book about women’s football called A Footy Girl’s Guide to the Stars of 2017. Both books are collaborations with Alicia Sometimes and published by Black Inc. I’ve had feature articles published by Griffith Review, The Guardian, The Wheeler Centre, Writers Victoria, Newswrite, Mamamia, and Newtown Review of Books, among others.

What are you passionate about?

Stories! All stories, in whatever form they need to be told. As a woman and the mother of two daughters, I’m particularly passionate about stories for and about girls.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Recently, I’ve spoken at Melbourne Writers Festival, Emerging Writers Festival, Willy Lit Festival, Somerset Literary Festival, Carey Literary Festival, Word for Word, as well as various media appearances including Fox TV’s AFL 360, and ABC Radio 774 and Radio National.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I have a Master of Arts in Communications (Creative Writing) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Media Studies.


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