Chapter One is the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) publication pathway for emerging writers. The prize is open to authors who have written a poetry collection, literary novel, short story collection, or a hybrid work that crosses genre boundaries. The AAWP is delighted to partner with University of Western Australia Press (UWAP) to provide this publication pathway for emerging writers. Thank you to all authors for diverse and polished contributions. Thank you to the judges for donating precious time to support emerging writers.
The winner of the ‘Chapter One’ prize is Joshua Kemp for Boneyard. Joshua receives a $500 cash prize and fully subsidised conference fees to attend the annual conference of the AAWP (November 2017), where he is invited to read from his work. The University of Western Australia Press agrees to assess Joshua’s manuscript as a matter of priority. This year the judges awarded a highly commended entry: Melanie Pryor for Girl, Swimming. The University of Western Australia Press is also happy to assess Melanie’s manuscript, as a matter of priority.
As the competition was tightly contested, we encourage submission in consecutive years.
From the judges:
Boneyard impresses immediately with a style that is both simple and pared back, yet distinctive, ‘tactile’ and very forceful. The vocabulary is spare, but very vivid, and works by a careful selection of very telling images, presented with an impressive brevity and vividness.
The writing offers a special kind of intimacy – a closeness and responsiveness to the sights, sounds and scenes of the novel, which seems at times almost onomatopoeic – and offers the perfect, inviting medium for the story, the characters and the core concerns to follow, as set out in the synopsis. The language itself offers the feeling that the writer is somehow ‘down here’, with the characters, with the kind of closeness and intimacy you can usually only achieve with a first person narrative. The writer trusts the characters to speak in their own voice, and to define themselves through dialogue. Authorial intrusion or commentary is minimal, throughout. ‘Semi-autobiographical’ – as indicated in the synopsis – is usually a recipe for literary disaster. We see no sign of it, in this case.
Girl, Swimming is fearless, imaginative, ‘transformative’ and unusual. This is a familiar world—but not one that is seen in a familiar way.
About the author of Boneyard:
Joshua Kemp is an author of Australian Gothic and crime fiction. His short stories have appeared in Overland, Seizure and Tincture. He’s been shortlisted for the S. D. Harvey Award and longlisted for the Margaret River Short Story Competition. He is currently doing his PhD at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.
About the author of Girl, Swimming:
Melanie Pryor is a Creative Writing PhD candidate. Her research project, comprised of a travel memoir entitled Girl, Swimming and an accompanying critical exegesis, examines gender, walking, and landscape in contemporary memoir. Melanie teaches in Creative Writing and English Literature, and is a member of Flinders University’s Life Narrative Research Group.
Melanie is a Co-Founder of The Hearth, an Adelaide-based creative readings event. Her personal essays and literary fiction have been published in Overland, Southerly, and Lip, and her academic writing in a/b: Auto/Biography Studies.