The second Dorothy Hewett Award for an unpublished manuscript will be announced at the 2017 Perth Writers Festival on Saturday 25 February, 11:30am-12:30pm, in the Tropical Grove.
Christopher Hill is a Perth writer and educator with a long career in public education – he is presently the Principal at Shenton College. Christopher was awarded the inaugural Eleanor Dark Fellowship, along with several other residencies for his manuscript The Savage Club - on one of his trips to the Varuna Writer’s Centre in the Blue Mountains he was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with Dorothy Hewett.
His manuscript shortlisted for the 2016 Dorothy Hewett Award is called 'The Savage Club'.
From 'The Savage Club'
Redfern, Sydney, December 10, 1992
He can sense the crowd gathering, spilling out across Redfern Park; waiting for the suits to show and for the afternoon to get underway. They would be growing impatient for Keating. The thought of them waiting in the park across the road is somehow, he thinks, a gesture of solidarity.
He pushes the bone hard into his thigh and drags it across his skin until the pain takes his breath away. If he could he would like to gouge into his flesh, so as to reach into his own body to where he knows certain memories thrive like malignant tumours. He would like to cut them away. But it's too late now, he's too close-up finished, as his old friends would have said, and there's nothing to be done. He thinks it might be them that keep him going here in his final little bough shed, under his desk, where he can return to the past, or it can track him down.
He watches Constable St Jack pace along the far side of the mule train making minor adjustments to the loads, tightening belts, and inspecting their hooves. One of the animals (perhaps it knows what is to come) tries to break from the line and St Jack locks his arm around its head and twists its bit so fiercely the animal screams and buckles at the knees. The wide brim of St Jack's hat casts a shadow that cuts his face in two. His police boys stand watching. Waiting. One of them sucks at a pipe and small puffs of grey smoke rise above him. The sun is already too high and hot for comfort.
May 20, 1926.
He has always been good with dates, but if he needs to check, or if any difficult questions present them selves, he has all the evidence here in the room.