Award-winning short story writer and novelist Julian Novitz was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and currently lives in Melbourne. His first book, a collection of short stories called My Real Life and Other Stories, won the New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book of Fiction Award (2005) and he has since published several novels. Novitz has completed a PhD in creative writing and literary studies at the University of Melbourne, and has taught courses in creative writing, literature and communications at the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, and the Swinburne University of Technology. He won the Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Award for Short Fiction in 2008, and was a recipient of the Buddle Findlay Frank Sargeson Residential Writing Fellowship in 2009.
Early in Novitz’s career, Michael Larson identified his ‘sure sense of perspective’ and went on to say that it ‘stakes him out as a writer worthy of serious consideration’. Critics have noted the ‘passion of the ideas behind his writing’ and the eloquence of his stories, with Holocaust Toursdescribed as ‘darkly witty’ in the way it explored ‘questions of identity and history’(Salient). In North & South, Paul Little wrote: ‘The way in which Novtiz raises and defeats expectations . . . is masterful. At a time when contemporary fiction is bedevilled by a cautious gentility, Novitz, by taking a few chances and great care, produces something that, with its gloomy, bleak tone, stands out from most of the pack.’
In reviewing Little Sister, The New Zealand Listener noted that ‘Occasional nods to TS Eliot . . . add their own resonances to the deliciously rich atmosphere of unease.’ The reviewer continued: ‘Although it may take time and care in reading to get the full impact of the final pieces falling into place, it isn’t hard to accustom oneself to taking things slowly when the tension is so expertly and satisfyingly drawn out. That’s the mark of a fine psychological thriller, a standard Little Sister easily meets and surpasses.’
In Christchurch’s Weekend Press, Sean Monaghan hailed Little Sister as ‘a bold and precise book by a novelist on the ascent and it’s sure to garner him more accolades. With taut control and a subtle and precise ear, Novitz knows when to reveal detail and when to be restrained. He reels the reader in with controlled craft. Then he turns everything over, making the novel something that will resonate long after the final page.’