Aurora alumnus releases debut novel

Graham Akhurst is a Roberta Sykes Scholar and published his debut novel in October 2023.

Graham Akhurst, an Aboriginal writer, Aurora alumnus and academic hailing from the Kokomini of Northern Queensland, has recently released his debut novel called Borderland.

Borderland follows the journey of Indigenous teenager Jono, who scores a dream job interning with a documentary crew. It’s a heart-pounding horror gothic that follows Jono on an epic quest to find himself in the face of unbelievable challenges.

Author Jennifer Bowden writes that Borderland is “A terrifyingly good debut. Combining a modern-day exploration of race, identity, and self-discovery with a suspenseful undertone of Australian Gothic, this engaging novel grips you from start to finish.”

Graham was supported by Aurora to complete his MFA in Fiction at Hunter College in New York as a Roberta Sykes and Fullbright Scholar, where he was mentored by renowned fiction writer Peter Carey. Peter says of Graham, “I have never met a newcomer, straight off the plane, who was so clearly at ease, so obviously engaged with the city’s riches, so immediately open to instruction and new ideas.”

Graham’s success continues as he has been instrumental in setting up the recently announced First Nations Writers Residency in New York City, in partnership with the American Australian Association, UTS School of Communication, the Office of the PVC (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) and Create NSW. The Residency will support an Indigenous Australian to live and write in New York City for six months.

When applying for a Roberta Sykes Scholarship, Graham said: “I hope to bridge the American literary marketplace with Indigenous Australian works… My long-term plans involve the creation of a writing program that emulates the American-style MFA programs. A program that focuses on craft and reading as a writer, in contrast to the academic exegetical and literary critiques that the creative writing HDR programs of Australia focus on.” He is well on the way to achieving these goals.

Congratulations Graham on these incredible achievements!

Source: UWA Publishing

Click here to buy your copy of Borderland and here to read more about Graham’s work.


Keep updated

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.