The Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists Award

2010 The Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists has been announced. This award is for young writers under 35 years old.

Kalinda Ashton, 31, author of The Danger Game - The judges word: Told in three voices about a family’s flight from tragedy, this novel is distinguished by intelligent writing as well as its rigorous, often caustic vision of the contradictions of class and privilege that usually go unremarked in Australia. It is a reminder not just of how easily we forget those on the fringes of society but of the human cost of that failure.

Andrew Croome, 30, author of
Document Z - The judges word: A ‘factional’ novel about the Petrov affair, reminiscent of early John Le Carre, that gives us Canberra as we have never seen it before – a sinister, bureaucratic maze in which paranoia reigns. History’s one-dimensional figures become dynamic characters whose story is a powerful reminder not just of the dual nature of espionage, its unsettling combination of the mundane and the deadly, but of the human cost of power.

Emily Maguire, 33, author of Smoke in the room - The judges word: An unflinching portrait of three very different characters living in a Sydney flat, all damaged and caught between their desire for self-destruction and their need to survive. By turns raw, painful and tender, it is as striking for its intensity as for its moments of sudden, intimate fragility.

Craig Silvey, 27, author of Jasper Jones - The judges word: After the discovery of a hanged girl, a community’s fears and prejudices collide with three boys’ coming of age. Drawing on Southern Gothic influences, it has the energy of a thriller whose comedic tone underpins effortless language without loosening its grip on an intimate portrait of small-town Australia.

Parramatta City Library has all titles in its adult fiction collection and they are available for loan.