Perth publishing house UWA Publishing has announced the five writers on the shortlist of this year’s Dorothy Hewett Award for an unpublished manuscript.

Established in 2015, the award is dedicated to discovering the best new Australian writing and is open to fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Perth Festival 2018 and will receive $10,000 and a publishing contract with UWA Publishing.

The five shortlisted authors are New South Wales writer Teresa Bell for her novel Lunation, Queensland poet Angela Gardner for her collection Some Sketchy Notes on Matter, Kate Gordon from Tasmania for her novel Everything as Perfect as a Bird, WA author Louise Helfgott for her book Thistledown Seed and WA poet Julie Watts for her collection Legacy.

The shortlist was chosen from 99 submissions by judges poet Lucy Dougan, literary critic James Ley and UWA Publishing director Terri-Ann White.

The first winner of the award was none other than WA writer Josephine Wilson who went on to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award this year for her novel Extinctions.

Find out more about the shortlisted authors and their works:

  • Lunation by Teresa Bell (New South Wales; fiction). Lunation, a novel in 72 frames, plays with representation and ambiguities and is dedicated to those who we lock up. Stylistically, it is an ambitious work that never leaves behind its human characters in extremis.
  • Some Sketchy Notes on Matter, by Angela Gardner (Queensland; poetry). With a hovering intelligence and a laudable lack of ego, the beautifully controlled poems of Some Sketchy Notes on Matter investigate the world with an ecstatic’s eye.
  • Everything as Perfect as a Bird, by Kate Gordon (Tasmania; fiction). Everything as Perfect as a Bird circles around fundamentalist Christian communities, gender and its restrictive settings alongside potential fluidities, and the life of artists in colonies and other collaborative arrangements to tell an intriguing story of a young woman entering adulthood.
  • Thistledown Seed, by Louise Helfgott (Western Australia; fiction). This ambitious manuscript containing both fiction and memoir in multiple threads, follows the displacement and violence of the Holocaust for a Polish family that subsequently settles in Western Australia.
  • Legacy, by Julie Watts (Western Australia; poetry). Legacy holds a delicate strength both in form and subject. These are poems that reflect, with grace, honesty and a sometimes unnerving directness, on the complex interconnections of contemporary life.

The Dorothy Hewett Award is co-funded by the Copyright Agency and supported by The Monthly.

Dorothy Hewett. Image A. T. Bolton courtesy of the National Library of Australia.

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