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The 2021 Deborah Cass Prize Shortlist

The Deborah Cass Prize and Writers Victoria are pleased to announce that nine writers have been shortlisted for the seventh annual Deborah Cass Prize. The prize is focussed on development and provides $3,000 and a mentorship to an unpublished writer, who has either migrated to Australia or has a parent who migrated here.
Dan Cass, brother of Deborah, said “the prize was established to support emerging writers achieve publication and contribute new voices to Australian literature. Over 500 writers have applied to the prize since we began and we were delighted this year to see more of our alumni have their books published, including the first poetry work by an entrant, Vociferate | 詠, by Emily Sun (shortlisted 2018).”
Lucy Hamilton, CEO of Writers Victoria, said “Writers Victoria continues to be proud to work on this prize on behalf of the Deborah Cass Committee. We’re delighted to see a range of migrant stories represented in this shortlist and commend the shortlisting panel as well as all the applicants to the prize.”
The winner receives a cash prize of $3,000 plus a three-month mentorship with an established writer. The winning manuscript is presented to Black Inc. for consideration and there is also the opportunity for the winning entry to be published in Mascara Literary Review.
The shortlisting panel said they were pleased and impressed with the overall quality of the entries received this year. “The shortlisted works explore diverse themes in powerful and subtle ways, all creatively casting a strong light on the contemporary migrant experience,” the panel said.

The shortlisted writers for the 2021 Deborah Cass Prize are:

  • Bryant Apolonio, ‘Independencia’
  • Patrick Arulanandam, ‘The Seconds of Holroyd House’
  • Sam Elkin, ‘Magic Waters’
  • Irina Frolova, ‘On the Tail of the Firebird’
  • Maria Katasabanis, ‘Motherlode: memory, mothers and migration’
  • Gary Paramanathan, ‘The Dreaming’
  • Mesh Tennakoon, ‘The Lollipop Lady’
  • Gisele Weishan, ‘The Marigold Girl’
  • Chamberlain Zhang, ‘Si Bo – Fourth Uncle – Eagle Flight’

The prize winner and runners up will be determined by the 2021 Prize judges: Melanie Cheng, Lee Kofman and Sisonke Msimang. 
The Deborah Cass Prize was founded in 2015 in the memory of Deborah Cass (1960-2013), an Australian lawyer and aspiring writer, whose grandparents were Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe.
The winners will be announced at an online event on Wednesday 17 November, with details to be released shortly. For more information and updates, visit the Deborah Cass Prize website and @PrizeCass on Twitter.

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