The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award is given for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35. The winner's work is published by Allen & Unwin, and the winner also receives a cash prize, the amount of which has varied over time.
The award began in early 1980 when Niels Stevns, the owner of Vogel bread in Australia, approached the then literary editor of The Australian, Peter Ward, about collaborating on a cultural prize.
Stevns' approach to The Australian in 1980 was inspired by gratitude to his adopted land. As a lover of literature, he wanted to provide an opportunity specifically for young writers.
The award is a collaboration between Vogel's, The Australian and Allen & Unwin. Originally awarded for the best manuscript submitted by an author under 30, the age limit of the Award was increased to 35 in 1982.
The Vogel was not awarded in 1985, 2013, or 2019.
Sources include https://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=444 and https://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/books/disappointed-no-winner-for-australia-s-richest-manuscript-prize-20190513-p51mqi.html(Sighted: 10/12/2013.)
'Even before I knew anything about Granddad Les, Wally and me sometimes dared each other to see how close to the knackery we could get. It was way out in the bottom paddock, and Dad had banned us from going further than the dam. Wally said it was because the whole paddock was haunted. He said he could see ghosts wisping in the grass like sheets blown from the washing line. But even then I knew for sure that was a lie.
'Ten-year-old Cub lives with her parents, older brother Cassie, and twin brother Wally on a lonely property bordering an abandoned cattle farm and knackery. Their lives are shadowed by the infamous actions of her Granddad Les in his yellow weatherboard house, just over the fence.
'Although Les died twelve years ago, his notoriety has grown in Cub's lifetime and the local community have ostracised the whole family.
'When Cub's estranged aunt Helena and cousin Tilly move next door into the yellow house, the secrets the family want to keep buried begin to bubble to the surface. And having been kept in the dark about her grandfather's crimes, Cub is now forced to come to terms with her family's murky history.
'The Yellow House is a powerful novel about loyalty and betrayal; about the legacies of violence and the possibilities of redemption.' (Publication summary)
'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 that the newcomer, Franz Kafka, has the power to eclipse him for good, and he must decide to what lengths he will go to hold onto his success. But there is more to Franz than meets the eye, and Max, too, has secrets that are darker than even he knows, secrets that may in the end destroy both of them.
'The Lost Pages is a richly reimagined story of Max Brod’s life filtered through his relationship with Franz Kafka. In this inspired novel of friendship, fraud, madness and betrayal, Marija Pericicwrites vividly and compellingly of an extraordinary literary rivalry.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'How can hope exist when the past is so easily forgotten?
'Pasha Ivanov is a child of the Freeze, born in Moscow during Brezhnev's repressive rule over the Soviet Union. As a small child, Pasha sat at the kitchen table night after night as his parents and their friends gathered to preserve the memory of terrifying Stalinist violence, and to expose the continued harassment of dissidents.
'When Gorbachev promises glasnost, openness, Pasha, an eager twenty-four year old, longs to create art and to carry on the work of those who came before him. He writes; falls in love. Yet that hope, too, fragments and by 1999 Pasha lives a solitary life in St Petersburg. Until a phone call in the middle of the night acts as a summons both to Moscow and to memory.
'Through recollections and observation, Pasha walks through the landscapes of history, from concrete tower suburbs, to a summerhouse during Russia's white night summers, to haunting former prison camps in the Arctic north. Pasha's search to find meaning leads him to assemble a fractured story of Russia's traumatic past.' (Publication summary)
'In one way or another, isn't everyone on the run?
'A survivor of Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires takes asylum with old friends in the Dandenong Ranges. An editor-in-chief drives his sister halfway around the country to an east-coast rehabilitation clinic. A single mother flies to Perth with her autistic son for one last holiday. A father at the end of his tether tries to survive the chaos of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. A group of young friends hire a luxury beach house in the final weeks of one of their lives. A postman hits a pedestrian and drives off into the night.
'When There's Nowhere Else to Run is a collection of stories about people who find their lives unravelling. They are teachers, lawyers, nurses, firemen, chefs, gamblers, war veterans, hard drinkers, adulterers, widows and romantics. Seeking refuge all across the country, from the wheat belt of Western Australia, the limestone desert of South Australia, the sugarcane towns of Queensland, the hinterland of New South Wales to the coastline of Victoria, they discover that no matter how many thousands of kilometres they put between themselves and their transgressions, sometimes there's nowhere else to run. (Publication summary)
'It is early 1942 and Australia is in the midst of war.
'While working at a Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Dr Ibaraki is arrested as an enemy alien and sent to Loveday internment camp in a remote corner of South Australia. There, he learns to live among a group of men divided by culture and allegiance.
'As tensions at the isolated camp escalate, the doctor's long-held beliefs are thrown into question and he is forced to confront his dark past: the promise he made in Japan and its devastating consequences.' (From the publisher's website.)
'It's the 1880s and Marvellous Melbourne is a lavish and raucous city where anything could happen. Eccentric entrepreneur Edward William Cole is building the sprawling Cole's Book Arcade and filling it with whatever amuses him, or supports his favourite causes: a giant squid, a brass band, monkeys, a black man whose skin has turned white, a Chinese tea salon, and of course, hundreds of thousands of books.
'When Edward decides to marry he advertises for a wife in the newspaper, shocking and titillating the whole town. To everyone's surprise he marries his broadsheet bride and the Arcade grows into a monumental success.
'But the 1890s depression hits Melbourne - and Edward - hard, and the death of one of his children leaves him reeling. Grief, corruption and a beautiful, unscrupulous widow all threaten to derail his singular vision. But it's not until he visits Chinatown one night - and his own deeply suppressed past - that the idealist faces his toughest challenge.
'Utopian Man is the story of a man who lives life on his own terms, and leaves behind a remarkable legacy.' (Publisher's blurb)Joint winner with Night Street by Kristel Thornell.
'Night Street is the passionate story of a young painter, Clarice Beckett, who defies society's strict conventions and indifferent art critics alike and leads an intense private and professional life. With her extraordinary talent for making simple city and seascapes haunting and mysteriously revelatory, Clarice paints prolifically and lives largely, overcoming the seemingly confined existence as the spinster daughter in the parental home.
Night Street began with Thornell's first encounter with the paintings of Melbourne artist Clarice Beckett (1887-1935) at the Art Gallery of South Australia. The subtle power of Clarice's highly atmospheric, enigmatic landscapes enabled her to imagine Clarice's inner life and shape an extraordinary novel.' (Publisher's blurb)Joint winner with Utopian Man by Lisa Lang.
'On an electric night in 1954, Evdokia Petrov, a Russian intelligence worker from the Soviet Embassy in Canberra, arrives at Mascot Aerodrome as a prisoner of her colleagues. Her husband has defected. She is returning to Moscow where under Soviet law, she will be punished for his crime. A novel from the shadows, Document Z draws the story of the Petrov Affair from ASIO's archive of the event. It is a tale of lies and betrayal, the Cold War on Australian soil.'
Source: Allen & Unwin website, http://www.allenandunwin.com/
'''Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
'Tolstoy wasn't thinking specifically of the Harrison family when he wrote those words, but maybe he should have been. George Harrison is twenty-eight and afraid of the dark. His father is dead and his mother lives in la-la land. Reeling from a broken heart, and still coping with the trauma of a childhood home invasion, George works in a dead-end job in a bowling alley and finds rare solace in the giant painting of an alien that sits outside his room. His brother Matthew isn't much better off. After losing the love of his life in a traumatic car accident, he's retreated into a private world of sleep where he dreams about falling in love with comedienne Magda Szubanski.
'Matthew and George are each stuck in their own little messed-up world, with no idea how to get out, and neither of them is sure whether their unhappy family will ever finally pull together, or simply just fall apart.' (Publisher's blurb)
'Set in a small riverside community, The River Baptists tells the story of Rose, bunkered down in a borrowed house overlooking the river, grieving for her dead father and waiting for her baby to be born. It is also the story of Danny, another refugee from life elsewhere, hiding out from his violent father and dreaming of owning a block of land on the river. Then there are the river old-timers, who miss nothing and forget less, and a newcomer who cares nothing for the locals, or the secrets of the past. Set over the course of a long hot tense summer, when sparks constantly threaten to ignite bushfires, the tight-knit riverside community is set alight by confidences betrayed and a renewed age-old grudge.
'And through it all flows the mysterious pulse of the river, indifferent, deep and calm, offering the possibility of life and death, renewal and rebirth.' (Publisher's blurb)
'A love story of sorts, Tuvalu tells the story of Noah Tuttle, who is glumly and aimlessly living a half kind of life in a cheap rundown hostel in the seamier margins of Tokyo, a place overrun with feral cats and cockroaches. He teaches mediocre English to disinterested students, sleeps with his girlfriend, Tilly, when she's around, drinks beer when he can afford it, and generally avoids other people and their expectations. Nothing much happens to him - until, that is, he meets the wealthy, captivating and completely self-absorbed Mami Kaketa, a supremely selfish creature who leaves people like so much litter in her wake, so brazen and capricious she should come with a health warning.
'A blackly funny, inconclusive and strangely beguiling story of ennui, escape, exile and dreams.' (Publisher's blurb)
'With dreams of moving to a house by the sea haunting their every day, Millvan and his wife, Michelle, owners of a riverside property in a small outback farming community, struggle with drought, friends, adversaries and the wrenchingly familiar rural cycle of hope and despair.
'Drown them in the Sea tells a compellingly honest story of the challenges and hardships of farming life in Australia. In vivid, vital language, Nicholas Angel captures both devastated landscape and human desire in this powerfully authentic evocation of life on the land.' (Synopsis)
'A tiny coin found inside a Cloudy Bay oyster, a postcard of a white-haired child leaning against a beached dinghy and a coconut peeled and carved once upon a time on the Batavian coast. These trinkets, found in a sea chest, and the fragmented memories of her grandfather's tall tales are all Essie Lewis has left of her family history.
'After her grandfather's death, Essie returns to Bruny Island, Tasmania and to the lighthouse where her great-great-grandfather kept watch for nearly 40 years. Beneath the lighthouse, she begins to write the stories of her ancestors. But the island is also home to Pete Shelverton, a sculptor who hunts feral cats to make his own peace with the past. And as Essie writes, she finds that Pete is a part of the history she can never escape.' (Synopsis)
'Shipwrecked off the coast of Western Australia in 1835, Dorothea Newell is marooned on Middle Island with other survivors. Stranded, they seek shelter in a sealers' camp. The desolate environment of the island camp is a place where men from all corners of the globe struggle to trade seal skins, and the appearance of women-rare commodities in that place and time-opens a further form of trade. As a desperate means of survival, Dorothea is forced into an alliance with the camp's fierce leader, John Anderson.
'Skins is the compelling story of Dorothea's emotional and physical journey back to civilisation. Featuring an immense, wild landscape of ocean and islands untainted by human existence, Sarah Hay writes a remarkable tale of people who have fallen through the gaps of recorded history.' (Synopsis)
'Margaret Thatcher Gandarrwuy is an internationally renowned Aboriginal artist from the remote Mission Hole community in the Northern Territory. Her works command high prices - until a new painting is unveiled. It is discovered slashed, with the words hastily scrawled across it, 'The artist is a thief'. Is the artist a thief? Is she to blame, or is she the victim of somebody else's fraud?
'This is a philosophical detective novel with a difference, set in a world where everyone but the 'detective' knows the rules. Jean-Loup Wild, a Melbourne financial consultant sent by ATSIC to Mission Hole, is caught between the art world, with its wealth, fashions, heroes and sophisticated private language, and the Aboriginal community with its poverty, social problems, kinship ties and unchanging traditional law. If Jean-Loup can find the artist he can begin to find the secret of what has been happening at Mission Hole. He can begin, also, to understand how the layers of that mystery lie deep in the bedrock of Australian society.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'The brothers Kovalenko...did not kill Jews just because they were poor and Ukrainian, and did not know any better. They killed Jews because they believed that they themselves were savages.'
'The Hand that Signed the Paper tells the story of Vitaly, a Ukrainian peasant, who endures the destruction of his village and family by Stalin's communism. He welcomes the Nazi invasion in 1941 and willingly enlists in the SS Death Squads to take a horrifying revenge against those he perceives to be his persecutors.
'This remarkable novel, a shocking story of the hatred that gives evil life, is also an eloquent plea for peace and justice.' (Publication summary)
'In one despairing moment Theodosios abandons his wife and gorilla child and then spends a lifetime trying to get them back. But what's a lifetime in a place like this?
'One minute you're a woman. The next you're a bear. There's a woman here who is neither man nor woman. And a man who's both man and beast.
'Here nothing belongs to you - not even your grief. People steal your letters and gossip your thoughts before you've spoken them. And when they're desperate - and at some point everyone is desperate - they go to the whorehouse. . . From the centre of chaos, Mirella, the ancient whore, finds a calm place to tell this unforgettable, timeless tale.' (Publication summary)
'Beneath a vast constructed/deconstructed landscape (both human and geographic) lies a labyrinth of disused mineshafts. It is a landscape in which vast saline lakes suddenly appear overnight, in which wheat babies disappear into wheat fields, in which lizards are mistaken for rocks, in which a huge grain silo becomes a cathedral and a gold front-end loader the angel of the apocalypse. It is a place where history repeats/mirrors itself and is populated by doppelganagers and we find ourselves following the after-image of the phosphene as though it was a manuscript hoping for illumination.
'The book deals with multiplicity of perception - through history/memory, national mythologies, families and writing (blood and ink), puzzles and their reasons - which might be said to be their execution.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
Madness, cruelty and sexuality permeate the house where she grew up, but Lilian's sights are set on education, love and - finally - her own transcendent forms of independence. Lilian Singer, who starts life at the beginning of the twentieth century as the daughter of a prosperous middle-class Australian family and ends it as a cheerfully eccentric bag-lady living on the streets, quoting Shakespeare for a living.
'Jerra and his best mate Sean set off in a beaten-up old VW to go camping on the coast. Jerra's friends and family want to know when he will finish university, when he will find a girl. But they don't understand about Sean's mother, Jewel, or the bush or the fish with the pearl. They think he needs a job, but what Jerra is searching for is more elusive. Only the sea, and perhaps the old man who lives in a shack beside it, can help. An Open Swimmer is a remarkable first novel by one of Australia's most loved and respected writers.' (Publication summary)