The Anti-Cool Girl

2017 - Shortlisted


The Anti-Cool Girl is a memoir about a childhood that by most standards would be considered disturbing. The story starts before Rosie was born and takes us through her first twenty-eight years which are packed with most varieties of trauma: both the author’s parents were addicts, she witnessed her mother trying to commit suicide, there were narrow escapes from drug-dealers and dodgy boyfriends, she was severely bullied at school — and yet, Rosie Waterland makes us laugh. She tackles her life story as if it were a particularly over-the-top television drama — hilarious in its extremes — while acknowledging the impact of a damaged childhood. Rather than shaping her memoir around the familiar trope of overcoming hardship, Rosie Waterland takes a fresh angle, creating her story around the desire, and spectacular failure, to be cool.  

There are many memoirs of a difficult life and it takes the originality and insight of a writer like Waterland to transform a hard-luck story into knife-edged humour. At the same time hilariously conveying contemporary culture, the online world and a world where posting a letter is a forgotten skill. Parental addiction and neglect are not conventionally the stuff of comedy, but The Anti-Cool Girl is not a conventional memoir. Its fiercely intelligent, blackly comic and enormously warm and engaging narrative leaves the reader cheering for the coolest anti-cool girl there ever was. 

About the author

Rosie Waterland

Rosie Waterland is an author, columnist, host, comedian and screenwriter, rising to fame with her hilarious satirical recaps of The Bachelor.  Her irreverent brand of humour has been applied to topics including feminism, pop culture, body image and television. Rosie’s first book, The Anti-Cool Girl, was a critically acclaimed national bestseller, shortlisted for an Indie Book Award and two ABIA Awards.  Rosie created a satirical political documentary series with Jamila Rizvi for ABC iView, called What’s Going On, is developing her own television series with Matchbox Pictures and is a contributing writer to an upcoming kids show on ABC3.