Meet Northern NSW author Jesse Blackadder

All writers were readers first. On the eve of the American release of her acclaimed new novel Sixty Seconds, Coastbeat checks in with writer Jesse Blackadder about the books that inspired her.

The title of this article are the words best-selling American author Bryan Reardon used to describe the writing of award-winning northern NSW writer, Jesse Blackadder.

Jesse is renowned for telling powerful stories with poetry and grace. Her latest novel, Sixty Seconds is a heart-rending story of loss and forgiveness, inspired by a tragedy from her own childhood. Sixty Seconds tells the story of the Brennan family as they deal with the tragic death of their son and will be released in the US under the title, In the Blink of an Eye.

Sixty Seconds revisits the northern NSW setting of Jesse’s first novel, After the Party, a novel of darkly humorous social observation. Jesse’s next novel, The Raven’s Heart, is a work of historical fiction inspired by research into her own ancestors and their fictional interaction with Mary, Queen of Scots. Chasing the Light, another work of historical fiction, dramatises the real-life race to be the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Both are exciting, sensual narratives told through passionate female characters.

Jesse is also the author of the popular children’s books Paruka the Desert Brumby, Stay, the Last Dog in Antarctica and Dexter the Courageous Koala. She is currently writing the screen adaptation for Paruka the Desert Brumby with the producers at Bangalow Pictures.

Meet Northern NSW author Jesse Blackadder
Jesse Blackadder

Jesse’s books are rich with real people, their passions, their flaws and their victories. One finishes a Blackadder book feeling that not only has history been brought to life, but that you know the people of her books, intimately.

Jesse is also active as a mentor for young and emerging writers. As a regular speaker and teachers with the Byron Writers Festival StoryBoard program, Jesse and her StoryBoard colleagues visit schools in the northern NSW area in a fabulous custom-made bus-library-workshop, spreading the word about writing and how to do it.

Leading a life of adventure just like her characters, Jesse is currently on her second Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship, living and writing on the ice for four months, working on a new book series and a screenplay with writer Jane Allen (Cleverman, Janet King, Wentworth, Love Child).

Before Jesse weighed anchor, Coastbeat asked her to give us her own Top 10 of all-time favourite reads. We are certainly putting her on ours and hope to catch up with her when she returns, but in the meantime, here is some great summer reading:

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Understory by Inga Simpson
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Find out about Jesse, her books, films and adventures at