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Penguin Literary Prize 2022 winner announced

Penguin Random House (PRH) Australia has announced On a Bright Hillside in Paradise by Sydney-based writer Annette Higgs as the winner of the 2022 Penguin Literary Prize for an unpublished manuscript.

Higgs’ winning novel centres on a family of convict descendants in Tasmania and the changes wrought when Christian Brethren evangelists arrive to hold revival meetings in local barns. The author receives $20,000 and a publishing contract with PRH Australia.

Publishing director Justin Ractliffe said, ‘On a Bright Hillside in Paradise triumphed because of its distinctive voice, innovative structure, lucid prose and crystal-clear evocation of a time, place and lived experience so close to ours and yet so far away. It tackles big questions of faith and family but is always grounded in the dreams and strivings of its beautifully drawn characters.’

The winning manuscript was chosen from 240 submissions and a shortlist of six. ‘Winning the Penguin Literary Prize is such an honour,’ said Higgs. ‘I’m so thrilled—my feet haven’t yet touched the ground. I spent years writing the novel, sinking so much of myself into it, and wondering all the time if anyone would ever read it. To have this story launched into the world, and with such recognition, is the culmination of all my dreams for it.’

The judging panel for this year’s prize comprised Ractliffe, PRH Australia publisher Meredith Curnow, Dymocks national category manager (fiction & travel) Kate Mayor, Black Swan Bookshop owner Alexander Okenyo, and 2021 ABA Young Bookseller of the Year Genevieve Kruyssen, events manager at Where the Wild Things Are in Brisbane.

Now in its fifth year, the Penguin Literary Prize was launched to find, nurture and develop new Australian authors of literary fiction. The previous winners are Hitch by Kathryn Hind, The Spill by Imbi Neeme, The Rabbits by Sophie Overett, and Denizen by James McKenzie Watson, to be published in July 2022.

PRH Australia will publish On a Bright Hillside in Paradise in 2023.


Category: Awards Local news