The Wheeler Centre
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Rough Diamonds: The Award for an Unpublished Manuscript
In its 15-year history, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript has launched some big names in Australian writing, including Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project), Maxine Beneba Clarke (Foreign Soil) and more.
The award is a big leg-up for unpublished authors.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.
Toni Jordan is the author of four novels. The international bestseller Addition (2008) was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award. Fall Girl (2010) was published internationally and has been optioned for film, while Nine Days (2012) was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards, shortlisted for the ABIA Best General Fiction award and named in Kirkus Review’s Top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Her latest novel is Our Tiny, Useless Hearts (2016). Toni has been published widely in newspapers and magazines.
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.
Melanie Cheng’s debut book, the short-story collection Australia Day, won the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction and, two years earlier, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. She was born in Adelaide and grew up in Hong Kong. She now lives in Melbourne, where she writes when she’s not working as a general practitioner. Room for a Stranger is her first novel.
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.