Fremantle Press has snapped up not one but two more debut books from the 2018 City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award shortlist. Julie Sprigg and Yuot A. Alaak join winner Holden Sheppard on the Fremantle Press publishing program with books scheduled for release in 2020.
‘It’s clear that there is a huge amount of untapped writing talent in Western Australia,’ said publisher Georgia Richter, ‘and that’s exemplified in the high standard and high volume of submissions we had to the award. It’s very exciting for us to add these two bright new writers and their stories to the Fremantle Press list.’
Sprigg’s memoir Chewing Porridge follows her experiences working as a physiotherapist in the slums of Ethiopia. She said she couldn’t wait to get started with the editorial team. ‘I wrote this manuscript as I wanted to bring to life the stories of the fragility and resilience of the people I worked with, and to give a window into a world that few people get to experience. It was a dream come true to be shortlisted for the T.A.G Hungerford Award and beyond my dreams to be offered a publishing contract with Fremantle Press.’
Alaak’s Father of the Lost Boys is the story of his father, Mecak Ajang Alaak, who led almost 20,000 unaccompanied minors, Yuot included, out of danger during Africa’s longest civil war. Alaak described it as ‘an important story that needs to be told’.
He said, ‘Getting the manuscript contracted is a dream come true and I was still pinching myself days later. I am glad to join the Fremantle Press family, a phenomenal Australian publisher, as I continue to learn and develop as a writer. I am excited for the road ahead and look forward to the editing and publishing processes and in bringing this important story to life and into the hands of our readers’.
Both Sprigg and Alaak’s manuscripts were shortlisted from over 70 entries to the 2018 City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford award. Publisher Georgia Richter said the 2018 award had attracted more manuscripts than she’d ever encountered in the ten years since she became a Hungerford judge.
The City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award is given biennially to a full-length manuscript of fiction or narrative non-fiction by a Western Australian author previously unpublished in book form. It is sponsored by the City of Fremantle, Fremantle Press, Fremantle Library and The West Australian.