Meet writer Georgia Tree who is shortlisted for the 2021 Fogarty Literary Award
Georgia (she/her) works as a policy adviser for Madeleine King MP, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Trade and Resources in the Australian parliament. She is a political activist, unionist and feminist. Georgia completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in Creative Writing in 2013. She later attended the summer program at the London School of Economics in 2019, studying Trade, Development and the Environment, which contributed to her Master of International Relations and National Security at Curtin University, which she completed in 2020. In her spare time, Georgia runs a feminist book club and a blog. In this Q&A she tells us more about her shortlisted manuscript, Old Boy.
Describe your manuscript in your own words.
We follow Grant through childhood to adulthood in post–Vietnam War Perth. We experience his losses, loneliness and destruction. We see the small beauties in the world that he finds, in music and in surfing. We grieve with him at rock bottom in a near-uninhabitable Fremantle Prison, and then will him on, in his determination to turn his life around, riding the momentum of the Pilbara mining boom. At the same time, we follow Charlie, a notorious heroin smuggler. Their stories intertwine and, though similar in the beginning, deviate on wildly different paths. One story ends in triumph, while the other ends in destruction.
What inspired you to write it?
My dad has always said, ‘Georgia will write my story one day.’ I don’t know if he expected me to pull through like this! I wanted to tell his story because I think it’s human – flawed and compelling. And it tells a story about Perth at that particular intersection of history that I don’t think has been told before.
How long have you been working on it?
The entire process took about 18 months.
What does it mean to you to make the shortlist of the 2021 Fogarty Literary Awards?
I am still in shock, honestly! My ambition was to make the shortlist, but I knew the competition would be tough and I was aiming high. So it was really more about giving myself parameters to work within and the process more than anything. The fact I actually made it – and I’m only one of three – is unreal.
The 2021 winner of the Fogarty Literary Award will be announced by Annie Fogarty as part of the next Fremantle Press Great Big Book Read at ECU’s Spiegeltent, on Wednesday 2 June 2021. Tickets are free, but places are limited. RSVP on Eventbrite (https://fogarty2021.eventbrite.com.au) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.