Hopeless Kingdom by Kgshak Akec cover

Hopeless Kingdom

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Kgshak Akec

Shortlisted for the 2023 Miles Franklin Literary Award

Winner of The 2021 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript

Akita’s family have always kept moving to survive. Sudan to Cairo. Cairo to Sydney. Sydney to Geelong.

Each new place challenges Akita, her siblings and her parents. Just when eight-year-old Akita is feeling settled for the first time in her life, her parents decide to relocate to Geelong. The move is the beginning of a downward spiral that threatens to unravel the fabric of their family and any hope for finding peace and belonging. Told through the interchanging perspectives of Akita and her mother, Taresai, this coming of age story shines a light on the generational curses of trauma, complex family dynamics, and how it feels to love someone unconditionally, even when it hurts. Individually, the female narrators experience racism, rejection and despair, but together their narratives reveal a resilience of spirit and determination to transcend expectations of what a daughter, a sister, and a mother can be. Hopeless Kingdom gives a voice to the silent heartache of searching for acceptance in an adopted society which can’t look past the surface of skin colour.


Hopeless Kingdom is the winner of the 2021 Dorothy Hewett Award. Inspired by the author’s own experience of migration from Africa to Australia, this story signals a powerful new voice in Australian writing.

From the Dorothy Hewett Award judges: “Akec’s story is a powerful and timely exploration of belonging, race, gender and migration … and contrasts the lives of the mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers and cousins in this family through form and language, conjuring a powerful refraction of the experiences of African Australian women. Her storytelling is deeply personal, as well as relatable and insightful.”


Click here to read an extract.


"Sounding with humanity and hope, Hopeless Kingdom is a novel of national significance which gives voice to silent memories of migration and ultimately transforms the Australian literary landscape." - Miles Franklin Literary Award Judges


 "A shining debut novel. Akec’s prose is captivating and draws you in." - Nasteho Said, Kill Your Darlings


" Akec is an expert in building subtle tension... a powerfully discerning novel that captures both the devastating lows of familial love, and the small pockets of joy that make a life worth living." - Shaeden Berry, Westerly Mag

"Hopeless Kingdom has much to say about the migrant experience and the process of making a new home. But the novel is not just about that. It is also a generously imagined and deeply affecting portrait of family and growing into oneself." - Ned Hirst, Arts Hub


"...a conjuring, knowing exploration of race, migration, gender and belonging. It is generous. This novel is not just read, but fallen into – to re-emerge is to live with greater knowledge of migrant experiences held inside this country." - Elsie Lange, Star Weekly


Book details

GENRE: Fiction, commercial fiction, Australian
FORMAT: Paperback
EXTENT: 324 pages
SIZE: C format paperback, 234 x 153 mm
ISBN: 978-1-76080-215-8