The Deborah Cass Writing Prize was established to support unpublished authors whose work reflects on the migrant experience.
Writers Victoria received 56 submissions, which included poetry, plays, memoir, fiction, and non-fiction. Members of the organising committee for the Deborah Cass prize agreed on this shortlist (countries in brackets feature in their submission):
- Sanaz Fotouhi – Scent of Sousan and Yasaman (Iran)
- Fatima Sehbai – Losing my religion (Pakistan)
- Tito Ambyo – A Peci for Mamadou (Indonesia)
- Maha Sidaoui – One Arabian Night (Lebanon)
- Emilia Nazari – The Autumn Limes Of Amoo (Iran)
- Magdalena McGuire – The Shape of Your Song (Poland)
- Rumiko Commons – Peacekeeper (Japan)
- Christine Lambrianidis – The Debt (Greece)
- Melanie Cheng – Australia Day (Hong Kong)
- Moreno Giovannoni – Tales From San Ginese (Italy)
Alice Pung, Christos Tsiolkas, and Tony Ayres will meet and discuss the shortlisted works during December and we hope to make an announcement just before Christmas.
Deborah Cass prize Committee members statements about the submissions:
The sharply distinctive voices together with a commitment to writing by authors from widely differing background experiences, augurs well in my view, for the future of Australian literary culture.
The number and quality of submissions was really impressive. Though the writers’ voices and writing genres varied, the work submitted was characterised by vivid powers of observation and the kind of vitality that is generated among people who find themselves living in a new world.
The response demonstrated a large pool of fascinating stories of migration in Australia that are still waiting to be told. What came through the entries was not just a high quality of writing, but also strong personalities who can represent their experiences in public life. The samples confirmed the importance of cultural diversity in Australia.
The winner of the prize will be announced in the coming weeks.
For more information, visit the Deborah Cass Prize website.