AustLit logo
Jennifer Down Jennifer Down i(A138104 works by)
Gender: Female
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Jennifer Down has studied Arts at Melbourne University and Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT, and worked as a writer, editor, and translator. Named a Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year in 2017, she has been the recipient of artist residencies and fellowships at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Vermont Studio Center, and Can Serrat.

Her first novel, Our Magic Hour (2016), was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award for New Writing and highly commended in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Her second book, the short-story collection Pulse Points, was shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction (NSW Premier's Literary Awards).

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Bodies of Light Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2021 21962879 2021 single work novel

'Jennifer Down cements her status as a leading light of Australian literary fiction in this heart-rending and intimate saga of one woman's turbulent life

'So by the grace of a photograph that had inexplicably gone viral, Tony had found me. Or—he'd found Maggie.

'I had no way of knowing whether he was nuts or not; whether he might go to the cops. Maybe that sounds paranoid, but I don't think it's so ridiculous. People have gone to prison for much lesser things than accusations of child-killing.

'A quiet, small-town existence. An unexpected Facebook message, jolting her back to the past. A history she's reluctant to revisit- dark memories and unspoken trauma, bruised thighs and warning knocks on bedroom walls, unfathomable loss.

'She became a new person a long time ago. What happens when buried stories are dragged into the light?

'This epic novel from the two-time Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year is a masterwork of tragedy and heartbreak-the story of a life in full. Sublimely wrought in devastating detail, Bodies of Light confirms Jennifer Down as one of the writers defining her generation.' (Publication summary)

2022 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards The Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction
y separately published work icon Pulse Points : Stories Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 11679894 2017 selected work short story

'The characters in Jennifer Down’s Pulse Points live in small dusty towns, glittering exotic cities and slow droll suburbs; they are mourners, survivors and perpetrators. 

'In the award-winning ‘Aokigahara’, a young woman travels to the sea of trees in Japan to say goodbye. In ‘Coarsegold’, a woman conducts an illicit affair while her recovering girlfriend works the overnight motel shift in the middle of nowhere. In ‘Dogs’, Foggo runs an unruly gang of bored, cruel boys with a scent for fresh meat. In ‘Pressure Okay’ a middle-aged man goes to the theatre, gets a massage, remembers his departed wife, navigates the long game of grief with his adult daughter.' (Publication Summary)

2018 winner Queensland Literary Awards Australian Short Story Collection - Steele Rudd Award
2018 winner Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction
2018 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
y separately published work icon Our Magic Hour Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2016 9200478 2016 single work novel

'All night Audrey woke again and again, and every so often Nick would be awake, too, and their bodies would shift into new shapes, and once Nick reached for her as if in a panic, and once Audrey thumped to the kitchen half-awake and stuck her head under the tap to drink, and once she turned over to face Nick, who was open-eyed, and they began to kiss in a dream, bodies just coming to, and she saw the dull shadows from the streetlights pass over his face as he came, and he covered her body with his and she felt his breath in her hair, and they held each other, and the whole time they never said a thing.

'Audrey, Katy and Adam have been friends since high school—a decade of sneaky cigarettes, drunken misadventures on Melbourne backstreets, heart-to-hearts, in-jokes.

'But now Katy has gone. And without her, Audrey is thrown off balance: everything she thought she knew, everything she believed was true, is bent out of shape.

Audrey’s family—her neurotic mother, her wayward teenage brother, her uptight suburban sister—are likely to fall apart. Her boyfriend, Nick, tries to hold their relationship together. And Audrey, caught in the middle, needs to find a reason to keep going when everything around her suddenly seems wrong.

'Evocative and exquisitely written, Our Magic Hour is a story of love, loss and discovery. Jennifer Down’s remarkable debut novel captures that moment when being young and invincible gives way to being open and vulnerable, when one terrible act changes a life forever.' (Publication summary)

2018 longlisted Kibble Literary Awards Nita May Dobbie Award
2017 shortlisted Voss Literary Prize
2017 joint winner The Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist of the Year
2017 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Glenda Adams Award for New Writing
2017 highly commended Victorian Premier's Literary Awards The Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction
2014 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript by an Emerging Victorian Writer
Last amended 15 Jul 2020 07:50:14
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: