Emerging Queensland Writer – Manuscript Award shortlist

Anna Jacobson

Anna Jacobson for How to Knit a Human

About the author

Anna Jacobson is a Brisbane based poet, writer, and artist. Her poetry has been published in literary journals including CorditeRabbit, Australian Poetry Journal, Tincture and Verity La and is forthcoming in Meanjin. She is one of The Red Room Company’s commissioned poets for ‘Poetry Object 2017’. In 2016 she was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Young Writers and Publishers Award, the Scribe Nonfiction Prize and the University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize. Anna was shortlisted for the 2015 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. She is currently undertaking her Master of Philosophy (Creative Practice), specialising in poetry at QUT.

Judges’ comments:

How to Knit a Human is a moving and beautifully crafted memoir of a young woman’s close encounter with mental illness and her attempts to piece together the lost months of her life. The prose is clear and immediate and supported by vivid imagery and unusual insight. Using the metaphor of knitting, which the author takes up as she is recovering, it weaves together Jewish culture, the writer’s creative journey and an exploration of mental illness. This is a remarkable and ultimately uplifting story that deftly combines a literary narrative structure with life writing.

Janet Lee

Janet Lee for The Killing of Louisa

Janet Lee’s award-winning short fiction has been published in national and international anthologies. Her short story, The Shepherd, won the 2016 Boroondara Literary Award. Earlier this year, Janet received a Doctorate of Creative Arts for her thesis, ‘Cassandra Austen- Jane’s Muse?’.  She has recently been awarded a 2017 Varuna Fellowship. Janet lives in south east Queensland with two dogs, 13 very spoilt chickens and her family, who periodically come home to graze.

Judges’ Comments:

This high quality work of historical fiction offers a superior blending of narrative tension and strong research. It also offers a clear and convincing voice in the character of Louisa Collins who has been sentenced to hang for the murder of her two husbands in late 19th century Sydney. The author shows great control of character, plot and narrative through the novel. The Killing of Louisa follows the tradition of Burial Rites and Alias Grace, with one woman unfairly sent to death by men in the judiciary. This novel provides a creative re-imagining of colonial Australia, rich with historical detail and high drama.

Ben Marshall

Ben Marshall for The Fox

About the author

Ben Marshall is an ex-Remote Area Nurse, who fell into scriptwriting via consulting for a medical drama. His television writing spans 20 years and includes credits for Shortland Street, Neighbours, various childrens’ series and an award-winning short film, True Love, produced by Ignition Films. Marshall’s novel writing draws from this experience. His characters drive the plots, and he uses multiple points of view to investigate a wide range of subjects across many genres. The Fox is part of a trilogy set around the Pacific during WWII.

Judges’ Comments:

The Fox is a coming-of-age historical novel set in the late 1930s on a remote Japanese island. It explores an interesting period in Japanese-Russian relations from the perspective of a disabled teenage boy. This manuscript is well researched providing interesting historical context around disability, Japanese culture, the Indigenous Ainu people and the Russia-Japan relations in the pre-Second World War period. The relationships between the young characters are well drawn and the narrative arc of the young boy finding his strength in the water and negotiating a positive outcome among adults in a high conflict situation is a real strength.

Siall Waterbright

Siall Waterbright for The Coming

About the author

Siall Waterbright's poetry and short stories have appeared in publications including Westerly, Island, Cordite Poetry Review and Australian Poetry Journal.  Siall’s writing has previously placed or received commendations in competitions including the Thomas Shapcott Prize, the Val Vallis Prize, and the Josephine Ulrick Prize.  Siall holds bachelor’s degrees from New College of Florida and Queensland University of Technology and a PhD in creative writing from Queensland University of Technology, and she is currently working on a collection of poetry, for which she received a Varuna Residential Fellowship, as well as a long-form work and a second collection of short stories.

Judges’ Comments:

The Coming is an assured collection of short stories that ranges across subject matter, but mostly seems to coalesce around small moments in domestic life that mark a change in the protagonist. The strongest stories are the ones where the characters are well defined and given motivations. This is a polished, well executed collection.