Judges: Sally Dalton-Brown, Trinity College (Chair); Tony Birch, University of Melbourne; Jennifer Mills, Overland
This year, the second Nakata Brophy Short Fiction and Poetry Prize for Young Indigenous Writers attracted a high calibre of entries. The judges – Jennifer Mills of Overland, Tony Birch, University of Melbourne, and Sally Dalton-Brown, Trinity College – unanimously selected Marika Duczynski’s ‘Backa Bourke’ as the winner.
Duczynski’s story stood out for its strong voice and richly textured, energetic prose that knows when to withdraw. ‘Backa Bourke’ is a great example of the way short fiction can transmit deep empathy for its characters and offer readers a sense of a complete world beyond the story.
The judges also wished to commend two very strong runners-up: Ellen van Neerven’s ‘Cassettes’ takes a common experience and infuses it, in deceptively simple style, with the resonance of many kinds of loss; Jannali Jones’ ‘Ugly Duckling’ imagines the end of the world through an unlikely love story, and shows a writer willing to take risks.