Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript 2014

2014 winner

Miles Allinson

Fever of Animals

Fever of Animals is the story of Miles, an Australian man who is no longer an artist, and his two life-changing journeys: a holiday to Venice that ultimately costs him his girlfriend, Alice, and a trip to Europe, on the trail of the Romanian surrealist painter Emil Bafdescu, who disappeared in 1967. Dense and moody, this is a layered story about one man’s lack of self-knowledge, and about the people, places and memories that slip through his fingers.

Miles Allinson is a writer and an artist. He was born in Melbourne, in 1981, in what is now a large shopping centre. Recently he has had a number of dreams about North Korea, for some reason. In each case he has managed to evade arrest and once he made it to the forbidden fields where the raspberries were dripping with honey.

Shortlisted entries

Jennifer Down

Our Magic Hour

Our Magic Hour is a story of loss and discovery. The beautiful, understated writing captures what can happen when an event shakes our sense of what is certain and forces us to question who we are. A tale that speaks to our modern moment, it is also timeless in its reflection of human frailty. The pared-back prose is a testimony to the control and maturity of the writer.

Jennifer Down is a writer, editor and closed captioner for the hearing impaired. She was the winner of the 2013 Overland Short Story Award. Her work has also been published in the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC’s The Drum and Voiceworks. She is currently undertaking a Hot Desk Fellowship at the Wheeler Centre.

JM Green

Good Money

Good Money tells the story of social worker Stella Hardy as she goes about trying to solve the case of a murder of a boy whose family live in commission flats. Set in Melbourne, with a particular focus on the inner western suburbs, it soon becomes clear that this murder is just a small part of a much larger conspiracy. An energetic whodunit with a distinct Australian voice, this manuscript features a mélange of characters that jump out from the page.

JM Green studied professional writing at RMIT. Her work has appeared in Overland and she once received an honourable mention from the Sisters in Crime Scarlett Stiletto Short Story competition. She divides her time between writing in her backyard studio and working as a librarian in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Commended entries

· Jane Abbott, Watershed
· Caitlin Crowley, Headland
· Genevieve Poetka, Winter Traffic
· Zoe Morrison, Some Thoughts on Music and Freedom
· Victoria Osborne, Man of Clay
· Yannick Thoraval, The Current

Judging Panel

The panel for the Award for an Unpublished Manuscript comprises three judges: Toni Jordan (convenor), Clare Renner and Samuel Cooney.

Judges’ Report

This year the judges received 113 entries and the quality of the manuscripts was outstanding overall. The judges were delighted by the range of stories, the originality and energy of the voices and the polished nature of much of the prose.

The final judges’ meeting involved much discussion. The shortlist and the commended titles were all strong contenders for the prize, and these nine manuscripts stood out convincingly from the rest of the judges’ longlist. The judges also wrestled with whether the prize should be awarded to a polished and complete manuscript or to a manuscript that shows the most potential for development. The decision was finally unanimous and based on the confident and assured prose of the shortlisted works, and the clarity and creativity of the writers’ visions.

The winner will be announced at the Emerging Writers' Festival opening night on Tuesday 27 May.

About the Award

Offered for an unpublished fiction manuscript which may be a collection of stories or a novel. The prize is worth $15,000.

In 2014, the two shortlisted runners up will receive a Writers Victoria membership and a place on a course of their choice from the 2014 Writers Victoria program.

Entries for the 2014 Award have now closed.

Timeline: The Award for an Unpublished Manuscript 2014

4 March – Call for entries
5pm, 4 April – Entries close
20 May –Shortlist announced
27 May – Winner announced at the Emerging Writers' Festival

2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

In addition to the Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an emerging Victorian writer, the 2014 Awards include the Prize for Fiction, the Prize for Non-fiction, the Prize for Writing for Young Adults, the Prize for Poetry, the Prize for Drama and the Victorian Prize for Literature. These winners of these categories were announced on 28 January 2014. Find more information about the shortlists and winning books here.

The Award for Indigenous Writing will also be announced in 2014, to coincide with Indigenous Literacy Day. For further information about this Award, contact the Wheeler Centre on 9094 7822. ƒ