Perth writer joins best young Australian novelist list

Fremantle Press author Alice Nelson will be presented with an award for best young Australian novelist at the Sydney Writers Festival this week.

Nelson will be honoured alongside Nam Le, Kevin Rabalais and Steve Toltz at the International Voices event on Saturday 23 May.

The Sydney Morning Herald best young Australian novelist award is given to a published fiction writer under the age of 35. Previous winners include Markus Zusak, Sonya Hartnett, Chloe Hooper and Christos Tsiolkas as well as Fremantle Press author Craig Silvey for Rhubarb.

The manuscript for The Last Sky was shortlisted for an Australian / Vogel Award and won the T.A.G. Hungerford Award in 2007. The published book was also shortlisted for a Barbara Jefferis Award in 2008.

Nelson will appear at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24.

What the judges said: In this rich and evocative novel, Nelson moves her narrative easily between Perth and China, between the past and the future, juxtaposing the inner life of her protagonist, Maya Wise, with the political upheaval of the Hong Kong handover. The themes of exile and dislocation are cleverly drawn and Maya’s imagined wanderings into wartime Shanghai give her refuge in someone’s else’s past. The language displays great restraint as well as a real lyrical beauty.

Books discussed
The Last Sky

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