The Next Big Thing

James Colley

A boy. A girl. A big attraction.

The Next Big Thing Cover Image

Published: 30/01/2024
ISBN: 9780645757910
Genre: Fiction
RRP: $32.99

The Next Big Thing

James Colley

A boy. A girl. A big attraction.

A heartwarming, hilarious, quintessentially Australian novel about young love, small towns and underdogs overcoming the odds.

Norm has lived in Norman his whole life. It’s where he grew up, 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, 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 larger-than-life 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 convince the girl of his dreams she belongs here too – or is it too late?

‘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

‘James Colley’s sparkling wit brings 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

The Next Big Thing is absurd and moving, ridiculous and sublime. Its ludicrous plot is grounded in the genuine sweetness of a slow-blooming friends-to-lovers romance, as Norm and Ella weigh up the value of a grand gesture, a Big Thing, against a thousand tiny declarations. The Next Big Thing is studded with puns and sparkling dialogue like the night sky over the middle of nowhere. It’s soaringly silly and it’ll steal your heart.’ Clare Fletcher, author of Five Bush Weddings

‘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

The Next Big Thing confirms James Colley as the next big thing in Australian comedy writing. That’s what I’m meant to say, right?’ Wil Anderson

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 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

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 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

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



James Colley

James Colley

James Colley

James Colley is a comedy writer from Western Sydney known for work on Gruen, Summer Love, Question Everything, The 1% Club and The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, as well as regular columns for the Sydney Morning Herald. The Next Big Thing is his debut novel.

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