Scribe is thrilled to announce that the winner of the inaugural CAL Scribe Fiction Prize is:
Maris Morton for her manuscript, A Darker Music, a mystery that uncovers the buried secrets of a family who own a merino sheep station in Western Australia.
The winner will be officially announced on February 18 at the newly opened Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. Maris Morton will receive $12,000 and a book contract from Scribe.
Maris Morton was born in 1938 and A Darker Music will be her first published book. She currently lives in Uki in rural NSW but has worked in various jobs around Australia including as an English teacher, shearers’ cook, shed hand, artist, art restorer and director of an art gallery.
Maris said of the win: ‘Winning the CAL Scribe Prize has made what seemed to be an impossible dream come true. I'm still pinching myself. Winning has given me an added incentive to go on doing what I love best: telling stories!’
It was a very tight contest in the end — almost a dead heat between the three shortlisted works — but after much wrangling and negotiation the three judges agreed that Maris Morton’s work was the standout. The judges were Kerryn Goldsworthy, Mark Rubbo, and Aviva Tuffield. Of the winning manuscript, judge Mark Rubbo said: ‘It has a strong narrative and personally I found it was an extremely satisfying read.’
Both Meg Mundell’s Black Glass and Jane Sullivan’s Little People were highly commended and will be considered for publication.
The CAL Scribe Fiction Prize for writers over 35 attracted 534 entrants, with the eldest born in 1919 (90 years old), while 22 entrants were born in the 1920s and 64 in the 1930s. The standard was very high and it was a tough task to narrow the longlist down to just three manuscripts and then to choose a winner. Aviva Tuffield, Fiction Acquisitions Editor at Scribe, says: ‘The judging process was quite lengthy and the judges admired all of the ten longlisted manuscripts.’
The Scribe Fiction Prize will be run again this year, with entries opening in a couple of months. Watch our website (http://www.scribepublications.com.au/prize ) for more details.