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VPLA 2024
A Hunger of Thorns

Writing for Young Adults Shortlist

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Title: A Hunger of Thorns

Author: Lili Wilkinson

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Maude is the daughter of witches. She spent her childhood running wild with her best friend, Odette, weaving stories of girls who slayed dragons and saved princes. Then Maude grew up and lost her magic – and her best friend. Storytelling is her only gift that remains.

Odette always hungered for forbidden, dangerous magic, and two weeks ago she went searching for it. Now she’s missing, and everyone believes she’s dead. Everyone except Maude.

Maude is sure she can find Odette inside the ruins of Sicklehurst, an abandoned power plant built over an ancient magical forest –a place nobody else seems to remember is there. The danger is, nobody knows what remains inside Sicklehurst, either. And every good story is sure to have a monster …


Photography by Sarah Walker



Judges’ report

The daughter of witches, Maude’s childhood is spent casting spells and creating fantastical stories of female empowerment with her friend Odette. As the girls grow up into a world of commercialised magic, Maude’s own abilities are lost, along with Odette’s friendship. When Odette mysteriously disappears, Maude is determined to save her and ventures into dark, beguiling spaces where potent magic still exists. Anchored by a queer matriarchy full of bold and nuanced characters, this story is crafted with a strong feminist lens. Visually resplendent, Wilkinson has created a multi-layered world with fantastical complexity, and locates girlhood as an imperfect yet powerful rite of passage. Metaphor and genre have been employed to great dramatic effect, celebrating the enduring legacy of love, female friendship and the transformative power of storytelling.







About the author

Lili Wilkinson is the award-winning author of eighteen books for children and teenagers, including After the Lights Go Out, The Erasure Initiative and How To Make A Pet Monster. Lili established the Inky Awards at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria. She has a PhD in Creative Writing, and lives in Melbourne with her partner, child, dog and three chickens.

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