Career highlights

Julie’s career as a playwright began when she wrote and directed plays in remote Australian Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. She is now a novelist and award-winning poet. Julie is a Burruberongal woman of Darug Aboriginal Nation. She is co-recipient of the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Poetry Prize, 2016 and winner of the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, 2019.

Her fellowships include: Developing Writer’s Fellowship, Australia Council; Asialink Literature Residencies, Indonesia; Tyrone Guthrie Writing Residency, Ireland; Varuna Fellowships; and Australia Council BR Whiting Residency, Rome. She has been recipient of a New Work, Australia Council grant and was guest writer at the 2016, Listowel Writers Festival and Belfast Book Week and the 2019 Georgetown Literary Festival.

Julie self-published two novels before the debut of her critically acclaimed book Benevolence (Magabala Books 2020). Julie has written ten produced plays, including two at Belvoir St Theatre – Black Mary and Gunjies and Two Plays, published by Aboriginal Studies Press 1996.

Agent: Sarah McKenzie at Hindsight Literary Agency

Ph: +61 416035061 

More comments about COMPASSION: 

"I am completely bowled over by the ambition of “Compassion”, including the breadth of research woven through it about those years of colonisation, settlement, of the minutiae of how people lived, and the varied nature of those lives for men and women and people from the various nations, Indian, Chinese, etc. The protagonist Nell James reveals her encounters in relation to others and society, how she is acted upon and acts upon others as a woman of colour, a sexual woman, an outlaw woman who wants to determine her own life but meets the resistance of white society and sometimes Koori, too."

Jane Messer, mentor and author of ‘Hopscotch’.

Julie has appeared as an invited writer at the Newcastle Writers Festival 2023 and 2022 the Berry Writers Festival 2023 and 2022 and the Headland Writers Festival 2023 and 2022. BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival 2023.

Also Adelaide Writers Festival 2021. The Bendigo Writers Festival 2021; Words on the Waves festival on Central Coast NSW 2023 and 2022. 

2023 Currently working on a collection of poems

In 2022 : Julie was a mentor for the TSI Indigenous writer, Lenora Thaker.

Comments about COMPASSION: ‘”Compassion” is a long overdue, beautifully written chronicle of the violence and trauma of Black colonial Australian experience. With an unflinching eye Julie Janson beckons us to follow her magnetic heroine, Nell Duringah, through the terrible but complex Black colonial experiences of mid-19th Century Australia. It is at once harrowing, beautiful, inescapably violent and traumatic - and yet delicately balanced with adventure and unsettling, fabulous, laugh-out-loud, dark humour. Her characters dance and sing on the page with honestly, venality, empathy - and, yes, with compassion - but always with profound humanity. This is a remarkable and truly wonderful novel from a writer with enormous insight into how Australia was . . . and how little it might have changed."

 Paul Daley, author of ‘Jesustown’.


Hardcover edition of Benevolence published in by HarperVia USA 2022 available on AMAZON.

Julie is a recipient of a Create NSW Arts grant and an Australia Council of the Arts grant for her crime novel: Madukka the River Serpent, with an Aboriginal woman protagonist sleuth. 

​​​​Historical Novel: BENEVOLENCE, published by Magabala Books and HarperVia 2022. USA and UK.

Shortlisted for the ASA Barbara Jefferis Novel Award 2022 and nominated for the NIB and VOSS Literary Awards 2021-22.

Julie's Indigenous crime novel:

MADUKKA THE RIVER SERPENT published by UWAP 22nd November 2022.

LONGLISTED for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. This award is presented to a novel which is of the highest literary merit  and presents Australian life in any of its phases.

"Julie Janson's crime thriller does so much more than solve a murder... Raw, visceral, rude and tough - it's the new perspective on Australian noir that we've been waiting for" Jock Serong

"Step aside Jay Swan. In a first in Australian crime fiction, meet june - the Murri investigator tracking water theft who instead exposes murder" Daniel Browning ABC

New historical novel COMPASSION to be published by Magabala Books in March 2024. The novel will be a sequel to BENEVOLENCE. Beginning in 1836, in first person past tense. We follow Nell James alias Duringa, a First Nations Darug horse thief and resistance fighter as she takes on colonial authorities. 

Julie Janson

Julie Janson Burruberongal clan of Darug Nation. Novelist, poet and playwright.