Warning: Some of the winning works include adult content and explicit language.
Fiction: Deniz Agraz, The Golden Bracelet(PDF, 118KB)
Judge's comments: The Turkish story ‘The Golden Bracelet’ is the winning story. The unique setting and hidden emotional trauma of lost relationships and baby, give the story a poignant power. Migrant experiences are important and stories that resonate with cultural richness are inspiring. I liked the combination of everyday observation of food, language and interconnections between family members. The weighing of the golden bracelet seems like a metaphor about weighing up an old life. A letting go of a past marriage and the hope for a new life.
Non-Fiction: Lucia Tường Vy Nguyễn & Reina Brigette Takeuchi, Not Your Miss or Madame: A Three-Act Meditation on Love, Opera and Friendship
Judge's comments: This inventive hybrid work brings together the textual, visual, lyrical and poetic within a sophisticated interweaving of autobiography and cultural critique. Written in collaboration, the work is driven by, and articulates, the creative and radical act of friendship. The notion of friendship as resistance, politics, and play is powerfully rendered through a nonfiction that is formally various, suggestive of the possibilities and future directions of the genre, particularly in the digital space. It’s such a clever and engaging piece in its structure, its use of multiple voices and forms, and in its incisive critique of the inequalities of gender and race, across social structures and cultural production. It forges a path for creative work that seeks to reckon with exclusionary systems and structures, and is experimental nonfiction at its finest.
Poetry: Caroline Reid, A Poem To My Mother That She Will Never Read
Judge’s comments: Caroline Reid may (or may not) be a shouty person. But let it be said, this poem screams off the screen and demands (in the most beautiful and heart-achingly urgent of ways) to be read. This is a wild, grief-fuelled ride through the landscape of two coexisting worlds (the world of dementia and the ‘other’ world); a poem where the poet straddles what feels like the unbridgeable distance where those closest to us are furthest away; where a daughter mistypes google searches and looks to algorithms for answers where there are none; where the poet, wet with crazy in my good daughter devotion keeps searching and trying to get a handle on something that has no handle. This poem, in all its heartbreaking, jaw dropping glory jumps from one idea to the next like an adult playing leapfrog in a swing park where they don’t want to play anymore. It is original and fresh and devastating in all its terrible beauty.
Digital Innovation: Rae White, Stand Up
Judge's comments: 'Stand Up' is my winner. It was the most integrated and engaging of the pieces. It was immersive and considered. I felt like I was part of a specific story in a way that enhanced my experience as a reader.
Readers’ Choice Award: Cher Tan, By Signalling Nothing I Remain Opaque
The 2022 Woollahra Digital Literary Award recognises outstanding digital writing by Australian authors with the following shortlisted for this year’s prizes in four categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Digital Innovation.
An additional prize of the Readers’ Choice Award is on offer, which invites all readers to enjoy the shortlist below and cast their vote. The literature piece with the highest number of votes will receive a $250 prize.
The winners of each category, as well as the recipient of the Readers' Choice Award, will be announced in a ceremony at Woollahra Library at Double Bay on 22 November.
Warning: Some of the shortlisted works include adult content and explicit language, as well as disturbing or confronting topics. Readers' discretion is advised.
“The Golden Bracelet and Smoking Gym are both excellent stories and are Highly Commended. I found the challenge of selecting the winner difficult.The weighing of The Golden Bracelet seems like a metaphor about weighing up an old life. A letting go of a past marriage and the hope for a new life. In Smoking Gym, we cry with the mother who has lost her home but identify with the powerful kindness of the storyteller, her own massive losses hidden under cups of tea.” – Julie Janson
"The pool of entries for this year's award was of exceptional quality, spanning essays, memoir, criticism and experimental forms: a true showcase of the potential of the genre. I'd like to commend all entrants for their vital, engrossing work.
The best nonfiction connects us to the world around us, harnessing the dynamic power of attention, extending beyond the words on the page to provide for the reader a heightened perception of the work's subject. It encourages us to think differently, with greater complexity and clarity, exciting imagination while being grounded in the tangible. The shortlisted entries, in all their variety of forms and approaches, exhibit this quality to the utmost through their formal experimentation, precision of critical thought, and skill in autobiographical expression." – Vanessa Berry
- Kerry Greer, A Silhouette in Gray: Life in the Aftermath of Suicide(PDF, 167KB), Westerly
- Eda Gunaydin, Tell All, Sydney Review of Books
- Fiona Kelly McGregor, Acts of Avoidance, Sydney Review of Books
- May Ngo, Lives on the Line, Kill Your Darlings
- Lucia Tường Vy Nguyễn & Reina Brigette Takeuchi, Not Your Miss or Madame: A Three-Act Meditation on Love, Opera and Friendship, Going Down Swinging
- Felicity Plunkett, Plath Traps, Sydney Review of Books
- Cher Tan, By Signalling Nothing I Remain Opaque, disorganising
“Reading the poems submitted to this year’s Woollahra Digital Literary Award made me feel, to quote Emily Dickinson, as if the top of my head were taken off. From the brilliantly innovative to the melancholically beautiful, each poem contained worlds––of risk, edge, surprise, delight, heart, sorrow and beauty––each using language and form in original, fresh and exciting ways. This made whittling down the entries to this shortlist of six, nigh on impossible. I thank each and every poet who submitted their glorious words. It was beyond joyous to have been presented with such a rich well of poems from which to drink.” – Ali Whitelock
- Shastra Deo, Variations on the Word Ghost, Liminal
- Kylie Hough, Do You Find It Hard to Write?, OyeDrum Magazine
- Anna Jacobson, Memory Curls, Cordite Poetry Review
- Hannah Jenkins, Enderman’s Lament, Cordite Poetry Review
- Caroline Reid, A Poem To My Mother That She Will Never Read, Mslexia
- Saba Vasefi, The Portable Home, Red Room Poetry
Digital Innovation Shortlist
“This year there were a few themes that were present: the entries were predominantly retro, evoking an old internet, lo-fi feel. The stories, in particular the words, were also rather abstract and unconventionally presented. There was an element of gaming in some and the use of video was extensively used. The stronger submissions balanced the integration of technology with telling a compelling story.” – Brett Osmond