Yes, Jesse Blackadder really was born with that surname. When she'd finally had enough of people asking if she was related to Rowan Atkinson, she traveled to Scotland to find the origins of her surname and discovered the ruins of Blackadder House on the banks of the Blackadder River. Her novel The Raven's Heart grew from there. It won the prestigious Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Award in Australia and was published there in 2011.
An award winning novelist, short story writer and freelance journalist, Jesse is fascinated by very cold places, dramatic landscapes and adventurous women. Her first novel was After the Party (Hardie Grant Books 2005), which made the Australian Book Review list of all time favourite Australian novels. She's been a writer in residence in Sitka Alaska, in outback New South Wales and at Byron Bay, and has been a fellow three times at Varuna The Writers' House, Australia's leading residential program for writers.
She won the 2011/12 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship and recently traveled to Antarctica to research her next novel, Chasing the light, about the first women to reach Antarctica. Her essay 'The first woman and the last dog in Antarctica' won the 2012 Guy Morrison Award for Literary Journalism.
Jesse is currently undertaking her Doctor of Creative Arts at the University of Western Sydney. Born in Sydney, she now lives near Byron Bay on Australia's east coast.
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (Australia)
The Island Institute (Sitka, Alaska)
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