2020 Snapshot: Sarah Epstein


Sarah Epstein is an award-winning Australian author, illustrator and designer who grew up in suburban Sydney and now lives in Melbourne with her husband, two sons and a rescued dog called Luna. After achieving a design degree and enjoying a 25-year graphic design career, Sarah returned to her first loves of writing and illustrating. Her debut novel Small Spaces is a CBCA Honour Book, winner of the Young Adult Fiction Award in the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, winner of the Davitt Award for Best YA Crime Novel, and was shortlisted for another six awards including the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Queensland Literary Awards and the Aurealis Awards. Her suspenseful new YA mystery Deep Water was released in April 2020.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

My new thrilling mystery for teenagers is called Deep Water and it was released in April. It’s the story of a missing thirteen-year-old boy and a group of teenagers who know more than they’re telling about the night he disappeared. Like my debut novel Small Spaces, it’s a dark mystery with a nonlinear narrative, full of secrets, clues and twists.

2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

I’ve only had two books published, so it’s still early days in terms of my career. But a huge highlight so far was having Small Spaces shortlisted for numerous literary awards, and then going on to win some of them. I could never have imagined when I started writing that I would be nominated for anything. And having Small Spaces recognised as an Honour Book by the Children’s Book Council of Australia was a huge thrill and really rewarding.

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge?

I really enjoyed The Rift by New Zealand YA author Rachael Craw. It’s a fantasy story set on Black Water Island, where rangers protect a herd of magical deer from hellhounds that slip through the Rift from another dimension. It’s a fabulous mix of supernatural and mythology versus a greedy pharmaceutical corporation, with plenty of romantic tension too. And Rachael’s writing is lyrical and gorgeous.

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