The City of Fremantle Hungerford Award celebrates 30 years of literary excellence with the announcement of an all-female shortlist

Sharron Booth, Joanna Morrison and Maria Papas are in the running for $15,000 in prize money from the City of Fremantle and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. All three Western Australian writers are shortlisted for the 2020 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award, which is now in its thirtieth year.

Fremantle Press Publisher Georgia Richter said the shortlist is once again a cohort of strong and exciting manuscripts. Richter said, ‘Sharron Booth’s historical novel, The Silence of Water, is an exploration of exile and belonging; Joanna Morrison’s off-beat crime novel, Still Dark, revives old friendships via an inventive mode of narration; and in I Belong to the Lake, Maria Papas’s literary fiction skilfully traverses the experiences of what it is like to be a child with a sibling who is dangerously ill.’

Richter said this year’s Award attracted 66 manuscripts by debut Western Australian writers. She said, ‘Since I began judging the award in 2008, the standard of entries has been consistently high and demonstrates that many entrants have the capacity to write, shape and polish a book-length manuscript to an impressive standard. The writers who entered are to be congratulated on their achievement in doing just that.’

The City of Fremantle 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, Donna Mazza, Alice Nelson, Kim Scott and Brenda Walker have all either won the award or been shortlisted for it.

City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said he was looking forward to announcing the winner at the end of October. He said, ‘Holden Sheppard’s book Invisible Boys, which won the last round of the Hungerford, went on to collect awards, accolades and a film and television deal. The City is proud to support an award that makes readers and the publishing industry sit up and take notice of talented new Western Australian authors.’

The City of Fremantle 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biennially to a full-length manuscript of fiction or narrative non-fiction by a Western Australian author previously unpublished in book form.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 and Fremantle Press. This year’s judges were Georgia Richter with Sisonke Msimang, Richard Rossiter and the inaugural winner of the Hungerford, Brenda Walker.

The winner of the 2020 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award will be announced on Thursday 22 October at Fremantle Arts Centre.

About the shortlisted authors

The Silence of Water – Sharron Booth

Sharron Booth was born in Yorkshire and emigrated with her family to Western Australia in the 1970s. Her fiction and creative non-fiction have been published in The Australian, Southerly, LiNQ and other journals, and broadcast on ABC Radio. Her short fiction has been recognised in the annual Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writers’ Centre short fiction competition. She is a former writer in residence at KSP Writers’ Centre and has recently completed her PhD.

Still Dark – Joanna Morrison

Joanna Morrison is a writer and freelance editor based in Perth, Western Australia. Jo worked as a journalist before completing a master’s degree and then a PhD in Creative Writing at Murdoch University. Her published fiction includes ‘Night Road to Ceduna’ (Westerly, 2016), ‘This Old Thing’ (Best Prose Piece, Meniscus, 2018) and ‘Of the Water’ (shortlisted for the Margaret River Press Short Story Competition in 2017 and anthologised in Margaret River Press’s 2017 Joiner Bay and Other Stories). Visit Jo’s website:

I Belong to the Lake – Maria Papas

Maria Papas’s stories and essays have appeared in a number of Australian and international journals including Griffith Review, Axon Journal, The Letters Page, The West Australian, SBS online and Review of Australian Fiction. In 2011 her play Arbour Day won the Maj Monologues competition. She has also previously been shortlisted for the T.A.G. Hungerford Award. She has recently completed a PhD at the University of Western Australia.

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. His books 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.

Download a copy of the judge’s report here

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
2018 Holden Sheppard, Invisible Boys


Books discussed
The Albanian
The Weaver Fish
The Last Sky
Vodka and Apple Juice: Travels of an Undiplomatic Wife in Poland

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