Sign up to receive our regular news and events announcements – we send about one newsletter per month.

Open Right

Steven Amsterdam


Steven Amsterdam has been writing for decades, producing everything from speeches for the Tokyo Auto Show to little artsy dance reviews in free weeklies. His most recent book, The Easy Way Out (Hachette, 07/16) has just been long-listed for the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award. What the Family Needed (Sleepers, 11/2011) was chosen as a Great Read by Women’s Weekly and called “exhilarating” by The Australian and “strange and marvelous territory” by The Monthly. His first book, Things We Didn’t See Coming won The Age Book of the Year, was long-listed for The Guardian First Book Award, and has been printed to acclaim in the US and the UK this year, with French and Dutch editions. It has been selected for the VCE reading list for 2011 and 2012. He works as a palliative care nurse on some days and works on his next book on other days.

Where were you born?

New York City, but have lived in Chicago, Tokyo, Lost Angeles, San Francisco, Washington Island (it’s in the middle of Lake Michigan) and Melbourne.

What other jobs have you had?

Pastry chef, psychiatric nurse, marriage celebrant, map editor, graphic designer, and “Speak English” host in a bar in Tokyo. There are more.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Strange and supernatural things keep coming up, but human behaviour interests me most of all.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Winning The Age Book of the Year for my first book. My advice to anyone nominated for an award like that is don’t be superstitious like me and arrive at the event without a speech prepared. There are so many things I still want to say.

Where have your works been published?

The Age, Best Australian Stories 2001-2010, Five Chapters, Meanjin, The Monthly, Monument, Overland, Sleepers Almanac and Torpedo.

Enquire about booking Steven Amsterdam

Find A Speaker