Tara June Winch was born in Wollongong in 1983. She is of Wiradjuri, Afghan, and English heritage. At 17, Winch left home to travel across Australia; she continued on to India before spending six months at a Buddhist centre in Scotland. Back in Australia three years later, she settled in Brisbane.
She studied for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Wollongong. The manuscript for her first book won the David Unaipon Award in 2004, and was published the following year by UQP. In 2007 the Literature Board of the Australia Council funded Winch to undertake a two month residency during 2008 at Ledig House Writers' Colony, Omi, New York. She was also chosen for the 2008-2009 Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative in which she was partnered with Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka. Winch is an ambassador for the Australia Council's Indigenous Literacy Project and is an advocate for human rights. She is also passionate about women's and children's rights to education and advocates through OneThousandOrg.
Winch's first work -- Swallow the Air (2003), a collection of interconnected short stories -- has been on the HSC curriculum for Standard and Advanced English since 2009. Her writing has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Griffith Review, the Bulletin, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and Manoa. She has also written for VOGUE, McSweeneys, VICE, and meagre sums.
In 2016, after a long period of publishing in magazines and periodicals, Winch published her second collection, After the Carnage (originally titled A Year of Impossible Margins).
'Ten years after the much-acclaimed Swallow the Air, Tara June Winch returns with an extraordinary new collection of stories'
'A single mother resorts to extreme measures to protect her young son. A Nigerian student undertakes a United Nations internship in the hope of a better future. A recently divorced man starts a running group with members of an online forum for recovering addicts. '
'Ranging from New York to Istanbul, from Pakistan to Australia, these unforgettable stories chart the distances in their characters’ lives – whether they have grown apart from the ones they love, been displaced from their homeland, or are struggling to reconcile their dreams with reality. A collection of prodigious depth and variety, After the Carnage marks the impressive evolution of one of our finest young writers.' (Source: Publisher's website)
Swallow the Air follows the life of 15-year-old May Gibson, an Aboriginal girl from New South Wales whose mother commits suicide. May and her brother go to live with their aunt, but eventually May travels further afield, first to Redfern's Block in Sydney, then to the Northern Territory, and finally into central New South Wales. She travels to escape, but also in pursuit of a sense of her own history, family, and identity.