Meet the Hungerford judges: Catherine Noske
Fremantle Press meets Dr Catherine Noske, one of the judges of the 2018 City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award.
Dr Catherine Noske is a lecturer in Creative Writing and editor of Westerly at the University of Western Australia. Her research focuses on contemporary Australian writing of place, and has been awarded the A.D. Hope Prize from the Association for the Study of Australian Literature. She has been a committee member for the Australian Short Story Festival, a judge of the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards, and is a board member for writingWA and A Maze of Story. She has twice been awarded the Elyne Mitchell Prize for Rural Women Writers, and her current manuscript, a novel, was awarded a Varuna fellowship and shortlisted for the 2015 Dorothy Hewett Award.
How long have you been associated with the Hungerford Award?
This is the first year I have been associated with the Hungerford Award, but I have watched it from afar for a long time.
What are you most looking forward to as a Hungerford judge?
I am most looking forward to the reading! Given the Western Australian focus of the award, I am curious to see whether or not a distinct Western Australian voice can be felt moving among the various forms of the submissions. I’m also looking forward to the energy that emerging writing brings with it – the experimentation, the originality and the new perspectives which come out. Western Australia has such a dynamic emerging writers scene, and it is great to be working with an award that looks to support this work!
What do you look for when judging a manuscript?
I look first for a work which is complete in and of itself, has a sense of polish and coherency. Basic issues with expression, structure and grammar are big problems for me, as they disturb the reader’s ability to immerse themselves in a narrative. Secondly, I look for a work which is convinced by its own story, which believes in the importance of what it has to say. This is to me what makes a story compelling, whether this is a narrative of human rights or a nursery rhyme. And finally, I look for the quality of the writing, the beauty and originality of the work itself.
What are you reading right now?
Right now, I am reading Ruby Langford Ginibi’s Don’t Take Your Love to Town – a book I’ve read before, but in which I am finding plenty that is new and relevant.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just a word of encouragement – you never know how far your manuscript might travel until you send it out into the world! It is hard as an unpublished writer to have faith in the value of your own work, and rejection is a constant. But rejection doesn’t mean your work doesn’t have quality. It often just means you haven’t found the right fit. Don’t let hesitation dictate your writing! And give it a shot!