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Ulman, Middleton named 2016 ‘SMH’ Best Young Australian Novelists

Two short story writers, Abigail Ulman and Murray Middleton, have been named Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists for 2016.

Ulman was recognised for her debut collection Hot Little Hands (Hamish Hamilton). The judges said: ‘Ulman has a talent for voice, situation and characterisation in stories that are erotic (sometimes “transgressive”), international and urban. Each piece of ordinary realism teeters delicately on the edge of the dangerous, extraordinary, or surreal.’

Middleton was selected for his Vogel Prize-winning collection When There’s Nowhere Else to Run (A&U). ‘Middleton’s writing is deliciously lean and exquisitely polished,’ said the judges. ‘He herds the reader across the unfolding landscape of contemporary Australia without sentimentality or cliche, and looks for the poignant depths, uncertainties and yearnings beneath the unpolished surface of ordinary Australian life.’

The awards, now in their 20th year, are open to writers aged 35 years or younger when their books are first published. This year’s awards were judged by SMH literary editor Susan Wyndham, former Australian Society of Authors executive director Angelo Loukakis and author Maxine Beneba Clarke.

Writing in the SMH, Wyndham said the judges were ‘happy to recognise the renaissance of short fiction—partly a response to our busy lives, and also an overdue return to the fine art of the miniature favoured by many writers from Anton Chekhov to Alice Munro’.

Ulman and Middleton will discuss their work with Wyndham and Beneba Clarke at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on 21 May.


Category: Local news