Perseverance might pay for the three new and three known young Western Australian writers on this year’s Fogarty Literary Award shortlist

Fremantle Press and the Fogarty Foundation are delighted to announce the six outstanding authors whose manuscripts are in the running to receive a cash prize of $20,000 and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. The Fogarty Literary Award is a biennial prize for an unpublished manuscript by a Western Australian author aged between 18 and 35 for a work of fiction, narrative non-fiction or young adult fiction. It is designed to encourage and support young and emerging writers to tell their stories and to bring to life some of the amazing stories of our community.

In alphabetical order by surname, the 2023 Fogarty Literary Award shortlist is:

Katherine Allum (Nedlands) for The Skeleton House

Prema Arasu (Perth) for The Anatomy of Witchcraft

Josh Kemp (Bunbury) for Jasper Cliff

Patrick Marlborough (Fremantle) for Nock Loose

Karleah Olson (Duncraig) for A Wreck of Seabirds

Emily Paull (Bayswater) for The Dreamers

Fremantle Press publisher and Fogarty Literary Award judge Georgia Richter said half of those shortlisted were published writers who had previously appeared on Fogarty Literary Award lists. ‘This has been a wonderful opportunity to revisit the writing of longlisted author Josh Kemp, highly commended writer Emily Paull and shortlisted writer Patrick Marlborough. Not only has it confirmed their talent, which we noted in previous years, but it has shown how dedication to their craft results in engaging and accomplished storytelling.’

Richter said the judges were equally excited by the three new names on the shortlist, Katherine Allum, Prema Arasu and Karleah Olson. She said, ‘You’ll note that the shortlist is double the size of previous shortlists. That’s because the calibre was very high this year and every manuscript deserved its place.’

Richter said the prevalence of genre fiction in this year’s Fogarty entries was reflected in the shortlist, which includes two fantasy YA novels, a crime novel, and a historical romance in addition to a work of contemporary fiction. Richter said a theme running through the list was an interest in depicting small communities. She said, ‘Katherine Allum’s The Skeleton House is a meticulous and restrained novel showing a menacing side to life in small-town America, while Josh Kemp’s gothic Australian crime novel Jasper Cliff takes us to somewhere near Marble Bar where an ancient storehouse of bad memories ambushes the unaware. Another work of gothic Australian literature, the YA novel A Wreck of Seabirds by Karleah Olson takes us to a brooding West Australian coastal town where Briony and Ren bond over the loss of their siblings. Meanwhile in the comic novel Nock Loose, by Patrick Marlborough, a former archer and stuntwoman seeks revenge during a regional medieval festival. Prema Arasu takes colonial history, gender politics and impressive world-building into the boarding school in their absorbing fantasy novel The Anatomy of Witchcraft while Emily Paull’s heart-warming historical fiction novel The Dreamers, explores how love triumphs over old enmities and class conflicts, as played out against the backdrop of the Second World War.’

Katherine Allum completed her MA in Literary Novels at City University London. Prema Arasu has a PhD in Creative Writing from UWA and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Minderoo-UWA Deep-Sea Research centre. Josh Kemp was a 2019 Fogarty Literary Award longlistee and was the 2021 Dorothy Hewett Award co-winner. Patrick Marlborough is a writer, comedian, journalist, critic and musician whose work has been published in many national and international publications. They were shortlisted for the 2021 Fogarty Literary Award. Karleah Olson is a PhD candidate at Edith Cowan University, where she is studying Australian Coastal Gothic literature. Emily Paull is a Western Australian librarian, author and book reviewer whose debut collection of short fiction, Well-Behaved Women, was published in 2019. She was highly commended in the 2021 Fogarty Literary Award.

The 2023 Fogarty Literary Award judges were Georgia Richter and Cate Sutherland of Fremantle Press along with Brooke Dunnell, winner of the 2021 Fogarty Literary Award for The Glass House

The 2023 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 Thursday 25 May 2023. Tickets are free, but places are limited. RSVP on Eventbrite or by emailing

The Fogarty Foundation was established by Brett and Annie Fogarty in 2000 to support and provide educational and leadership opportunities for young people across the spectrum of the Western Australian community. As well as partnering with a range of organisations, the foundation has initiated its own programs that include the UWA Fogarty Scholarship Program, CoderDojo WA and Fogarty EDvance.

Read the 2023 Fogarty Literary Award Judges Report.

For more information, contact Claire Miller: or 0419 837 841.

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