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The Next Big Thing

James Colley

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Pantera Press
30 January 2024
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"Part young-love rom-com, part David and Goliath story, The Next Big Thing is a heartwarming, hilarious, quintessentially Australian debut.

NORM has lived in Norman his whole life. It's where he grew up with his dad, where he went to school and met his best friend Ella. But the town is dying: the river has dried up, and with it all the jobs.

One night at the pub, on the anniversary of his dad's death, Norm announces a plan. He's going to build a Big Thing – like Coffs Harbour's Big Banana or Ballina's Big Prawn – to drive tourism to the town and give it a future. And to show Ella that she could have a future here too, maybe even with him.

ELLA, meanwhile, plans to leave Norman for the big smoke. She's tired of being a big fish in a small pond, especially when that pond is running out of water.

Ella encourages Norm's big idea nonetheless. If it works, Norm will have a four-metre-high reminder of her. And if not, at least they'll have one last perfect summer together.

Will Norm from Norman build a Big Thing in time to save his town, and to convince the girl of his dreams she belongs here too – or is it too late?

“James Colley is one of the funniest TV writers in Australia. Frankly I’m surprised he had the attention span for a whole book, but by God he’s done it!” Annabel Crabb

'WOW. This book will become an Aussie classic, alongside The Castle, Vegemite and Steve Irwin. Run, don't walk to the bookstore. I laughed, I got teary and I cheered for the underdogs in this heartwarming story of overcoming adversity, following your dreams and fighting for what matters to you. Everything is big in The Next Big Thing – the humour, the heart and the smile you'll have when you finish reading.' – Rachael Johns

'The Next Big Thing is simply adorable. In it, James Colley gently captures the messy, ridiculous, melancholic yet joyful heart of small-town Australia and in doing so pays a well-deserved tribute to one of The Greats. This is a novel with the perfect amount of nostalgia and full of characters you can't help but love.' – Jan Fran

'Poignant and delightful, The Next Big Thing crackles with warmth and wry, gentle humour – a gem.' First Dog on the Moon

'The Next Big Thing combines the joys of a classic love story with a distinctly Australian sense of humour. Filled with affection for reckless, youthful hope and genuinely funny, Colley has written something truly delightful.' - Brydie Lee-Kennedy

'The Next Big Thing is the rarest of things: an Australian novel that leaves you damn happy. Equal parts rom-com and small-town underdog adventure, this is your favourite Australian sitcom in book-form. It's going to make you bark laughing, leave you grinning ear-to-ear … and might just make you cry too.' - Benjamin Law

'The only thing more annoying than seeing James Colley excel at comedy writing is seeing him nail a romantic comedy with so much heart and wit. We get it, James. You can do anything.' - Susie Youssef

'A completely charming book whose characters leap off the page (and straight into your heart ... via a rickety wheelbarrow)' – Virginia Gay

'James Colley's sparkling wit and humour bring to life this delightful rom-com, revealing that at the heart of Australia's absurd obsession with towering prawns, oversized bananas and all things ""big"" is a passion for a larger-than-life love story. In the quirkiest corner of Australian culture, Colley's charm and warmth spin a tale where ""big"" laughs lead to ""big"" love.' – Nakkiah Lui"

Imprint:   Pantera Press
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   402g
ISBN:   9780645757910
ISBN 10:   0645757918
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

James Colley is a comedy writer and producer known for his work as head writer on Gruen, Gruen Nation, Question Everything and The Weekly with Charlie Pickering. He’s written on Summer Love, Bravest Warriors, Tomorrow Tonight and Tonightly with Tom Ballard and for live events such as FireAid and the ARIAs 2019 and 2020. James is a regular columnist for the Spectrum liftout in the Sydney Morning Herald, and his writing has been featured in the Guardian, Frankie Magazine, Crikey, the Big Issue and Junkee. He has performed live at Vivid Sydney, the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Splendour in the Grass, the Sydney Comedy Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival. The Next Big Thing is his debut novel.

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