- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
The Earth Does Not Get Fat
She looked like someone who has had a hard life and no money to take care of herself, like a broken woman at the end of the world, dead on her feet, skin slapped over her bones like white paint, old white paint, slightly yellow. Her shoulders and collarbones were sticking out of her skin like … like nothing. There is nothing I know that is as awful as her bones poking out of her dirty yellow chicken-skin.
Chelsea doesn’t attend school much any more. She is carer for her mother who is sinking further into depression after a trauma, and her Grandad who has slipped into full-blown dementia. Her father is long gone; others are shadowy memories – intangible like dreams. Barely known ghosts make for strange company. Then a parcel arrives, and in it are questions—about her mother and her past self, their shared histories, and the people and place from which they’ve run.
The Earth Does Not Get Fat is a powerful and gut-wrenching debut about intense suffering and love—fierce, searing love.
Praise for The Earth Does Not Get Fat:
A tale of dark family secrets, yet also a tale imbued with awe and wonder at life’s mysteries. Prendergast vests her traumatised characters with dignity, and writes them with deep affection and understanding. Poetic, yet earthed, driven by a raw intensity, this impressive debut novel burns with love.ARNOLD ZABLE
A lyrical portrait of love among the ruins.AMANDA LOHREY
Julia Prendergast is a real writer who writes about real life. There was a time when real life was to be sneered at, undeserving of an artist's attention. Fortunately life keeps insisting on our regard and Prendergast gives it that. She will be in the top echelon of Australian writers.BRUCE PASCOE
Julia Prendergast handles her themes - love and loss, independence and responsibility, fact and fantasy - with considerable skill. The darkness of her subject-matter is offset by the vigour of the language, the flashes of humour and the unmistakable compassion that underpins the narrative as a whole. An impressive debut.JEM POSTER