Julie Koh (許瑩玲 / J.Y.L. Koh) was born in Sydney to Chinese-Malaysian parents. She studied politics and law at the University of Sydney, then quit a career in corporate law to pursue writing. 

Julie is the author of two short-story collections. Her capsule collection, Capital Misfits, was published by Spineless Wonders in 2015 and Math Paper Press in 2016. The Math Paper Press edition was illustrated by Matt Huynh.

Julie’s full-length collection, Portable Curiosities, was published by UQP in 2016. It was shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2016, the Queensland Literary Awards – Australian Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award 2016, and the UTS Glenda Adams Award in the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Portable Curiosities was one of The Guardian’s Best Australian Books of 2016, an Australian Book Review 2016 and 2017 Book of the Year, a Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life feminist reading pick of 2016, a Feminist Writers Festival Best Feminist Book of 2016, and an ABC Radio National 2017 Best Summer Read. Julie was named a 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist for Portable Curiosities.

Julie’s short stories have appeared in The Best Australian Stories in 2014 to 2017, Best Australian Comedy Writing in 2016, The Australian, The Sleepers Almanac 7 to X, The Lifted BrowSeizureThe Canary Press, Vault, fine print, Kyoto JournalThe Fish Anthology and Fixi Novo’s HEAT. Short films based on her stories have screened at the St Kilda Film Festival, the Good Dog! International Film Festival and the Palm Springs International ShortFest. 

Julie is the editor of BooksActually’s Gold Standard 2016 (Math Paper Press), an anthology of the best short fiction from cult writers of East Asia, Southeast Asia and the diaspora. She is a founding member of Australian experimental collective Kanganoulipo and is currently writing the libretto for the satirical opera Chop Chef. She is also a judge for the 2018 Stella Prize.


“Julie Koh is the brightest new star in Australia’s literary galaxy – a writer with heart, soul and a great deal to say. We are watching out for her and learning from her already, waiting baitedly for more of her words.” — Louise Swinn, Editorial Director of Sleepers Publishing
Photo by Hugh Stewart