In 2019, Fremantle Press hosted the inaugural Fogarty Literary Award, one of the richest literary awards for young writers in Australia. All three of the shortlisted titles in 2019 have since been published. Rebecca Higgie’s winning novel The History of Mischief was followed up by Emma Young’s The Last Bookstore and Michael Burrows’ Where the Line Breaks.

Now in its second year, the Fogarty returns with publishers Georgia Richter and Cate Sutherland announcing the shortlist and highly commended manuscripts in a Facebook/Instagram Live video on Tuesday 11th May. Richter said, ‘Each of the shortlisted manuscripts had a singular story to tell and delivered it in a compelling and confident way’. Three titles made it onto the shortlist. They were:
The Glass House by Brooke Dunnell
A Horse Held at Gunpoint by Patrick Marlborough
Old Boy by Georgia Tree

Congratulations also went to five Highly Commended manuscripts:
Deadline by Alex Dook
As With Everything Else, The End Eventual Comes by Daniel Juckes
The Good Daughter by Emily Paull
The Horizon Events: A Veil is Torn by Luke Winter
Mooney River by Alice Woodland

Senior Editor Shelley Timms got the chance to chat with the three shortlistees.

Brooke Dunnell, author of The Glass House

Brooke Dunnell is a writer and creative writing mentor whose short stories have appeared in anthologies including Best Australian Stories and in print media outlets such as The Big Issue. She has a PhD from the University of Western Australia and her short story collection was a finalist in the 2020 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award.

Your manuscript is described as an exploration of family and childhood, transitioning into the process of a woman addressing her past- how did you find the balance between past and present within the story? What kind of structural approach have you taken?
It’s definitely something that I’ve had to think about during the process. In previous writing attempts I’ve had fairly rigid shifts between past and present that didn’t end up working as well as they could have, because there wasn’t always the content to fill both sides and some of the transitions ended up being quite abrupt. In this manuscript I’ve tried to make the transitions into memory and the past feel quite organic by being triggered by moments in the present. I’m hoping that this approach feels more natural to readers.

 You’ve worked in creative writing and have judged writing competitions before, how does it feel to be on the other side of the process?
Having read so many pieces submitted to competitions, I know how much really good writing is out there. I think that makes me feel even more amazed and thrilled, because I’m sure the calibre of all the other entries was really high! It also gives me a renewed appreciation for how happy the writers we select must be. 

Any advice for someone wanting to submit next time around?
My advice would be to give yourself plenty of time, because drafting and revising always takes longer than you think it will. I started this manuscript last year and had a loose plan in my head for the different stages of revision and it still came in under the wire. Give yourself a lot of lead time because you never know how and where things will go!

Patrick Marlborough, author of A Horse Held at Gunpoint

Patrick Marlborough is a comedian, journalist, critic and musician, and has had work published in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Meanjin, Overland, Cordite and The Lifted Brow, to name a few.

Firstly, congratulations on being shortlisted! How do you feel?
Like Tim Winton in a bong shop (ecstatic).

Georgie Richter from Fremantle Press describes your manuscript as “amidst the humour and chaos is a novel with a sweet heart” – can you tell us what the story is about, and what inspired you?
The story is about Fremantle, and was inspired by the various dropkicks, loons, crooks, yuppies, dogs, and sweethearts that inhabit it. 
It’s a satire of the “small coastal town with a dark secret” and the “my body and my trauma in my space” genres, as well as being a riff on/tribute to anime, martial arts films, worker’s movements, musicals, dog park politics, Buckley, Clarke and Dawe, ALP hacks, LNP bastards, skateboarding, knife tricks, community facebook groups, autism, shoplifting, local history, nostalgia, and CY O’Connor.
The spark of inspiration came from that video of a teenager surfing atop the train on the Fremantle traffic bridge a few years ago. Kid, if you’re reading this, I want to shake your hand.
I guess in short: it’s a screwball comedy about suicide.

You have been published in a multitude of other publications, including (but not limited to!) VICE, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The Saturday Paper and Meanjin – how did you find writing a full-length manuscript as compared to other forms of writing? Is there any overlap in theme regarding what you have written before, and your shortlisted piece?
I sure have written a lot of ‘content.’ 
It’s much more enjoyable (and thus easier)  for me to write a book than it is for me to write the dreaded ‘content,’ it turns out. Don’t get me wrong, the media and lit  “”””industry”””” has been kind to me (in the way that firing squads are kind when they only put a bullet in one of the rifles) considering that I didn’t go to private school and won’t write for Murdoch (unless he’s paying me to play my beloved ‘Chris Kenny’ character), but sometimes writing articles in the context of Australia’s turgid political/social/cultural discourse while being boxed in by our orc favouring defamation laws, and at the mercy of the inscrutable beast that is SEO, makes me feel like OJ Simpson trying to cram a my incredibly swollen arthritic hand into an ill-fitting glove, if that makes sense (?)
I guess the overlap is that I flit between deep dives into depression and mania then over to gags about Akira and recumbent bicycles, as well as my career long habit of writing about Fremantle despite the disinterest of the East Coast wonks who sign my pay cheques 9 months late. 
The book probably has more in common with my standup in all honesty, in that I’m always surprised when anyone else likes it. 

Any advice for someone wanting to submit next time around?
Yes: write manic, edit depressed. 
Not really. You should also edit manic, it turns out. 
I wrote this beast in 6 weeks because I was lonely and fed-up and felt like if I didn’t I couldn’t write the other books that have been knocking about in my head since forever. I had no plan, no plot, no names for the characters or anything, I broke all my own rules–I just spewed it all out, and there it was. 
I can’t say I recommend improvising a novel like this, unless you are unlike me and do not habitually misspell every homonym under the sun. 
For realz though: I have difficulty giving advice to anyone not on the autism spectrum, I just flick a big switch that says “Hyperfocus” and get cracking. The real problem for me is stopping. But I guess if I was going to give any advice to neurotypicals it would be: go for a walk every now and again? (I’m sorry, I honestly don’t know what these people get up to…). Once I start writing I really have no idea how to stop, which is something I’m trying to fix!

Georgia Tree, author of Old Boy

Georgia Tree has a master’s degree in international relations and national security. She works as a policy advisor and runs a feminist book club and blog.

Firstly, congratulations on being shortlisted! How do you feel?
I’m still in shock! My ambition was to make the shortlist, but I knew the competition would be tough and I was aiming high. So it was really more about giving myself parameters to work within and the process more than anything. The fact I actually made it – and I’m only one of three – is unreal. 

Old Boy is a memoir about your father – can you tell us a bit about the writing process and how it differs from fiction? What inspired you to want to write about his life?
My dad has always said “Georgia will write my story one day.” I don’t know if he expected me to pull through like this! I wanted to tell his story because I think it’s human – flawed and compelling. And it tells a story about Perth at that particular intersection of history that I don’t think has been told before.
Regarding the process, it started with a conversation over dinner. Then once I got my shit together we started doing interviews. I’d have a few questions and a steer of where I wanted the interviews to go but I just let him speak and remember. After that I started writing the memoir component. I sent it off to some trusted friends to give me feedback and while they were reading it I researched and wrote the historical context chapters. And then I took a couple of days off work in April and pulled it all together the week it was due! 

You run a feminist book club and blog in your free time – tell us about it! What books do you have on your radar at the moment?
I do! And we are always looking for new members. My best mate and I set it up maybe three years ago. Every month a different member hosts. We read everything from feminist and queer theory to the classics, and new films and podcasts. Some of the stories on this year’s reading list:
Fleishman is in Trouble – Taffy Brodesser-Akkner
Emma – Jane Austen
The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows  – Balli Kaur Jaswal

Any advice for someone wanting to submit next time around?
Just do it! I believe there’s freedom in discipline, right? So why not aim to submit and even if you don’t end up with any accolades, you’ve still got your work. Which is the whole point!  

Underground Team

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