Overett wins Penguin Literary Prize 2020
Penguin Random House Australia (PRH) has announced that the winner of the 2020 Penguin Literary Prize is The Rabbits by Sophie Overett.
Victoria-based Overett wins $20,000 (which acts as an advance against royalties) and her book will be published by PRH publisher Meredith Curnow in 2021.
Selected from a pool of more than 400 submissions and a shortlist of six, The Rabbits, which is centred around the disappearance of 14-year-old Charlie Rabbit, is an intergenerational family novel exploring motherhood, family secrets, loneliness and ‘how a little bit of magic can change everything’.
Overett said, ‘When I started writing The Rabbits, I had no idea that it would take me to the places that it has. A niggling idea grew to become a world a part of me lived in, and the story is one that’s had so much love and encouragement, not just from friends and family, but from a supportive and championing industry.’
The judging panel included Curnow, PRH publishing director Justin Ractliffe, Ruth Hipwell from Leading Edge Books, Suzie Bull from Farrell’s Bookshop and 2019 ABA Young Bookseller of the Year Aisling Lawless from Dymocks Joondalup.
Ractliffe said, ‘Judging this year’s Penguin Literary Prize was a challenging and rewarding process. Each of the six manuscripts shortlisted are outstanding in their own right and there was robust debate amongst the judging panel … I’m delighted that Sophie Overett’s debut The Rabbits was chosen. It’s a beautifully lyrical and keenly observed novel, simultaneously tough and tender, real and raw—but shot through with enchantment and wonder. I can’t wait to see it work its sly magic on readers everywhere.’
Now in its third year, the Penguin Literary Prize was launched to ‘find, nurture and develop’ new Australian authors of literary fiction. Last year’s winning novel was The Spill by Imbi Neeme, which was released in June this year.