Six writers secure a place on the Hungerford Award shortlist in bumper year of great Western Australian writing

Yuot Alaak, Zoe Deleuil, Alan Fyfe, Holden Sheppard, Julie Sprigg and Trish Versteegen are in the running for $12,000 in prize money from the City of Fremantle and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. The six new Western Australian writers are shortlisted for the 2018 City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award.

Publisher Georgia Richter said this year’s award had attracted more manuscripts than she’d encountered in the ten years since she became a Hungerford judge.

‘What stood out for me this year was the range and depth of stories. The entries were diverse, and of a very high standard, and I am certainly contemplating that more than one shortlisted manuscript will be considered for publication,’ said Richter.

The settings and focus of each shortlisted title vary widely, and their characters are just as diverse: from a young Australian physiotherapist in Ethiopia to young men exploring their sexual identities in Geraldton; from a new mother in London to the story of a mother and daughter set in Holland and Australia; and from a meth addict in the Peel region to a South Sudanese boy caught up in a civil war.

‘Each manuscript on the shortlist had a wonderful energy about it, and an awareness of audience, that made me feel I was in good hands and, as a reader, very happy to follow where the author led me,’ said Richter.

In August, the Fremantle Council voted unanimously to continue as the naming sponsor of the award for a further six years.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the rise in the number of entries confirmed how important Western Australia’s longest running manuscript award was to local writers and to the Fremantle community in particular. ‘I’m proud to live in a city known for its support of the arts. Many writers call Fremantle home and we are confident that the award will continue to provide an important springboard for some very talented writers.’

The City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award has a proud history of helping authors of outstanding talent at the crucial early stages of their careers. Authors like Gail Jones, Simone Lazaroo, Natasha Lester, Alice Nelson, Kim Scott and Brenda Walker have all either won the award or been shortlisted for it.

The winner of the 2018 City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award will be announced on Thursday 15 November 2018 at Fremantle Arts Centre as part of the Fremantle Press Great Big Book Reads series.

The City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award is given biennially to a full-length manuscript of fiction or narrative non-fiction by a Western Australian author previously unpublished in book form. It is sponsored by the City of Fremantle, Fremantle Press, Fremantle Library and The West Australian.

Download the judge’s report here

The shortlist

Father of the Lost Boys – Yuot Alaak
She Came to Stay – Zoe Deleuil
Floaters – Alan Fyfe
Invisible Boys – Holden Sheppard
Chewing Porridge: fixing up and breaking down in Ethiopia – Julie Sprigg
The Seventh Sister – Trish Versteegen

About the authors

Father of the Lost Boys – Yuot Alaak

Yuot A. Alaak is an emerging Western Australian writer whose short story ‘The lost girl of Pajomba’ was anthologised by Margaret River Press in Ways of Being Here. He was a panelist at the 2017 Perth Writers Festival. Yuot is a former child refugee from South Sudan and was part of the globally known ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’. He lives in Perth with his family where he works as a mining professional, having attained degrees in geosciences and engineering. When not writing or mining, Yuot loves to relax with family and friends over a barbecue. He lives in Banksia Grove.

She Came to Stay – Zoe Deleuil

Zoe Deleuil is a freelance writer with an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. Her feature writing has appeared in many magazines and newspapers, and she has had short stories and poetry published in Westerly, Cordite, and the 2018 Margaret River Press Anthology Pigface and Other Stories. Her novel manuscript, The Back Shed, was shortlisted for the 2012 T.A.G. Hungerford Award. She lives in Perth.

Floaters – Alan Fyfe

Alan Fyfe is an author of journalism, poetry, and prose, who was born in South Perth. He has been published in the Cottonmouth Journal, Pelican, Fremantle Herald, and Westerly. He studied English and philosophy at UWA until 2009, where he won the Sir Karl Popper Prize in Philosophy, and served as editor on the inaugural issue of the UWA creative writing journal, Trove, as well as for the American web journal, Unlikely Stories. He is currently pursuing postgraduate studies in philosophy at UWA and lives with his son in Fremantle.

Invisible Boys – Holden Sheppard

Holden Sheppard is a Perth-based YA author originally from Geraldton, Western Australia. He won the 2017 Ray Koppe Residency Award, resulting in a writing residency at Varuna, the Writers’ House, in early 2018. His work was also Highly Commended in the ASA Emerging Writers’ Mentorship Prize 2018. Holden’s short fiction has been published in indigo and Page Seventeen. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the ABC, DNA Magazine and Faster Louder. After graduating from ECU’s writing program, Holden won a prestigious ArtStart grant from the Australia Council for the Arts in 2015. He lives in Butler.

Chewing Porridge: fixing up and breaking down in Ethiopia – Julie Sprigg

Julie Sprigg has been a physiotherapist, a foreign aid professional, and is now a mother and a bureaucrat. She has written for hippy newspapers and professional publications, and has worked in almost ten developing countries. Chewing Porridge is her first book. She lives in Victoria Park.

The Seventh Sister – Trish Versteegen

Trish Versteegen is a clinical social worker by day and writer by night. She enjoys reading and writing literary fiction and is inspired by the many real-life stories – of relationships, connection and disconnection, crisis and courage – that she has witnessed and worked with over a number of years. She has an interest in the universal and therapeutic power of story and has trained in narrative and family therapies. Trish has degrees in English literature and social work. She has lived and worked in London and Australia and currently lives on the Perth coast in City Beach with her partner and sons.

About T.A.G. Hungerford (1915 – 2011)

T.A.G. Hungerford was widely admired as a quintessential Western Australian writer and identity. He was a major contributor in helping us define our sense of self and place in a rapidly changing world. His first collection of short stories was published in 1976 by Fremantle Press. Stories from Suburban Road, A Knockabout with a Slouch Hat and Red Rover All Over have all been major publishing successes. In 1987, T.A.G. Hungerford was made a member of the Order of Australia. In 2002, he was the recipient of the Patrick White Award and in 2004 he was declared a Western Australian State Living Treasure. He was proud to have the unique WA award for debut writers, the T.A.G. Hungerford Award, named for him. He was always a great supporter of new and emerging writers.

Past winners

1990 Brenda Walker, Crush
1991 Gail Jones, The House of Breathing
1993 Simone Lazaroo, The World Waiting to be Made
1995 Bruce Russell, Jacob’s Air
2000 Christopher Murray, A Whispering of Fish
2002 Nathan Hobby, The Fur
2004 Donna Mazza, The Albanian
2006 Alice Nelson, The Last Sky
2008 Natasha Lester, What is Left Over, After
2010 Jacqueline Wright, Red Dirt Talking
2012 Robert Edeson, The Weaver Fish
2014 Madelaine Dickie, Troppo
2016 Jay Martin, Vodka and Apple Juice: travels of an Undiplomatic Wife in Poland

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