Huge congratulations to Fremantle writer Molly Schmidt, winner of the 2022 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award! Molly takes home a cash prize of $25,000, and her winning novel, Salt River Road, will be published by Fremantle Press.
Fremantle Press publisher and Hungerford judge Georgia Richter described Salt River Road, a coming-of-age story set in regional Western Australia in the 1970s, as a novel that ‘focuses on the fabric of small-town life, and the complexity of family and community relationships.’
Molly Schmidt said:
I wrote this story in consultation with Noongar Elders from the Albany area and I am so grateful for their time and friendship. I hope Salt River Road can become a poignant example of the possibilities of cross-culture collaboration.
The 90 manuscripts submitted for this year’s award were read by Rashida Murphy, former Hungerford winner Natasha Lester and long-time Hungerford judge Richard Rossiter. They reported that the writers who stood out were those who
combined a natural affinity with words alongside an understanding that their story needs to appeal to a reader, which meant that they had honed and edited and shaped their work, thus setting their manuscripts apart from the others that felt less fully realised and needed more time, development and writerly sweat to be successful.
Congratulations must also go to the other shortlisted authors:
- Joy Kilian-Essert, The Slow Patience of the Sea
- Gerard McCann, Tell Me the Story
- Marie O’Rourke, Kintsugi
The longlist included Matthew Chrulew, Narelle Hill, Rachael Keene, Shannon Meyerkort, Stefanie Koens, Christine Talbot and Annie Wilson.
The award is sponsored by the City of Fremantle and Fremantle Press.
It’s Women’s History Month and I’m delighted to see Kate being featured by Fremantle Press, a publishing house that has made a tremendous commitment, over many years, to recognising and celebrating the contributions of women to Australian culture and society.
Kathleen (Kate) O’Connor was a woman ahead of her time. She fought for her right to determine her own future as an artist, leaving conservative Perth and its narrow expectations for women to live and work in Paris in the late Belle Époque era and the bohemian 1920s. She was described in the 1960s as one of the last surviving Australian links to French impressionism, as an Australian European, and as the doyenne of art in Western Australia. Kathleen O’Connor of Paris is my account of her life and times, and of the difficulties of researching and interpreting a woman who refused to be drawn on her personal life.
The image above features, alongside Kate, the stories of:
- Dame Mary Durack, one of the most successful Australian writers of the twentieth century. Inseparable Elements is the story of her life as seen through the eyes, and portrayed in the witty style, of her daughter Patsy Millett—an unmissable recent release, and a must for anyone interested in the literary culture of the last century
- artist Nora Heysen, the first female artist to win the Archibald Prize and the first to be appointed an official war artist. There are beautiful reproductions of many of her works in Anne-Louise Willoughby’s fascinating biography Nora Heysen: A Portrait
- three generations of strong Indigenous women. Sally Morgan’s My Place has become a classic since its publication in 1982, a story of family history, Australian history and the discovery of identity.
These, and the stories of many other women, are featured on Fremantle Press’s Women’s History Month page.