Congratulations to the finalists!
Act of Grace by Anna Krien (Black Inc.)
An exploration of masculinity, violence, intergenerational trauma, refugees, and the legacy of war. Three separate narratives weave together to form a confronting portrayal of conflict and its after-effects, underlaid with political and cultural significance. Krien handles this explosive material with intelligence and sensitivity.
Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe (UQP)
A compelling story set in the Australian gold rush featuring three characters grappling with exile, belonging, exclusion, racism, grief, and familial responsibility. A well-crafted, complex, and engaging tale that challenges the dominant history and provides an alternative view. Written with extraordinary compassion and insight.
The Returns by Philip Salom (Transit Lounge)
A novel about the ambivalent wit of literature. The narrative brilliantly combines insights, allusions and superficialities with conflicts of ageing and returning challenges of human destiny. Its central theme questions relationships in the context of the protagonist Elizabeth, a fiction book editor. Clever, funny, and poignant.
The Adversary by Ronnie Scott (Penguin Random House)
A sharp novel about gay millennial life that is as moving as it is drily hilarious. Precise social observation reveals the quotidian neuroses of a group of friends over the course of one summer, resulting in a tender and wry not-quite-coming-of-age narrative. Utterly gripping in its particular strangeness.
The Yield by Tara June Winch (Penguin Random House)
A literary love song to language, culture and Indigenous heritage. Past and present come together in powerful examination of cultural dispossession, and how identity and storytelling can be reclaimed. Shines a light on the significance of words and the remembering of history.