Ann Turner

Ann Turner Biography

Ann Turner is an author, screenwriter and director, and graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television. An avid reader and history lover, she is drawn to salt-sprayed coasts, luminous landscapes and the people who inhabit them all over the world.

Ann’s films include the historical feature Celia starring Rebecca Smart, which Time Out listed as one of the fifty greatest directorial debuts of all time. Celia was described by Janet Maslin in the New York Times as ‘transfixing, assured, extremely lucid’, by Tom Hutchinson in The Mail as ‘one of those classics of childhood such as Reed’s The Fallen Idol or Truffaut’s The 400 Blows’ and by Phillip French in The Observer as ‘a work to be set beside Richard Hughes’s A High Wind in Jamaica, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and John Rae’s The Custard Boys.’ Samuel Wigley on the British Film Institute website listed Celia in ‘10 great films about childhood’ alongside works by directors Ingmar Bergman, Stephen Spielberg, Louis Malle, Yasujiro Ozu, Satyajit Ray, Carlos Saura and John Boorman. The script of Celia received the Australian Writers’ Guild Monte Miller award for Best Unproduced Screenplay and the film was nominated for Best Film at the Sitges Catalonian International Film Festival and won the Grand Prix at the Creteil International Women’s Film Festival.

Ann’s other films include Hammers Over the Anvil, an adaptation of Alan Marshall’s short stories for which Ann co-wrote the screenplay and directed, starring Russell Crowe and Charlotte Rampling; the screenplay for Blanche D’Alpuget’s novel Turtle Beach, starring Greta Scacchi and Joan Chen, for which Ann received an Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE award for Best Adapted Screenplay; Dallas Doll, a black comedy that introduced Rose Byrne in her first feature film role; and the psychological thriller Irresistible starring Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill and Emily Blunt, which was shortlisted for a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award (Film Script). Ann also made the short film Bathing Boxes, based on a Jeffrey Smart painting, as part of the series Picture House for the BBC and Arts Council of England, which included films by Atom Egoyan, Krzysztof Zanussi, Claire Denis and Raul Ruiz.

During film school, Ann climbed tall towers to film horse races for racing stewards. She was involved in film culture as Creative Development Officer at Film Victoria, has been Senior Script Consultant at the Australian Film Commission, and lectured in film at the Victorian College of the Arts. Ann’s films have sold to all corners of the world and screened at festivals including Berlin, New York, London, Edinburgh, Chicago, Seattle, Göteborg, Sitges, Madrid-Móstoles, Hamburg and Oberhausen.

Ann’s bestselling debut novel The Lost Swimmer, a psychological thriller about the consequences of love and trust, was published by Simon and Schuster Australia in 2015, with a second, mass-market edition published in 2016, and is also being published in 2016 by Simon and Schuster UK.  It was long-listed for the 2016 Indie Book Awards – Debut Fiction, and was one of Kobo’s Best Aussie Reads of 2015. It was Readings’ Book of the Month in June, Better Reading’s Book of the Week June 9th, and one of iBooks Best Books of June 2015. It has been optioned for film by producer Sue Maslin (The Dressmaker, Japanese Story) and Ann will write the screenplay.


Ann’s second novel, Out of the Ice, a mystery thriller set in Antarctica, explores the dark side of human progress and a past and present of tragedy, deception and survival. It is published by Simon and Schuster Australia in June 2016, and has also been sold to Simon and Schuster UK. Ann is currently working on her third novel, having signed another two-book deal with Simon and Schuster Australia. Ann was born in Adelaide and lives in Melbourne.

Author photo by Kristian Gehradte