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Shortlist Announced: 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript

Read Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an emerging Victorian writer offers a $15,000 prize for an unpublished fiction manuscript – which may be a collection of stories or a novel. Today, we unveil the shortlisted works.

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Three shortlisted works and five commended manuscripts were chosen from 137 nominations for this year’s award – comprising a broad range of stories which the judges described as original and energetic.

Judging convener Jeff Sparrow described the process of arriving at a final shortlist as ‘lengthy and difficult’. He said that while ‘the manuscripts were diverse in genre and subject, it’s apparent that many local writers are exploring distinctively Australian themes, often through very polished prose. The stand-out entries distinguished themselves as completed works, with strong narratives as well as fine writing. The three shortlisted works are very different but each is excellent in its own way.’

2015 Shortlisted Manuscripts

The Dry by Jane Harper

Jane Harper’s The Dry is a taut detective novel in which a multiple homicide drags a city policeman back to the small country township he fled years earlier. It weaves together themes about belonging, loyalty and forgiveness in an exploration of the best and worst of rural Australia. With complex characters and a rich sense of place, The Dry keeps the reader guessing until the last page. Harper has delivered an accomplished piece of crime writing; one destined to find a wide audience.

Nikolai the Perfect by Jim McIntyre 

Nikolai the Perfect follows Vasilli from the cold Moscow winter to a teaching job in Melbourne and the unearthing of a long-hidden family secret. In this skilfully constructed narrative exploring the landscape of both foreign and familiar cities with beautifully dense and descriptive prose, the author delivers a richly layered novel about loss, discovery, family and moving forward.

Fine by Michelle Wright

A good short story leaves us with an echo, a lingering sense of having discovered something important about the world. Michelle Wright is an assured and compelling storyteller; her ability to present a moment in time as a narrative complete in itself, has resulted in a strong collection of short stories set across Australia and Sri Lanka. Many of the stories explore the seismic shifts that can occur when something unexpected happens and the collection reveals the universal yet intensely personal nature of human experience.

Commended Manuscripts

A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop
The Kafka Papers: the Revised Memoirs of Max Brod by Lucinda Berg
Unhomely Places by Kerry Munnery
Foreign Madam and the White Yogi by Chris Mooney-Singh
The Hidden Drawer by Imbi Neeme

In 2015, the two shortlisted runners up will receive a Writers Victoria membership and a place on a course of their choice from the 2015 Writers Victoria programme.

The winner of the award will be announced at the Emerging Writers’ Festival Opening Night Extravaganza next Tuesday 26 May at Deakin Edge, Federation Square. Find out more about the awards here.

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