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Emma Batchelor's 'Now That I See You' wins 2021 Vogel Award

Emma Batchelor's 'Now That I See You' wins 2021 Vogel Award

Emma Batchelor's tender autofiction novel Now That I See You has won the Australian Vogel Literary Award for 2021.

The Vogel is one of Australia's most prestigious literary prizes, awarding $20 000 dollars plus publication by Allen & Unwin to an unpublished manuscript written by an author under 35. The award has launched the careers of writers such as Tim Winton and Kate Grenville.

Now That I See Youis an autofiction novel based on the author's own experience with her long term partner coming out as a transgender woman, and the impact that has on the couple's relationship. Covering a period of 18 months, the book uses journal entries, emails and letters to convey the breaking down and rebuilding of the couple's relationship, the narrator's partner and the beginning of her transition, and the narrator's attempt to put herself back together.

'This is my lived experience,’ said Batchelor in her acceptance speech. ‘Being in a relationship with a transgender person, suffering a mental illness and eventually getting myself back together. From the very beginning, I knew I would one day write about it, but it wasn’t until we separated that I had the time and space to do so. I took our actual letters and my journal entries and used them as a scaffold from which to build the story. It was also important to me not to speak for my partner or to tell her story.’

Vogel judge and 2020 winner Hsu-Ming Teo said of the novel, 'The story is an absorbing page-turner from the start, narrated in the first person with deceptive simplicity through a mix of diary entries, emails, to-do lists, and letters that contain enough variety to keep the narration fresh, and to keep driving the story forward. This is clever because it allows the narrator’s strong, direct voice to cut through, expressing her raw, real emotional upheaval and creating a persuasive impression of authenticity. The broader portrait of a relationship crumbling, and the questions raised about what it means to love, are things everyone can identify with.’

Now That I See You will be releasing in paperback and digital formats Monday 3 May 2021.