Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 26, 2012

2012 Vogel Prize for an Unpublished Young Author

The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award is a major award that has launched the careers of some eminent Australian authors.  This award is for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35.

Previous winners include Tim Winton, Kate Grenville, Gillian Mears, Brian Castro, Mandy Sayer and Andrew McGahan.  Recent winners include Andrew Croome (2008), Lisa Land and Kristel Thornell (2009) and Rohan Wilson (2011).

I am pleased to share the news that this year’s winner is Eleven Seasons by Paul D. Carter.

Update (the next day):  Click here to see the video report on ABC TV and Paul Carter’s acceptance speech.

The following is taken from the Allen & Unwin press release:

‘Some guys are good at school and telling jokes or they have the latest stuff. Others are cricketers and basketball players: they can do things with the ball that make their classmates talk about them when they’re not around. His thing is football. He becomes the centre of whichever team he plays for: he becomes the advantage.’

Melbourne, 1985. Jason Dalton sits on his bed and counts his football cards, dreaming of the day he too is immortalised in the public eye. He’s young and gifted, a natural player who can do anything with the ball in his hand. If only everything else in his life was as obvious to him as playing.

Gold Coast, 1991: It’s five years later and the bottom has fallen out of Jason’s life; he’s now a high-school dropout, tired and wasted on the GC, with an explosive family secret still ringing in his ears. He needs to get his life back. But first he needs to find out who he is.

Sophie Cunningham: ‘A terrific novel. Frankly, it doesn’t miss a beat.’
Geordie Williamson: ‘A smashing book: heartfelt, tough-minded, occasionally shocking.’
Margo Lanagan: ‘Neat writing, very assured, the occasional touch of brilliance. The story is just pushed enough out of the ordinary to have some grip.’

Paul D. Carter was born in Melbourne and spent much of his youth going to Collingwood football matches with his Dad and brother, Marcus. In 2001, Paul completed a Bachelor of Arts with honours from Deakin University and in 2008 completed a PhD while writing his first novel, Eleven Seasons, which allowed him to combine his own experience of growing up in Melbourne in the 1980s with his keen interest in modern Australian history. Paul currently teaches English and creative writing to secondary students in the western suburbs of Melbourne, as part of the Teach for Australia Programme.

The other shortlisted finalists were Claire Carlin and Michael Hugill.

Clare Carlin grew up in Western Australia. She has worked as a journalist and editor in Australia and the UK. Clare has published short fiction in 21D Magazine and won the 2008 FAW Jim Hamilton award. She is an alumna of Varuna, the Writers’ House, the Express Media National Mentorship Program and La Muse Writers’ Centre. She studied English at Curtin University, UWA and the ANU. Clare is living in London and is working on her second novel. She blogs at Pieced Work

Her novel, Excursions, tells the story of a young man adrift on the coast of Western Australia. Following the loss of his mother, a relationship breakup that may have been inevitable, and fleeing his increasingly needy father, Tom decides to get away from his job and his life. As he drifts, lost and alone, down the coast, with no clear destination in mind, he gets tangled up with the Howe family – Glory and her parents, Amy and Charlie. Simmering tensions and desires take Tom to the very edge of despair. Framed by the beautiful yet bleak landscape of the western coast and Tom’s deep relationship with the ocean, this is a compelling journey into male loneliness and isolation.

Margo Lanagan: ‘There’s a real spark to this author’s writing . . . amount of colour and life is really remarkable, and attractive.’
Sophie Cunningham:  ‘It ended strongly and kept engaging me . . . It has something.’

Michael Hugill lives in Sydney. He recently returned to his home city after several years spent travelling, working and studying overseas. He likes books, basketball and discovering original Streetfighter II arcade machines in unlikely places. He works in the online department at the Australian Museum.

His novel, Living Rooms, tells the story of a terrible car accident which sends shockwaves through two grieving families and they will never be the same again. Katie was travelling in her boyfriend Brendan’s car when he lost control of it and she was killed. Brendan, terrified that he will be held responsible for her death, fled the scene of the crime and has gone into hiding. Told through the eyes of those closest to Katie – her mother, sister, brother as well as her boyfriend and his family Living Rooms is the story of how a family copes with the loss of a young daughter and sister. Relationships are dissected and different responses to grief are explored in the aftermath of sudden, tragic death.

Many thanks to Renee Senogles at Allen and Unwin for providing this press release.


  1. be names to watch out for by quality of previous winner hey Lisa ,all the best stu


    • Absolutely. Is there a prize like this in the UK, Stu?


      • I think there is a couple but not one main one like this ,all the best stu


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