We are delighted to announce that Marija Peričić has won the 2017 Australian/Vogel's Literary Award with her novel The Last Pages!
At an awards ceremony held at Allen & Unwin's offices in Sydney, host Benjamin Law named Marija Peričić the winner from the shortlist of five young writers, in what judges Jenny Barry, Stephen Romei and Rohan Wilson said was a unanimous descision amidst a strong shortlist.
Jenny Barry from BooksPlus in Bathurst spoke on behalf of the judges about The Lost Pages, and the strength of the other shortlisted work:
We were hugely impressed this year by the quality of the works submitted, and that is apparent by us nominating five books to make the shortlist. It was such a diverse and talented array of voices that we read, and an incredibly eclectic mix of subject matter too. It made for wonderful discussion and reflection as judges.
It was however the story of Kafka that shone its light upon on us all as judges, and emerged as the winner. It’s an extraordinarily clever and intriguing story, and it really was so beautifully written, such a witty and incredibly wise work. We were all bowled over by this book.
Marija Peričić goes home to Melbourne with her published book and cheque for $20,000, thanks to the generosity of Vogel’s and the Stevns family who in 1980 founded the award. Now in its 35th year, Australia’s richest and most prestigious literary prize for an unpublished manuscript has supported and encouraged many young writers over the years. Marija said of the prize:
“I’m honoured beyond words to receive this award. The Vogel Award does such important work in bringing new writers voices into the open. It’s just a beacon for emerging writers like me.”
This was a feature noted by Benjamin Law too:
"Every literary prize in Australia is so important in fostering, promoting and supporting different aspects of the Australian writing community. And yet, there is something especially thrilling about The Australian/Vogel’s literary award, one of this country’s oldest ongoing prizes, designed for its youngest authors. Each year, the Vogel’s introduce us to our newest and most exciting literary talents.
Along the way, the Vogel’s have given us so much, it’s gifted us authors we’d have never discovered otherwise. And some of those extremely young writers have grown up, and they’ve become some of our most important voices – Tim Winton, Kate Grenville, Gillian Mears, Brian Castro, Mandy Sayer, Andrew McGahan… this award is not just about winners either – recent Vogel’s shortlistees have also been published – we need all of these stories."
Here's what our other Vogel's Award judges had to see about The Lost Pages:
"To frame The Lost Pages as being about Brod is clever and interesting. The Kafka we meet here is almost the opposite of the one we have come to expect." - Stephen Romei, Literary Editor, The Australian
"…the author really understands how tension works. It never lets up. From the very beginning, the strain between Kafka and Brod is hugely entertaining. Brod is anti-social and prefers his own company, just like the best of Kafka’s characters." - Rohan Wilson
You can read the opening chapters, further comments from the night and find out more about the book over on our blog, while you'll find The Lost Pages in all good bookstores this week.
It is 1908, and Max Brod is the rising star of Prague’s literary world. Everything he desires—fame, respect, love—is finally within his reach. But when a rival appears on the scene, Max discovers how quickly he can lose everything he has worked so hard to attain. He knows that the newcomer, Franz Kafka, has the power to eclipse him for good, and he must decide to what lengths he will go to hold onto his success. But there is more to Franz than meets the eye, and Max, too, has secrets that are darker than even he knows, secrets that may in the end destroy both of them.
The Lost Pages is a richly reimagined story of Max Brod’s life filtered through his relationship with Franz Kafka. In this inspired novel of friendship, fraud, madness and betrayal, Marija Peričić writes vividly and compellingly of an extraordinary literary rivalry.
Each year, the Vogel’s introduce us to our newest and most exciting literary talents.