New judges announced for the 30-year anniversary of the City of Fremantle Hungerford Award

Almost three decades ago, Brenda Walker was an aspiring writer who became the very first winner of the City of Fremantle Hungerford Award. Now this multi-award-winning writer and Emeritus Professor, who has recently been chair of the judging panel for the Stella Prize, is a member of the judging panel for the Award’s thirtieth anniversary year. Also new is Sisonke Msimang, South African writer and oral storyteller, while Richard Rossiter – writer, editor and seasoned judge of the Hungerford Award – and our own Fremantle Press publisher, Georgia Richter, will return for another round.

Brenda Walker said that, for her, winning the Hungerford marked a warm welcome into the community of fellow writers and readers. ‘Everything about publication that had seemed to be difficult was suddenly celebratory. Fremantle Press was enjoying striking local and international success and the skill, enthusiasm and broad cultural reach of Fremantle Press that is so visible today has its foundations in that earlier time. There is no better way for a Western Australian writer to make the transition from solitary work to the literary community and the world of readers. I am looking forward to seeing what our new and emerging Western Australian writers are creating – and the ideas and experiences that inspire them.’

The City of Fremantle Hungerford Award offers a cash prize of $15,000 and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press for an unpublished work of adult fiction, narrative non-fiction or young adult fiction.

Fremantle Press publisher Georgia Richter said, ‘The judges for this award have consistently been highly skilled, discerning, capable readers with a sharp eye for new talent. We were delighted when Brenda Walker, now a nationally acclaimed author, agreed to our invitation. Sisonke Msimang was another obvious choice, with her experience at the Centre for Stories, and her finger on the pulse as curator of Perth’s 2020 Literature & Ideas Festival. They will join returning judge Richard Rossiter, an exemplary and valued mentor, teacher and creative writing supervisor, who is a judge of many years experience in this and other awards.’

Richard Rossiter, who will judge the award for the fifth time, said there’s a pleasure and excitement in being involved and gaining some insight into the breadth of the interests of WA writers in both subject and style. Richard said, ‘There’s always the unexpected, something that takes you by surprise. And then to see the emergence of a new writer on the scene – who arrives with a splash. It provides an immediate, high-profile entry into the world of publishing. Careers are launched … It’s of critical importance to the ongoing vibrancy of writing in Western Australia.’

The 2018 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award winner Holden Sheppard had his winning work, Invisible Boys, launched at Fremantle Arts Centre by Mayor Brad Pettitt on 24 October.

Sisonke Msimang said she had developed a close working relationship with Holden, who she mentored in oral storytelling at the Centre for Stories. Sisonke said, ‘I’ll be looking for manuscripts like Invisible Boys – stories that are brave, honest and show raw talent.’

Entries for the award will open Monday 3 February 2020. The terms and conditions are available now and you can sign up to the Fremantle Press enewsletter to stay up to date with the latest information.

The City of Fremantle Hungerford Award is proudly sponsored by the City of Fremantle and Fremantle Press.

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