Shortlisted for the 2022 Stella Prize

Bodies of Light – Jennifer Down

Fiction · Text Publishing

About the Book

Told with a kind of conversational intimacy – inviting the reader in, rationalising, second-guessing, accounting, defending, justifying – Jennifer Down inhabits the voice of a woman who has experienced a great deal of trauma, while evoking a history of south-east Melbourne from the 1970s into the present.

“Acerbic, witty, and with no reverence at all for the colony, Araluen remembers those dispossessed and voiceless, just as she predicts a hard-won future for her children.”

– 2022 Stella Prize Judges

jennifer down

About the author

Jennifer Down

Jennifer Down is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in The AgeSaturday PaperAustralian Book Review and Literary Hub. She was named a Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year consecutively in 2017 and 2018. Our Magic Hour, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her second book, Pulse Points, was the winner of the 2018 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and the 2018 Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection in the Queensland Literary Awards, and was shortlisted for a 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Award. Her third book is Bodies of Light. 

Further reading


“The third book from Jennifer Down is staggering in its scope, encompassing half a century of life lived by its magnetic and mystifying central character…” – Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, The Sydney Morning Herald

“Reading this book is like getting sucked up into a blanket, and when you emerge out of the cocoon, the world around you looks a bit different.” – Madeleine Gray, Sydney Review of Books

“It’s rare an author who can turn trauma into beauty.” – James Blackwell, Overland Literary Journal


Watch Jennifer Down discuss Bodies of Light on ‘Writers on Film’ via Melbourne Writers Festival

Listen to ‘At Home with Jennifer Down’ via The Garret: Writers on Writing  

Read ‘When Writing is Your Job, Researching Trauma Can Be a Workplace Hazard’ by Jennifer Down in LitHub


Judges’ report

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