Rebecca Higgie won the inaugural Fogarty Literary Award for her manuscript The History of Mischief back in 2019 at a special ceremony at the ECU Spiegeltent. Chosen from a field of 64 manuscripts by Western Australian writers aged 18 to 35, Higgie won a $20,000 cash prize from the Fogarty Foundation and secured a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. Now her amazing book is available for you to buy.
The History of Mischief is a book for readers aged 12 to 112. It’s a book for book lovers, history lovers and adventure lovers. It’s about the many things we do to try to escape grief, and the stories we tell to protect ourselves and those we love.
Following the death of their parents, Jessie and her older sister, Kay, move to their grandmother’s abandoned house where they discover The History of Mischief hidden beneath the floorboards: it is a book like no other. Its pages take them from Ancient Greece to war-torn China, from the Ethiopian Empire to Victorian England, revealing a world of mischief and mystery, adventure and adversity. But the History has a history of its own, and Jessie’s attempts to unravel its secrets might be the biggest mischief of all.
Higgie, who worked on the winning manuscript on and off for twelve years, said, ‘I loved the idea of a book that speaks of magic hidden in the floorboards. When I turned 18, my parents changed their will so I would become the legal guardian of my siblings if they both died. It made me imagine what it would be like to care for my siblings while also grappling with my own grief and the legal issues that come with a deceased estate.’
As well as taking readers all over the world and into different time periods, The History of Mischief is set in libraries – school libraries, local libraries and the State Library of Western Australia. These are familiar settings for the former library officer at the State Library of WA and Guildford Primary. Higgie said, ‘The first time I saw the stacks of the State Library and smelt that off-honey scent from the decaying leather books, I felt like I was in a book myself. It was easy to start telling myself stories as I went about my work.’
The History of Mischief is available now in all good bookstores and online. Rebecca will be undertaking many online events in the next few months. Her next live-streamed event is through City of Bunbury Libraries at 4 pm AWST on 10 September. You can register to attend through Eventbrite.
Rebecca will also be part of a Facebook Live event with Better Reading at 6 pm AWST on 23 September. Rebecca will be speaking about her book and answering questions from the audience on the night. To register your interest and attend the event, visit the Better Reading event page.
The Fogarty Literary Award is sponsored by The Fogarty Foundation, established by Brett and Annie Fogarty in 2000 to support and provide educational and leadership opportunities for young people across the spectrum of the Western Australian community.