We’re so thrilled that AWC alumna Anna Spargo-Ryan has recently been announced as the winner of The Horne Prize. This year, Anna’s debut novel The Paper House was also released to critical acclaim.
Australian Writers’ Centre CEO Valerie Khoo says: “When I first started reading Anna’s blog, I knew that she had a strong voice and a beautiful way with words. Her writing is insightful, powerful and, quite simply, mesmerising. Congratulations to Anna on winning The Horne Prize; it’s certainly well deserved.”
From The Horne Prize announcement:
Melbourne writer Anna Spargo-Ryan won the inaugural round of The Horne Prize for her essay The Suicide Gene. Praised by the judges for its craft and candour, The Suicide Gene is a poignant yet unsentimental account of the author’s experience of mental illness and questions stemming from her grandfather’s suicide.
In making their selection, the judges said: ‘The essay is shapely and always in the writer's control. It is a dexterous investigation of a complex issue, personal without ever succumbing to sentimentality.’ The Suicide Gene will be published in The Saturday Paper on December 24 and available as a stand-alone publication in Australian Aesop stores for a limited time from mid-January 2017.
Anna has written widely on mental health, relationships, parenting, and creativity, and is known for her short and longform fiction as well as non-fiction work. Her essays have been published by The Guardian, Overland, Kill Your Darlings and Black Inc., among others. Her first novel, The Paper House, was released to critical acclaim in 2016; the second, The Gulf, will be published in mid-2017.
The judges also highly commended Alexandra O’Sullivan’s essay Losing Teeth– a frank, affecting narrative of domestic violence and its consequences. Also based in Melbourne, and previously a professional jockey, Alexandra writes regularly for social justice and feminist website The Radical Notion.