UWA Publishing, in partnership with The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, is proud to be announcing the shortlist for the 2023 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.
The judging panel has selected the following works:
The Bone Singer by Christine Bell
Depth of Field by Kirsty Iltners
99 Names by Lukas Jackson
Along the Lightning Ridge by Nakita Kitson
The Hum Hearers by Shey Marque
Francesca Multimortal by Val Colic-Peisker
Semblance by Vivienne Glance
The judging panel for the 2023 Award is Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, Astrid Edwards, Thuy On and Kate Pickard. This year the award received over 220 entries from across Australia. The judges were highly impressed, and slightly overwhelmed, by the quantity and quality of entrants to this award. Arriving at this shortlist has been a challenging and exciting task. The list represents a snapshot of the vitality of Australian writing.
In 2022 the judges announced the winner of the award to be Brendan Ritchie for his manuscript Eta Draconis
which will be available on 14 May 2023. Previous winners include Josh Kemp’s Banjawarn
, Kgshak Akec’s Hopeless Kingdom
, Karen Wyld’s Where the Fruit Falls
and the inaugural winner, Extinctions
by Josephine Wilson, which went on to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award.
Dorothy Hewett (1923-2002) is considered one of Australia’s most important writers, her work challenging the norms of 20th century Australian culture. Hewett made her mark as a poet, playwright and novelist. In 1986, Hewett was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to literature. Hewett won the Western Australian Premier’s Poetry Award in 1994 and 1995 for her collections Peninsula and Collected Poems: 1940-1995.
The Award is open to manuscripts submissions of fiction, narrative nonfiction or poetry and the winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000, courtesy of Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, and will be offered a publishing contract with UWA Publishing.
UWA Publishing sends a warm thank you to the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund for its ongoing support for the Dorothy Hewett Award. The winner will be announced in June.
Christine Bell is a Melbourne fiction writer. Her debut novel No Small Shame is published by Ventura Press (2020). In 2021, Christine was awarded a place in the KSP (Katharine Susannah Prichard) Fellowship program to further develop her historical novel The Bone Singer. In 2019 she won the inaugural HNSA Colleen McCullough Residency for an Established Author also for The Bone Singer. Before switching focus to writing adult novels, Christine had over 30 short fiction titles published for children. Christine is a member of the Varuna Alumni and holds a Master of Creative Writing and a Diploma of Arts – Professional Writing and Editing. For five years, she served as Assistant Coordinator of SCBWI Vic (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) (2014-2018). Christine has taught creative writing to adult students in community house programs. She currently works as a full-time writer.
Judges comment for The Bone Singer
"The Bone Singer tenderly evokes the aftermath of the Great War through the eyes of Hugo Maitland, a soldier who has volunteered with the Australian War Graves Detachment to recover bodies of fallen Australians in the Somme. In the grim singularity of Hugo’s task, the novel explores the vicissitudes of recovery and solace. The novel is a profound story about the rediscovery of life in the midst of unimaginable destruction."
Kirsty Iltners is a writer and freelance photographer. She has a degree in psychology and is currently studying law. She lives in Brisbane with her two daughters, her border collie, and four axolotls.
Judges comment for Depth of Field
"In this gripping novel, the camera becomes the encryption of what is known and what escapes the frame. With its casually clipped first-person narration, and alternating narrative perspectives, Depth of Field asks questions about the reliability of memory and the conditions of representation. Shutter-speed, aspect ratio, apertures, depth of field, the metrics of light—the mechanisms of photography are allowed to falter just enough to expose the fragility of the images and moments that make up life."
Lukas Jackson is a Sydney-based writer, living on Tharawal Country. His work has appeared in journals and anthologies in Australia and overseas. His story 'Flatrock 1979' was commended in the Carmel Bird Award and published as an ebook by Spineless Wonders.
Judges comment for 99 Names
"Set within the families of Sydney’s Lebanese diaspora, 99 Names is a visceral coming-of-age story. The novel shows how the conflicts and traumas funnel downwards and reach their crisis point in ‘the kid’. The novel vividly evokes the impasses of migrant experience and how these refract through generations. It is a moving story which deals with both the challenges of life’s extremities and the seductions of extremist solutions."
Nakita Kitson is a writer and artist living between the karri forests and coastline on Wadandi Boodjar. Her background as a Literature teacher provides fertile ground for her creative practice, but her main inspiration is the natural environment and the various ways humans interact with it.
Judges comment for Along the Lightning Ridge
"Along the Lightning Ridge is a powerful historical novel set near the southern capes of Western Australia in the early colonial moment. It is a sensitive reimagining of the interface between colonial femininity and its encounter with the radical difference of people and environment. With echoes of the life of Georgiana Molloy, the heroine Georgie catalogues the plants that surround her in this new place and becomes intimately enmeshed in the life of the Noongar whose land she is helping to conquer."
Shey Marque is a poet and former molecular biologist and medical scientist, with interests in cellular memory and the quantum universe. She is currently Deputy Chair of WA Poets Inc, and on the Board of Writing WA. Her poetry appears in major literary journals including Westerly, Meanjin, Southerly, Cordite, Overland, Island, and Australian Poetry Journal. She was the inaugural winner of the QLD Poetry Festival's Emerging Older Poet Award in 2018, won first place in the Blue Nib Poetry Chapbook Award in 2020, long listed for the Fool for Poetry Chapbook Prize 2023, and has twice won the KSP Poetry Prize with short listings in numerous others including the Tom Collins Poetry Prize. Most recently, she was awarded runner-up for the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize 2023. Her first collection, Keeper of the Ritual (UWAP 2019), was shortlisted for the 2018 Noel Rowe Poetry Award.
Judges comment for The Hum Hearers
"Brilliantly observational and meditative, the poems in The Hum Hearers detonate like muffled explosions. Generational trauma is counterbalanced by hidden wells of resilience and subterranean solidarities. The poems, written in sprung prose, offer the counter-memories of women held together by the cycles of life that fall upon them with quiet devastation. The piquant aphorisms and subtle epiphanies in these poems rewrite the banalities of experience in a newly epic register."
Trained as a political scientist, gender scholar and sociologist, Val Colic-Peisker worked as a high school teacher, journalist, radio producer, free-lance author, translator and interpreter, before spending over 20 years as a full-time academic at four Australian universities. During this time, she published about 100 research works, including four books. Her published creative non-fiction includes a book of biographical prose 'Split Lives: Croatian Australian Stories' (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, WA, 2004), an autobiographical chapter commissioned for the collection 'Joyful Strains: Making Australia Home' (Affirm Press, Melbourne, 2013) and a number of newspaper feature articles. At the end of 2020, Val opted out of full-time university job, but remains engaged in research and postgraduate teaching in an honorary and part-time capacity at the University of Melbourne. She now devotes most of her time to her first love, creative writing. 'Francesca Multimortal' is her first novel.
Judges comment for Francesca Multimortal
"Francesca Multimortal is a daring and profound novel that cascades through the reincarnations of Francesca as she lives out her lives at pivotal points in European history. Recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, the latest Francesca is 58 years old and living in Covid-stricken Melbourne. It is from this vantage point that the previous lives unfold with a subtle and mesmerising force. A beautifully realised novel that opens up the dimensions of life and how it is to be a woman."
A passionate environmentalist and activist, Vivienne Glance combines art and activism in her creative practice. She has published short stories, articles and reviews in journals and magazines, including Short Stories Australia, Westerly, Mascara Review, Text, Science Write Now, and Indian Literature. Her two poetry collections are 'The Softness of Water' (Sunline Press), and 'A Simple Rain' (Lethologica Press). Over 20 of her plays have been produced, published or developed in Australia, UK, USA, Canada, and Europe. Vivienne holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Western Australia, where she received the Matilda Award for Cultural Excellence in 2011. She has been an invited writer at the Djerassi Resident Arts Program, USA; The Arts Catalyst, UK; Bush Retreat for Eco-Writers (BREW) NSW, plus other residencies in Australia. 'Semblance' is her first novel and she is honoured that it is shortlisted for the Dorothy Hewett Award.
Judges comment for Semblance
"Semblance is a big-hearted eco-novel set within the battle to save the southern forests of Western Australia. The pacing of the novel, and its sense of moment, makes you feel the urgency of a crisis that moves between its human and more-than-human actors. Semblance pulses with a fierce immediacy, dense with the sense impressions of forest life. It also unfolds as a powerful crime story, but one which asks us to fully understand the nature of crime in the Anthropocene."
Click here to download the media release.