Getting to know 2024 DHA shortlistee, Jeremy Tager

DHA2024 Interview Jeremy Tager Samantha Hearn The Dorothy Hewett Award

Vanishment by Jeremy Tager is an ecological and environmental-based unpublished novel manuscript that is shortlisted for the 2024 Dorothy Hewett Award. In this mini-interview, Tager shares what it feels like to be shortlisted and the inspiration behind the novel.  


Jeremy Tager's headshotJeremy Tager's bio: I have a degree in literature and a Juris Doctor in law. I am an environmental activist, a pretty incurable romantic, a fair musician, and I love nothing more than another mystery to celebrate. I have worked for Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, in Australia and overseas, on many of the most important environmental issues, including the Great Barrier Reef, overfishing, illegal timber, land clearing and climate change. I have worked on food and agricultural issues in many countries, including the US, Europe, China, India and Iran and been an environment advisor for both the Greens and Australian Democrats. 


Vanishment is set within the true story of the avoidable extinction of the Christmas Island pipistrelle. The story follows Jamie through the various stages of his life - boy, ecologist, academic and single father – as he experiences the many shapes of love and the many demons of loss. He grapples with our indifference to nature and the brutality embedded in our culture and politics. At every stage he finds love – of place and people – and at every stage he confronts loss and his failure to protect what he loves, including the pipistrelle. Each time he is a little stronger, a little wiser. He will not lose his 5 year old daughter. The 2024 Dorothy Hewett Award judges describe Vanishment as "a novel of ecology and the environment, and also of surprises. The work deftly weaves unexpected viewpoints not often seen in Australian literature, and questions the structures of our lives, including academia and the act of whistleblowing."

UWA Publishing intern, Samantha Hearn, interviewed Jeremy about his shortlisting: 

Samantha: How do you feel about being shortlisted for the Dorothy Hewett Award? 

Jeremy: I'm incredibly pleased and excited to have been shortlisted. Immediately after I heard, I flapped around like a headless chook. Who do I call? What do I do? 

Writing a novel is primarily a solo expedition and approaching publishers is one of the more thankless tasks that writing brings. Too often, years of writing, repairing, rewriting and editing is met with silence. Being shortlisted is deeply validating and being shortlisted for a national award, even more so. 


S: What inspired you to submit a novel based on ecology and the environment? 

J: I've been an environmental activist for many years. It is a world of incredible stories, adventures, conflicts and situations that are politically, socially and psychologically charged in many different ways. 

When a friend who had been the chief ecologist on Christmas Island, told me his experience of the extinction of the Christmas Island pipistrelle – Australia's most recent mammalian extinction and one that could have been avoided, I knew this was a story I needed to tell. 


S: How did you find out about the Dorothy Hewett Award? 

J: I found out about the Dorothy Hewett award from the Queensland Writers' Centre newsletter. 


Vanishment is an unpublished novel manuscript shortlisted for the 2024 Dorothy Hewett Award. The winner will be announced in June. Find out more about the 2024 Dorothy Hewett Award shortlist including the official media release.

Samantha Hearn is a Curtin University student who is in her final semester of postgraduate studies, completing an MA of Arts, majoring in Professional Writing and Publishing. She has a love for reading, writing and literature (specifically in the fiction genres) and has a passion to work within the publishing industry.  

Samantha Hearn | LinkedIn



Check out our interviews with the other 5 shortlisted writers:

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