The 2024 Dorothy Hewett Award shortlist

DHA2024 shortlist

UWA Publishing, with the support of the Copyright Agency, is excited to be announcing the shortlist for the 2024 Dorothy Hewett Award. The shortlist is as follows:

  • The Protector of Fledglings by Angella Whitton, NSW
  • Vanishment by Jeremy Tager, QLD
  • Past and Parallel Lives by Kaya Ortiz, WA
  • The Lost House by Kimberley Lipschus, NSW
  • The Fear of Empty Spaces by Rachel Bowman, QLD
  • My Heart is a Plastic Shoe by Rhian Healy, WA

The judging panel for the 2024 Award is Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, Astrid Edwards, Thuy On and Kate Pickard. The judges were heartened by the number of submissions to the Dorothy Hewett Award, well over 200 – across all categories: fiction, narrative non-fiction and poetry. Bringing the numbers down to a shortlist was a difficult and at times contentious exercise but we are confident the six proffered here are a sterling representation of all that is good in Australian literature today. More information about the judges can be found on the Dorothy Hewett Award Instagram page.

In 2023, the judges announced Queensland writer Kirsty Iltners as the winner of the award for her manuscript Depth of Field which was recently published at the beginning of May. The inaugural winner of the award was Josephine Wilson for her manuscript Extinctions which went on to win the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

The award is named after Dorothy Hewett (1923-2002) who is considered one of Australia’s most important writers, her work challenging the norms of 20th century Australian culture. The Dorothy Hewett Award is open to Australian writers of fiction, narrative non-fiction and poetry and the winner will receive $10,000 courtesy of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and a publishing contract with UWA Publishing.

UWA Publishing sends a warm thank you to the Copyright Agency for its ongoing support for the Dorothy Hewett Award. The winner will be announced in June.



Judges’ comments:

The Protector of Fledglings by Angella Whitton

Frances, a socially withdrawn librarian, sees her brother in the park one afternoon. Only, her brother had died when he was a child. Was Frances seeing a ghost? Had there been some incredible mistake? Yet she is sure this man is her brother. Reminiscent of a number of recent Japanese novels, the world of Frances is both haunted and humorous. A tender story of mystery and self-discovery.


Vanishment by Jeremy Tager

Vanishment is 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.


Past and Parallel Lives by Kaya Ortiz

Past & Parallel Lives is a poetic offering that thrums in liminal spaces. It’s about the migratory experience, the queer body, the unfixed, confused identity carving a space in the world. It’s about borrowed languages, (un)belonging, and attempts of navigating treacherous cultural and racial expectations with courage and grace.


The Lost House by Kimberley Lipschus

This epic novel unfolds with the uncanny precision of a fairytale. Olivia falls into in a dam and is rushed to hospital in a coma. Yet in another dimension, Olivia meets Jack, a boy living on his own in an abandoned house by a waterhole. Yet Jack has been living in this house for fifty-nine years. Where and what is this lost house? A spellbinding story of arrested life.


The Fear of Empty Spaces by Rachel Bowman

This haunting historical novel is set in the station country of the east Murchison (Yamatji Country) in the 1930s and 40s. In the story of a missing woman, the novel evokes the hopes and sensibilities, as well as the prejudices and silences, of this era. The novel teases you to think that there is nothing quite as full as an empty space.


My Heart is a Plastic Shoe by Rhian Healy

My Heart is a Plastic Shoe is a collection of poetry that explores the beauty, tenacity and wilfulness of mother earth and her bounties. Even a quick scan of its titles tell us that there will be odes about cabbage moths, flying fish, wattlebirds and birds of paradise. It sensitively captures the moods and impulses of humans and other living specimens.


Download the full media release for more information, including the shortlisted writers' bios.

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