2017 Monash Prize winners announced

The Emerging Writers’ Festival is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2017 Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing.

This year’s joint first place winners, sharing the $4000 first prize, were Ann Jackson for The Lady Who Walks and Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor for Femina.

Lauren Burridge won $1000 as the highest-placed Monash student entry for her story Glass.

Monash Associate Professor Peter Howard presented the award to the three winners on Emerging Writers’ Festival opening night, who were chosen from a pool of 437 entries.

We’re pleased to partner with Monash to present Australia’s richest undergraduate creative writing award. The prize ensures the future of literary communities across Australia and in New Zealand.

The 2017 award was judged by Julie Koh (author of short story collection Portable Curiosities) Khalid Warsame (fiction editor of The Lifted Brow) and Rebecca Do Rozario (Monash University).

Judges’ statement:

The shortlist for 2017 presented quite a challenge. Stories were incredibly varied and it was heartening to see how many really wrestled with topics including diversity and equality for all genders and orientations. While we did have to choose winners, we’d like to commend all those on the shortlist for challenging themselves thematically and stylistically, and for providing us with a range of engaging options.

Joint Winner: The Lady Who Walks – Ann Jackson

A particularly well-crafted story with strong characterisation and forward momentum. The perspective and experiences in the story leave the reader with much to ponder. The story of the mercurial, troubled, ill Ma and her embarrassed, sometimes horrified, daughter is told sympathetically, but with a subtle edge, too, particularly in the narrator’s initial attitude towards her mother. The thoughtful conclusion brings the narrative full circle, with an underlying sense of closure stemming from the embrace of the mother–daughter relationship.

Joint Winner: Femina – Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor

An ambitious, sometimes bewildering story that presents a very unique take on the myth of Eve. With wideranging, often whimsical, references—from Paul McCartney to Morgan Freeman—and critical engagement with the representation of Eve’s gender, the story plays with imagery in satisfyingly complex ways. We were intrigued by this story’s poetic style and experimental approach.

Highest Placed Monash Entrant: Glass – Lauren Burridge

In a difficult field, ‘Glass’ stood out to us for being, at heart, an accomplished story with a compelling emotional core. The voice is strong and holds great compassion, and the reveal is deftly handled. Cherry, in particular, is a bright, interesting character who engages the reader well in darker subject matter. Join us again in 2018 to continue the discovery of stellar new talent with the Monash Prize.