Congratulations to the finalists!
A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop (Text Publishing)
While ostensibly a collection of stories about the Black Saturday bushfires, A Constant Hum takes more universal human concerns as its premise. Alice Bishop has crafted a collection of stories and vignettes elegantly poised at the sentence level and in the book’s structure, interspersing striking, fleeting images of loss and hardship with stories of love and grief and perseverance.
Lucky Ticket by Joey Bui (Text Publishing)
Joey Bui’s collection is a truly impressive debut: the characters are nuanced and distinct; the writing is at times warm and lively, at others sharp and insistent. Bui writes with an emotional resonance and critical thrust that make Lucky Ticket wonderfully contemporary, and achieves breakthrough moments that extend well beyond the pages of the book.
The House of Youssef by Yumna Kassab (Giramondo Publishing)
The stories in The House of Youssef portray – with deceptive simplicity – the daily lives of Lebanese migrants in Western Sydney. With a minimalism that is at times brutal and always revealing, Yumna Kassab uncovers a world that is vibrant, difficult, loving – full of cultural negotiations, anxieties of displacement, and hope for the future.
A Couple of Things Before the End by Sean O’Beirne (Black Inc.)
A Couple of Things Before the End isn’t shy in asking for commitment from its readers. The payoff is a remarkable array of characters – charming, repulsive, compelling – and stories brimming with generous insight and incisive satire. Sean O’Beirne doesn’t hesitate to point out where we’ve collectively gone wrong, and where that might be leading us.
Here Until August by Josephine Rowe (Black Inc.)
Here Until August has a patient, dreamlike quality that effortlessly draws the reader into its moments of expansion and contraction, transition and reflection. Josephine Rowe’s writing is disarmingly tender and intensely lyrical, and it probes deeply into our capacity for insight and compassion.