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Maria Papas has won the 2020 Hungerford Award

12/01/2020 3:25 PM
Maria Papas has won the 2020 Hungerford Award

Perth author Maria Papas has been awarded the 2020 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award, which recognizes unpublished works of fiction, non-fiction and adult fiction. 

Papas won the award for her unpublished manuscript I Belong to the Lake, a literary fiction novel which follows Grace and Nate, two adults who bond over their mutual experience of a siblings' leukaemia as teenagers.  The author said she based the manuscript on her own families' experiences: 

'In our family we have had the very intimate experience of watching loved ones be treated for cancer and I wanted to write about paediatric cancer in a way that honoured the very fragmented and often disorientating nature in which such an experience is commonly lived. What happens to siblings, for example? How does one retain a sense of wonder even in the midst of such heavy hospital treatment? Can families impacted ever leave the shock or trauma behind? These are the questions that kept me going as I wrote.’

As part of the award, Papas won a $15 000 cash prize, and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. Her manuscript was chosen among a shortlist of three, including The Silence of Water by Sharron Booth, and Still Dark by Joanna Morrison. 

The previous winner of the Hungerford Award was Holden Sheppard in 2018 for his YA manuscript Invisible Boys, which went on to be published in 2019, and was recently optioned for film.