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Voss Literary Prize
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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History

The Voss Literary Prize is a new award dedicated to the memory of historian Vivian Robert Le Vaux Voss. It is awarded to the best novel published in Australia in the previous year.

The Voss Literary Prize was inaugurated in 2014.

Winners

2018 winner y separately published work icon The Book of Dirt Bram Presser , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 11521001 2017 single work novel historical fiction

'They chose not to speak and now they are gone. What's left to fill the silence is no longer theirs. This is my story, woven from the threads of rumour and legend.'

'Jakub Rand flees his village for Prague, only to find himself trapped by the Nazi occupation. Deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, he is forced to sort through Jewish books for a so-called Museum of the Extinct Race. Hidden among the rare texts is a tattered prayer book, hollow inside, containing a small pile of dirt.

'Back in the city, Františka Roubíčková picks over the embers of her failed marriage, despairing of her conversion to Judaism. When the Nazis summon her two eldest daughters for transport, she must sacrifice everything to save the girls from certain death.

'Decades later, Bram Presser embarks on a quest to find the truth behind the stories his family built around these remarkable survivors.

'The Book of Dirt is a completely original novel about love, family secrets, and Jewish myths. And it is a heart-warming story about a grandson's devotion to the power of storytelling and his family's legacy.'

2017 winner y separately published work icon The Last Days of Ava Langdon Mark O'Flynn , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2016 9378780 2016 single work novel

'Ava Langdon is often not herself. Having fled her early life in New Zealand and endured the loss of her children, she now lives as a recluse in the Blue Mountains. Regarded by locals as a colourful eccentric, she dresses in men's clothes and fearlessly pursues her artistic path.

'All that matters to Ava is her writing. Words offer beauty and a sense of possibility when so much else has been lost. But can they offer her redemption in her last days?

'Poetic, poignant, and at times bitingly funny, The Last Days of Ava Langdon takes us into the mind of a true maverick.' (Publication summary)

2016 winner y separately published work icon The Waiting Room Leah Kaminsky , North Sydney : Random House Australia , 2015 8407264 2015 single work novel

'The Waiting Room captures the sights, sounds, accents and animosities of a country overflowing with stories.

'Dina is a family doctor living in the melting-pot city of Haifa, Israel. Born in Australia in a Jewish enclave of Melbourne to Holocaust survivors, Dina left behind a childhood marred by misery and the tragedies of the past to build a new life for herself in the Promised Land.

'After starting a family of her own, she finds her life falling apart beneath the demands of her eccentric patients, a marriage starting to fray, the ever-present threat of terrorist attack and the ghost of her mother, haunting her with memories that Dina would prefer to leave on the other side of the world.

'Leah Kaminsky plumbs the depths of her characters' memories, both the sweet and the heart-wrenching, reaching back in a single climactic day through six decades and across three continents to uncover a truth that could save Dina's sanity – and her life.' (Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon In Certain Circles Elizabeth Harrower , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2014 7065772 2014 single work novel

'Zoe Howard is seventeen when her brother, Russell, introduces her to Stephen Quayle. Aloof and harsh, Stephen is unlike anyone she has ever met, ‘a weird, irascible character out of some dense Russian novel’. His sister, Anna, is shy and thoughtful, ‘a little orphan’.

'Zoe and Russell, Stephen and Anna: they may come from different social worlds but all four will spend their lives moving in and out of each other’s shadow.

'Set amid the lush gardens and grand stone houses that line the north side of Sydney Harbour, In Certain Circles is an intense psychological drama about family and love, tyranny and freedom.' (Publication abstract)

2014 winner y separately published work icon The Night Guest Fiona McFarlane , Melbourne : Penguin , 2013 6012414 2013 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

'The debut of a major Australian writer, The Night Guest is a mesmerising novel about trust, love, dependence, and the fear that the things you think you know may become the things you're least sure about.

One morning an elderly widow called Ruth wakes thinking a tiger has been in her seaside house. Later that day a formidable woman called Frida arrives, looking as if she's blown in from the sea, but who has in fact come to care for Ruth.

Frida and the tiger: both are here to stay, and neither is what they seem. How far can Ruth trust them? And as memories of childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency, how far can she trust herself?

The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane's hypnotic first novel, is no simple tale of a crime committed and a mystery solved. This is a tale that soars above its own suspense to tell us, with exceptional grace and beauty, about ageing, love, power and perception; about how the past can colonise the present, and about things (and people) in places they shouldn't be. Above all, it's a brilliantly involving story about two very particular women.' (Publisher's blurb)

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