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UQP titles shortlisted for the 2023 VPLAs
Posted 14.12.2022

UQP titles shortlisted for the 2023 VPLAs

Congratulations to Gavin Yuan Gao (At the Altar of Touch), Amy Thunig (Tell Me Again) and Rhiannon Wilde (Where You Left Us) for each being shortlisted in their respective categories in the 2023 Victorian Premier Literary Awards.

The winners will be announced at an official ceremony on 2 February 2023. Event details will be released in 2023.

Award for Indigenous Writing

Judges' report for Tell Me Again:

Thunig’s intimate and deeply personal memoir asks us as readers the complicated questions of how to wrestle with family, love, grief, pain, joy and systemic injustice. Their story is one of perseverance, told with the understanding of how the colonial systems work against those deemed to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

Their writing traverses time, creating space to breathe and reflect in between the stories of deep, unwavering love and the traumas that come with growing up in the face of adversary. A purposeful act of writing that does not concede to the eurocentric rules of memoir, Thunig plays with time and memory in a non-linear way that juxtaposes the hard truths with the most formidable acts of love. It is equally as joyous and painful to read, told with care, truth and honesty at its core.

Award for Poetry

Judges' report for At the Altar of Touch:

Gavin Yuan Gao’s deeply moving debut crosses countries, languages, memories and themes with undeniable grace and skill. From the Kahlo-like portrait of its opening poem to the requiem of its closing, At the Altar of Touch is both capacious in its philosophical explorations and intimate in its invitation to readers. Lucid and lyrical, this is a work that demands conscious attention, both for its command of language and imagery and the sheer elegance of its execution. Consistently restrained yet irresistible and memorably elegiac, there are glimmers of hope(fulness) in its poems about family, loss, heartbreak, history and erasure.

Award for Writing for Young Adults

Judges' report for Where You Left Us:

This gothic family saga is set during a muggy summer in a coastal Australian town. Two very distinct and compelling voices, sisters Cinnamon and Scarlett, come together and navigate fraught family relationships. Wilde weaves a haunting family history mystery through the narrative, and casts Scarlett and family friend Will as an endearing detective duo. The characters are real and complex, the romances are sweet, and the pacing is tight. A range of sexualities and mental health experiences are depicted authentically and thoughtfully. Wilde is playful and innovative with formatting and language, and writes settings so unique and intense they feel like characters.