Persistence has paid off for Maria Papas who has won the City of Fremantle Hungerford Award a decade after she made the shortlist for the first time around.
Karrinyup author Maria Papas has won the 2020 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award for her manuscript I Belong to the Lake. She takes home a $15,000 cash prize and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. Papas is no stranger to the thrill of making the Hungerford shortlist, having had her previous manuscript on the list in 2010. While confessing that she submitted her latest novel just twenty minutes before entries closed, Papas says she hopes her win will convince other writers to stay committed, keep learning and keep going.
Judged anonymously, the biennial prize is in its 30th year and is presented to an emerging West Australian writer for their first full-length, unpublished work of fiction or narrative non-fiction.
Fremantle Press publisher and Hungerford judge Georgia Richter said this year’s winning novel was moving, subtle and skilful. Richter said: ‘I Belong to the Lake explores a family’s experience of childhood leukaemia. It’s about the bond forged by two teenagers hovering on the periphery of their siblings’ illness and it captures some of those unseen long-term changes wrought in families affected by cancer.’
The winner was announced at a ceremony at Fremantle Arts Centre last night.
Former winners include Natasha Lester, Gail Jones, and Miles Franklin winner Kim Scott identified for publication from the Hungerford shortlist.
About the winner
Maria Papas’s stories and essays have appeared in a number of Australian and international journals including Griffith Review, Axon, 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 previously been longlisted for the Australian/Vogel Literary Award and 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.