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'When the judges of Vogel Literary Award failed to find a winner last year, Geordie Williamson, speaking on their behalf, said it would diminish the prize to pick a winner for the sake of it, not least because “readers can sniff out a compromise in an instant’’. He added that the award, which has launched the careers of Tim Winton, Kate Grenville, Gillian Mears, Mandy Sayer, Brian Castro, Rohan Wilson and many others since 1980, “counts enough to deserve a pause, when a pause is what is called for’’. He was right of course, and the pause has been followed by a proliferation: this year we have a winner, chosen from a strong shortlist of six. '