Indonesia manuscript wins Hungerford

Madelaine Dickie is the winner of the City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award. The 28-year-old Broome resident won the award for her manuscript Troppo, a work of fiction focusing on Australia’s relationship with Indonesia.

Dickie received a Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award to complete the manuscript in West Java. She said Troppo was her attempt to define the mysterious magnetism and complicated ties that Australians had to Indonesia – a personal quest that began after someone she knew was killed in the Bali bombings.

‘Despite the fact that so many Australians travel to Indonesia for holidays and to surf, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of literature exploring this connection,’ said Dickie.

‘It’s much more powerful than simply the promise of cheap airfares and cocktails, or flawless world-class surf. Troppo tries to pin it, this elusive magic, [and] explores the complex relationship we have with Indonesia – both politically and socially,’ said Dickie.

Dickie, who has visited and lived in Indonesia on and off for around three years, said much of the background material for Troppo was teased out over many cups of sweet black coffee with her Indonesian lecturers and friends at Universitas Padjadjaran and Universitas Islam Bandung in West Java.

‘I was able to sharpen some of the finer philosophical points in the book, particularly in relation to Islam and traditional beliefs, Islam and fundamentalism and Islam and women,’ said Dickie.

The winner was announced by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt at Fremantle Arts Centre on Thursday 12 March. Mayor Pettitt praised the shortlisted contenders for their hard work, talent and determination.

‘The City of Fremantle is proud to sponsor the T.A.G. Hungerford Award which actively supports writers who are just beginning their careers. Congratulations to Madelaine and to all the finalists who have, hopefully, years ahead of them to contribute to this art form,’ said Mayor Pettitt.

The shortlisted contenders for the award were Louise Allan for Ida’s Children, Portland Jones for Seeing the Elephant, Mihaela Nicolescu for Other Place and Nicole Sinclair for All That’s Gone Before.

The Hungerford is given biennially to a full-length manuscript of fiction or creative non-fiction, by a Western Australian author previously unpublished in book form. It is sponsored by the City of Fremantle, Fremantle Press, writingWA and The West Australian. The award is judged anonymously and this year’s judges were Delys Bird, Susan Midalia, Richard Rossiter and Fremantle Press publisher Georgia Richter. The winner receives $12,000 from the City of Fremantle plus a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. Troppo will be published in 2016.

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