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Coley wins 2017 Richell Prize

Adelaide-based writer Sam Coley has won the 2017 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers for his entry ‘State Highway One’.

Coley’s novel follows two siblings as they travel New Zealand’s State Highway One and attempt to confront their past and come to terms with their grief.

The judges said of the novel: ‘State Highway One is a captivating read that explores loss and what it really means to come home, reckoning with the past and the challenge of the future ahead while travelling the length of New Zealand along State Highway One. The sense of place and the slow break-down of the lead character’s mental and emotional state makes for a truly gripping read. Sam’s writing feels fresh and modern and is bursting with both heart and humour.’

Coley was chosen from a shortlist of five and a longlist of 20. He receives $10,000 and a mentorship with a Hachette publisher to help develop the work to publication.

For the first time, the judges also awarded a highly commended to one of the shortlisted entries, Michelle Barraclough’s ‘As I Am’, which the judges described as ‘a love story, an elegy to loss and a deftly crafted narrative about life, love and family’. Barraclough was also awarded a mentorship to help develop her work to publication.

In total, 579 entries were submitted for the prize. Applicants were required to submit the first three chapters and a synopsis of a proposed work of adult fiction or narrative nonfiction.

Now in its third year, the Richell Prize was created in memory of former Hachette CEO Matt Richell, who died in 2014.

This year’s judges were author and Richell’s widow Hannah Richell; Emerging Writers’ Festival director Izzy Roberts-Orr; bookseller Amelia Lush; and Hachette publisher Robert Watkins.

The Guardian has published the opening chapter of Coley’s book here.


Category: Local news