Kathryn Heyman

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Kathryn Heyman is an Australian writer.


Born New South Wales, Australia, she trained for an acting career in Queensland, after a year with a theatre company in Sydney.[1][2] Heyman spent a decade living in the United Kingdom, where she was first published. [3]

Heyman is the author of five novels: The Breaking (1997), Keep Your Hands on the Wheel (1999), The Accomplice (2003) Captain Starlight's Apprentice (2006) and Floodline (2013).[4] She is also a playwright for theatre and radio and has held a number of creative writing fellowships in the UK and Australia. Her short stories have appeared in a number of collections and also on radio.

Heyman's first novel, The Breaking, was longlisted for the Orange Prize, and shortlisted for the Scottish Writer of the Year Award.[5] Her third, The Accomplice, won an Arts Council England Writer's Award and was shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards. The Accomplice is a fictional account of the wreck of the Dutch flagship the Batavia off the Australian coast in the 17th century. As a meditation on complicity with evil it has been compared with the work of Joseph Conrad and William Golding.[6]

Her fourth novel, Captain Starlight's Apprentice, features a woman bushranger, the birth (and near death) of the Australian film industry, and a British migrant to Australia who undergoes electroconvulsive therapy. In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Nita Kibble Literary Award.

Floodline, published 2013, is set during the aftermath of a great flood, and has been compared with the writing of Cormac McCarthy.[7] Heyman's writing has also been compared with that of Angela Carter,[8] David Malouf,[9] Peter Carey and Kate Grenville.[10]

Heyman's work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, and a five-part dramatic adaptation of Captain Starlight's Apprentice was broadcast on Woman's Hour in April 2007.[11] In 2013 she delivered the NSW Premier's Literary Awards Address.[12]



  • The Princess Who Couldn't Fly (and a Word or Two About the Crippled King) (1990)
  • Unreal (1991)
  • Sex, Lies and Model Aeroplanes (1991) with David Lennie and Paul Tolton
  • Exodus (1993) with David Purveur
  • Dancing on the Word (1993)
  • That's The Way to Do It (1994) with Jo Enright
  • Far Country (2002) starring Kerry Fox
  • Keep Your Hands on the Wheel (2003) starring Kerry Fox
  • Moonlight's Boy (2005)
  • Captain Starlight's Apprentice (2007)


  • Australia Council Established Writers New Work Grant 2006 – 2008[13]
  • Kibble Prize shortlist, (Captain Starlight's Apprentice)[14]
  • Arts Council of England Writer's Award, (The Accomplice)[15]
  • Western Australian Premier's Book Awards shortlist, (The Accomplice)[16]
  • Wingate Scholarship, (The Accomplice)[17]
  • Southern Arts Writers Award (Keep Your Hands on the Wheel)[18]
  • Orange Prize longlist, (The Breaking)[19]
  • Stakis Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year shortlist, (The Breaking)[20]
  • Hallam Poetry Prize, 1996[21]


  1. ^ Biography: "Kathryn Heyman", Royal Literary Fund
  2. ^ Biography: Kathryn Heyman, Austlit Database
  3. ^ Heyman, 'There's no place like home' Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend, no. 15 July 2006, pp. 31–32.
  4. ^ Allen & Unwin, publisher
  5. ^ McMillan,Joyce, A familiar fear and loathing, [1]Glasgow Herald Friday 21 November 1997
  6. ^ Chevalier, Tracey et al "Summer Reading", The Guardian, 2003
  7. ^ Clarke,Stella, [2] City's souls lost and saved in the flood, The Australian, 14 September 2013
  8. ^ Sanders, Kate The Times 27 May 2006
  9. ^ Duncan, Shirley J. Paolini, 'Outlaw odyssey.(Captain Starlight's Apprentice)(Book review)' Antipodes, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 89(2).
  10. ^ White, Judith The Bulletin 30 May 2006
  11. ^ BBC – Woman's Hour Drama – Captain Starlight's Apprentice
  12. ^ http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/about/awards/premiers_awards/nsw_premiers_literary_awards/2013/2013_nsw_premiers_literary_awards_address.html
  13. ^ "Literature Board Assessment Meeting Report" (PDF). Australia Council. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "History of Shortlisted Authors" (PDF). Kibble Literary Awards. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Literary Cash Boost for Authors". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "2003 Shortlist". Western Australian Premier's Book Awards Archive. State Library of Western Australia. 
  17. ^ "Record of Wingate Scholars 1988–2011" (PDF). Wingate Scholarships Anniversary Archive. Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Kathryn Heyman". Royal Literary Fund Fellowship Scheme. Royal Literary Fund. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "Longlist 1998". Women's Prize for Fiction. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "Mother & Child Reunion". The Scotsman. The Scotsman. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  21. ^ "Kathryn Heyman". Royal Literary Fund Fellowship Scheme. Royal Literary Fund. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 

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