Peri­cic takes Vo­gel award

The West Australian - - BOOKS - Wil­liam Yeo­man

Perth-born Melbourne writer Mar­ija Peri­cic has won the 2017 Aus­tralian/Vo­gel’s Lit­er­ary Award with her de­but novel The Lost Pages, an in­spired fic­tional mem­oir of Czech writer, Max Brod. The award was pre­sented in Sydney last week by writer Ben­jamin Law.

It is 1908 and Max Brod is the ris­ing star of Prague’s lit­er­ary world. Ev­ery­thing he de­sires — fame, re­spect, love — is fi­nally within his reach. But when a ri­val ap­pears on the scene, Max dis­cov­ers how quickly he can lose ev­ery­thing he has worked so hard to at­tain. He knows new­comer, Franz Kafka, has the power to eclipse him for good, and must de­cide what lengths he will go to hold onto his suc­cess.

The Lost Pages is a richly imag­ined story of the friend­ship, fraud, jeal­ously and be­trayal within an ex­tra­or­di­nary lit­er­ary ri­valry. As one judge noted, “the au­thor re­ally un­der­stands how ten­sion works. It never lets up. From the very be­gin­ning, the strain be­tween Kafka and Brod is hugely en­ter­tain­ing. Brod is an­ti­so­cial and prefers his own com­pany, just like the best of Kafka’s char­ac­ters. He is drawn with re­mark­able clar­ity.”

This year’s judges were Stephen Romei (lit­er­ary ed­i­tor, The Aus­tralian), Ro­han Wil­son (award-win­ning au­thor of The Rov­ing Party and To Name Those Lost) and Jenny Barry (book­seller from Book­sPlus, Bathurst). The Lost Pages was the judges’ clear choice to win.

The Aus­tralian/Vo­gel’s Lit­er­ary Award is Aus­tralia’s old­est, rich­est and most pres­ti­gious prize for an un­pub­lished man­u­script by a writer under 35. In ad­di­tion to the $20,000 prize, the win­ner is guar­an­teed an ad­vance against roy­al­ties for pub­li­ca­tion with Allen &

Un­win. The award has launched the ca­reers of some of Aus­tralia’s most suc­cess­ful writ­ers, in­clud­ing Tim Win­ton, Kate Grenville, the late Gillian Mears, Mandy Sayer, An­drew McGa­han and judge Wil­son.

Es­tab­lished in 1980, the Vo­gel changes young writ­ers’ lives. Be­tween them, many have gone on to win or be short-listed for other ma­jor awards, such as the Miles Franklin Award, the Com­mon­wealth Writ­ers’ Prize, the Man Booker Prize and nu­mer­ous pre­miers’ lit­er­ary awards.

The Lost Pages (Allen & Un­win, $30) is out on May 27.

Mar­ija Peri­cic won the Vo­gel with her novel The Lost Pages.

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