Brooke Dunnell wins the 2021 Fogarty Literary Award with her last minute manuscript

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Last night saw Brooke Dunnell announced as the winner of the 2021 Fogarty Literary Award at the ECU Spiegeltent. Dunnell receives a $20,000 cash prize from the Fogarty Foundation, along with a publishing contract with Fremantle Press for her winning manuscript The Glass House. 

The Fogarty Literary Award is for Western Australian writers aged eighteen to thirty-five. Remarkably, this was Dunnell’s final chance to win the award, having turned thirty-five only one week after entries closed. According to Dunnell the looming award deadline was the motivation needed to get the manuscript completed. 

Dunnell’s winning manuscript, The Glass House, centres on 36-year-old Julia, who takes a break from her faltering marriage in Melbourne to help her ageing father move out of the family home in Perth. While visiting, she bumps into a childhood friend, Davina, who is keen to reignite their friendship and gets overly involved in Julia’s life without being very open about her own. At the same time, Julia starts having dreams about a shadowy male threat against her stepdaughter, Evie. 

The judges described it as “an assured work of fiction, full of well-drawn characters, an involving plot and an ultimately affirming message.” And, that it is a novel “full of tension, complex emotion and surprises.”

Dunnell is the author of the short story collection Female(s and) Dogs – a finalist for the 2020 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award. Her short stories have been recognised in competitions, including the Bridport Short Story Prize 2019; and appeared in a number of anthologies including, Best Australian Stories. She has worked as a creative writing mentor, workshop facilitator and judge in various creative writing competitions.

The other shortlisted authors and manuscripts were, A Horse Held at Gunpoint by Patrick Marlborough and Old Boy by Georgia Tree. Meanwhile, Alex Dook, Daniel Juckes, and Emily Paull were all also highly commended by the judging panel for their manuscripts. 

The Glass House is scheduled for publication in 2022. The two shortlisted authors will work with Fremantle PressGeorgia Richter to further develop their manuscripts. 

For more information on the Fogarty Literary Award and the work of the Fogarty Foundation head HERE

Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

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