2022 Richell Prize Shortlist Revealed


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Hachette Australia and the Emerging Writers’ Festival have announced the finalists for the 2022 Richell Prize.

The six shortlisted authors, chosen from a long list of 20 announced in September, are:

  • Hajer Al-awsi for ‘Zainab’s Not Home’: ‘Readers get a glimpse of life with constant tension as they are caught between two cultures and an understanding of Iraqi-Australian life. The skillful use of dialogue gave the story credibility that increased reader engagement. The powerful examination of religious expectations, the constraints of religion and tradition on sexuality, the confronting reality of domestic and emotional abuse, and the complexities of finding your place and sense of self in modern Australia are revealed in scenes that will linger for a long time for everyone. judges’
  • Susannah Begbie for ‘When the Trees Fall Without Warning’: ‘A fresh, original story that offers memorable insight into dysfunctional family dynamics. A novel that shows what happens when a family is forced together and the power of greed to motivate. The writer demonstrates great skill in crafting wonderful, complex characters and a plot that reveals the best and worst of humanity. It’s an expertly told, compelling and entertaining story and every judge wanted to hear more’
  • Kate Harris for ‘Wake’: ‘A powerful, character-driven novel showing a talented writer who confidently twists the missing girl trope to take readers through a journey of post-traumatic healing. With a believable and flawed main character, whose life will be forever marred by a horrific crime, this novel shows the ongoing effects of trauma and with it delivers a writer with the promise of so much more.
  • Eva Lomski for ‘Place Setting’: ‘The writing presented in this collection of short stories is breathtaking. Using the idea of ​​what determines a sense of place to connect a disparate series of characters, this writer’s talent brings to life situations of uncertainty, fear, connection and separation as the reader is guided to expertly through sets that are instantly alive.
  • Anne Myers for ‘The Little Ones’: ‘A delightfully told memoir about miscarriage, bereavement and mothering that is emotionally memorable. At times terrifyingly honest, it’s a beautifully crafted work, the writing is assured and reminded the judges of Jessie Cole and Helen Garner in her combination of talent and insight. Profound, unforgettable and a memoir that will resonate with many’
  • Lisa Nan Joo (shortlisted as Lisa Dowdall) for ‘The Medusa’: ‘A seemingly effortless novel that combines a dark mystery with a contemporary thread has intrigued and kept all the judges turning the page for answers . This writer had a perfect command of the story and the combination of this beautiful writing and characters that carry mystery delighted everyone”.

The jury for 2022 includes Melanie Barton of Target Australia; Barbara Horgan of Beaufort Street Books; editor and writer Bianca Valentino; Hachette Australia publisher Vanessa Radnidge; and author Hannah Richell.

“We have never underestimated the courage it takes to submit work or taken for granted the privilege of judging the Richell Prize,” the judges said. “By judging the work of each writer, we not only honor their work, but also the memory of Matt Richell, a man who continually encouraged and promoted emerging writers, which lends even greater emotional weight to the task.

“It was difficult to narrow down the shortlist to six writers due to the impressive work recognized on the longlist. However, after much debate and discussion, these six shortlisted writers exemplify the quality and depth of contemporary Australian writing. The six writers show exceptional talent and storytelling power. Congratulations to all of you.

The winner receives $10,000 in prize money as well as a 12-month mentorship with one of Hachette’s editors. Hachette will work with the winning writer to develop their manuscript, with the first option considering finished work and shortlisted entries for publication.

Now in its eighth year, the Richell Prize was established in memory of the late CEO of Hachette Australia, Matt Richell. It has been awarded to writers such as Else Fitzgerald, Ruth McIver, Sam Coley, Aisling Smith and 2021 winner Simone Jordan.

The winner will be announced on Thursday, November 3. For more information, visit the Hachette website.

Category: Awards Local News


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