‘Amelia Westlake’ wins 2018 Readings YA book prize
Erin Gough has won the 2018 Readings Young Adult Book Prize for her novel Amelia Westlake (Hardie Grant Egmont).
Gough’s novel was chosen from a shortlist of six for the $3000 prize, which considers first and second works of young adult fiction and memoir, with the aim of promoting and supporting an emerging Australian writer and celebrating Australian YA books.
Amelia Westlake was chosen as the winner by a judging panel comprising Athina Clarke from Readings Malvern, Georgia Delaney from Readings Kids, Mike Shuttleworth from Readings Hawthorn, marketing manager Nina Kenwood and YA author Melissa Keil. The Readings Teen Advisory board was also consulted.
Gough’s novel follows the unlikely friendship between two girls who decide to publish a controversial cartoon about a sexist teacher in the school newspaper under the pseudonym Amelia Westlake.
Keil said that Amelia Westlake ‘struck a chord’ because of its ‘biting social commentary’ and ‘blisteringly relevant, timely themes’, as well as its ‘delightful execution’.
‘Erin Gough’s writing is steeped in humour, wit and warmth, and deftness of touch that allows her characters to navigate the ups and downs of a romantic comedy narrative, while at the same time finding their way through the complex, thorny issues that the novel raises. Both female protagonists are beautifully real and relatable, funny, flawed and imperfect, and following their individual journeys and their budding relationship was a true pleasure to read,’ said Keil.