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Rough Diamonds: The Award for an Unpublished Manuscript

Listen to Rough Diamonds: The Award for an Unpublished Manuscript

Photograph of the panellists on stage

Toni Jordan, Jane Harper, Melanie Cheng and Christian White — Photo: Sophie Quick

In its 15-year history, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript has launched some big names in Australian writing, including Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project), Maxine Beneba Clarke (Foreign Soil) and more.

The award is a big leg-up for unpublished authors. Previous winners have gone on to write bestselling books across a range of forms and genres and to win other major Australian literary awards, too.

At this event we checked in with some recent past winners: Jane Harper (2015 winner for The Dry), Melanie Cheng (2016 winner for Australia Day), and Christian White (2017 winner for The Nowhere Child). Hosted by Toni Jordan, the trio discussed their writing journeys – from laptop-clutching hopefuls to published debut authors, and beyond.

Who?

Portrait of Toni Jordan

Toni Jordan

Toni Jordan is the author of five novels. The international bestseller Addition was a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Fall Girl was published internationally and has been optioned for film, and Nine Days was awarded Best Fiction at the Indie Awards, was shortlisted for the ABIA Best General Fiction award, and was named in Kirkus Review’s top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Our Tiny, Useless Hearts was shortlisted for the Voss Literary Prize 2017 and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2018. Toni’s latest book is the literary mystery The Fragments. She lives in Melbourne.

Portrait of Jane Harper

Jane Harper

Jane Harper is the author of the international bestsellers The Dry and Force of Nature. Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with film rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. 

Jane has won numerous top awards including the 2017 Davitt Award for Best Adult Novel, the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year, the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year, the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, and the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year. Jane worked as a print journalist for 13 years both in Australia and the UK, and lives in Melbourne. Her third book, The Lost Man, is due out on 23 October 2018.

Portrait of Melanie Cheng

Melanie Cheng

Melanie Cheng is a writer and general practitioner from Melbourne. She is the author of Australia Day, which won the 2018 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction, and Room for a Stranger, which was longlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Award. Her non-fiction has been published in the Guardian, the Age, The Weekend Australian and SBS Online. She is The Saturday Paper's health columnist.

Portrait of Christian White

Christian White

Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter whose projects include feature film Relic. The Nowhere Child is his first book and one of Australia’s bestselling debut novels ever. An early draft of this novel won the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Since publication The Nowhere Child has been shortlisted for major awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards’ General Fiction Book of the Year and Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, and the Indie Book Awards’ Debut Fiction Book of the Year.  

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