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Hot Little Hands contains nine funny, confronting and pitch-perfect stories about stumbling on the fringes of innocence, and the marks desire can leave. Anya, in her fake-leather sneakers and second-hand clothes, just wants to fit in at her Melbourne school.

'What a writer! Sending telepathic champagne.' Kaz Cooke

Claire is good at beginnings. Mid-twenties and mid-PhD, she's moved halfway around the world to San Francisco – where the line between adolescence and adulthood is blurry, and every night feels new. Too smart to be serious, she divides her time between her friends, her band, her ex-boyfriend, potential new boyfriends, whiskies with beer backs, and occasionally her thesis.

And then, by accident, life starts to get messy.
Hot Little Hands contains nine funny, confronting and pitch-perfect stories about stumbling on the fringes of innocence, and the marks desire can leave. Anya, in her fake-leather sneakers and second-hand clothes, just wants to fit in at her Melbourne school. Ramona, with her suburban family and clique of friends, is just starting to stand out. Sascha is on the brink of discovery; Elise and Jenni are well beyond it. Amelia will do absolutely anything to avoid writing her book. And Kira wants to capture the world, exactly as she sees it, with her brand-new camera.

There are tales about now – about first encounters with lasting impressions, and break-ups that last longer than the relationships; about a time when late-night text messages are considered a courtship, and the most personal secrets get casually revealed online. It is the debut of a striking, wry, utterly fresh new voice in Australian literature.

'The stories are beautifully paced, the dialogue perfect. Ulman knows how to write a story, manage a build-up, hold your attention, suggest that somehow nothing much is happening while, in fact, everything is going on. I love how up-to-the-minute and street-wise the stories are, and how frank about sex and girls. This is a book which I think girls will relish, guys will need to read in order to know what girls are really thinking about, and every parent will need to keep by their bedside, especially at the weekend, so they can be fully reassured that their young daughters are having a truly good time.' Colm Toibin

'You wince at some of the things the girls say, you fear for them, you barrack for them because – and this is testament to Ulman's talent – they come to life on the page. There is a deftness in the creation of these voices, these characters as negotiating new places and events they don't fully understand.' Jason Steger, The Age

Reviews

The stories are beautifully paced, the dialogue perfect. Ulman knows how to write a story, manage a build-up, hold your attention, suggest that somehow nothing much is happening while, in fact, everything is going on. I love how up-to-the-minute and street-wise the stories are, and how frank about sex and girls. This is a book which I think girls will relish, guys will need to read in order to know what girls are really thinking about, and every parent will need to keep by their bedside, especially at the weekend, so they can be fully reassured that their young daughters are having a truly good time.

Colm Toibin

A familiar yet highly inventive collection of short fiction which hits virtually all my buttons: dark humor, complex female characters, and a strong summer camp storyline.

Lena Dunham

Funny, utterly absorbing, sad, brilliant, troubling in all the right ways. The stories connect to both the child and the adult in these girls, and in the reader too – I found myself lurching between embarrassed recognition and distant familiarity. Powerful, disturbing stuff - and also laugh-out-loud hilarious at times. Ulman has brilliantly mixed these different registers together into the one collection to capture something of the drama and joy and trauma of being young and female.

Ceridwen Dovey

Abigail divines the humour and hurt in all manners of young life ... These stories bristle with true-to-life conversational zest.

threethousand.com

There's not one thing wrong with these stories ... Ulman's ability to lure readers to a slow dawning is a rare skill. In Warm-ups, the strongest story in the collection, we follow 13-year-old gymnast Kira from Vladivostok as she plans her first trip away from her family, to America with her coach for a demonstration. It's simply wonderful and left my heart thumping. Finding nine killer short stories linked by theme is a difficult task, even for a writer with decades under her belt. If this is what Ulman is already capable of, Hot Little Hands will prove the start of a stellar career.

Saturday Paper

You wince at some of the things the girls say, you fear for them, you barrack for them because – and this is testament to Ulman's talent – they come to life on the page. There is a deftness in the creation of these voices, these characters as negotiating new places and events they don't fully understand.

Jason Steger, The Age

Gives the competitive coming-of-age collective a hefty hip and shoulder.

Weekend Post

Ulman's stories are honest and will definitely strike a chord with readers. There's a compelling freshness and energy in these stories that makes Hot Little Hands an addictive read.

Readings

'Hot Little Hands is brilliant, disquieting, hilarious and full of joy. Abigail Ulman is a master storyteller.

Michaela McGuir

Full of unsettling and glorious portrayals of female desire, these women are conflicted, fierce, funny and strikingly familiar. Ulman has an immense talent for writing authentic voices.

Emily Sexton, head of programming at The Wheeler Centre

What a writer! Sending telepathic champagne.

Kaz Cooke

First-class. Funny, sad, and full of sharp observations and characters.

Jason Steger

The strength of many of the stories in her collection lies in the space she leaves to the unsaid ... Ulman has found rich fictional territory.

Sydney Review of Books

Ulman's skill is in negotiating this territory, of balancing the blase narration of her characters with an understated but devastating consideration of the implicit emotional impact of their experiences ... Funny honesty is one of the most striking and delightful features of the book ... The fragility and uncertainty that Ulman brings to her portrayals of female adolescence and rites of passage are sensitive and subtle.

Weekend Australian

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781926428239

    February 25, 2015

    Hamish Hamilton

    304 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781742537771

    February 25, 2015

    Penguin eBooks

    240 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks

Awards and Recognition

  • Melbourne Prize for Literature
    2015
    Shortlisted
    Best Writing Award
  • SMH Best Young Australian Novelists Award
    2016
    Winner
    Best Young Novelist
  • Australian Book Industry Awards
    2016
    Longlisted
    Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year
  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards
    2016
    Shortlisted
    UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing