She’s got the write idea

Emerg­ing au­thor wins award

The Gympie Times - - NEWS -

❝I’m over the moon... I’m hon­oured by the award — Dr Janet Lee

GYMPIE’S Janet Lee has won a Queens­land Lit­er­ary Award for the his­tor­i­cal fic­tion draft novel she wrote in five months.

The free­lance writer, who this year grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of the Sun­shine Coast with a Doc­tor of Creative Arts, last week won the Emerg­ing Queens­land Writer – Man­u­script Award for her work The Killing of Louisa, which judges likened to the hugely suc­cess­ful books Burial Rites and Alias Grace.

Dr Lee’s man­u­script told the story of a woman sen­tenced to death for mur­der in 19th cen­tury Syd­ney.

Her prize was $10,000 cash plus man­u­script devel­op­ment and pub­li­ca­tion with The Univer­sity of Queens­land Press.

The judges said: “This high qual­ity work of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion of­fers a su­pe­rior blend­ing of nar­ra­tive ten­sion and strong re­search. It also of­fers a clear and con­vinc­ing voice in the char­ac­ter of Louisa Collins who has been sen­tenced to hang for the mur­der of her two hus­bands in late 19th cen­tury Syd­ney. This novel pro­vides a creative re-imag­in­ing of colo­nial Aus­tralia, rich with his­tor­i­cal de­tail and high drama.”

Dr Lee was among four un­pub­lished au­thors short­listed in the cat­e­gory sup­ported by UQP.

“I’m over the moon,” said Dr Lee, who cel­e­brated with her hus­band, son and sis­ter at the awards cer­e­mony at the State Li­brary of Queens­land in South Bris­bane.

“I’m hon­oured by the award and thrilled to get a pub­lish­ing con­tract so quickly.”

She thought of the idea for the novel af­ter com­plet­ing her USC de­gree last year.

“I knew the story of Louisa Collins and I wrote the pref­ace for The Killing of Louisa in Jan­uary this year,” she said.

“I went to the archives in Syd­ney to do more re­search, and fin­ished the man­u­script in May.”

Dr Lee, who has de­grees from the Univer­sity of Queens­land and Deakin Univer­sity, said she chose to study a doc­tor­ate at USC to gain the ad­vice and guid­ance of renowned au­thor and Pro­fes­sor of Creative Writ­ing Gary Crew.

“I trav­elled from Gympie to the Sippy Downs cam­pus for meet­ings with Gary, who su­per­vised my th­e­sis, Cas­san­dra Austen – Jane’s Muse? about Jane Austen’s sis­ter.

“Com­plet­ing my doc­tor­ate gave me the con­fi­dence to con­tinue writ­ing. This year, I also won a Varuna Fel­low­ship to work on a man­u­script that grew from my USC th­e­sis.”

USC Pro­fes­sor Gary Crew said Dr Lee’s suc­cess would be an in­spi­ra­tion for Creative Writ­ing stu­dents, es­pe­cially those who sought ca­reers in the pub­lish­ing industry.

Dr Lee’s four chil­dren also stud­ied at USC – two are USC grad­u­ates (bio­med­i­cal sci­ence and ed­u­ca­tion) and two are cur­rent stu­dents (law and ed­u­ca­tion).

PHOTO: RE­NEE AL­BRECHT

THRILLED: Janet Lee from Gympie has won Queens­land Emerg­ing Writ­ers Award.

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