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News  •  5 June 2024


Chloe Adams wins the $20,000 Penguin Literary Prize 2024 for The Occupation

Penguin Random House Australia is thrilled to announce The Occupation by Chloe Adams as the winner of the Penguin Literary Prize 2024.

In 2017, the Penguin Literary Prize was established to discover, nurture, and develop literary fiction writers, providing a unique platform for new and diverse voices to emerge.

Offering aspiring authors from across Australia the chance to become a part of the Penguin Random House (PRH) community, the prize includes $20,000 and the opportunity for the winner to publish with PRH AU, home to over 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors. As the richest prize for an unpublished manuscript in the Australian publishing industry, the Penguin Literary Prize also has an amazing legacy of fostering some of our country’s best and brightest voices.

This year’s winner, Chloe Adams, is no exception.

‘Penguin Random House’s support of aspiring literary writers in this country is frankly unmatched,’ says Adams. ‘I’m beyond delighted to receive this award, and to follow in the footsteps of so many wonderful writers since the prize’s inception.’

Adams’ manuscript, The Occupation tells the story of a young woman who travels to Japan in 1948 as part of the Allied occupation force. While there, she is confronted with moral ambiguity and the consequences of her own transgressions.

‘At the heart of The Occupation is a story that has run through my family for three generations, casting an unexamined shadow. In that regard, this story is seventy-five years in the making, so I’m thrilled it can finally be told,’ says Adams.

The manuscript was selected from a shortlist of six entries, and the judging panel included Meredith Curnow, publisher and Kathryn Knight, senior editor from PRH Australia; Suzy Wilson from Riverbend Books; Emily Westmoreland from Avenue Bookstore; and James Gatherum-Goss from Dymocks.

Of the selection process, publisher Meredith Curnow says, ‘This annual conversation with booksellers is always enlightening, stimulating and fun. Their generosity in leaning into the potential of the shortlisted manuscripts and writers is wonderful. We agreed that Chloe Adams has crafted an affecting war story and a moving love story in a time and setting we knew little about.’

Suzy Wilson from Riverbend Books says, ‘This experience made me feel a lot closer to the author experience and the long hours they put in without being assured of success. When you read polished, published books, you miss this rare insight into the raw efforts of the author.’

Of this year’s winner, James Gatherum-Goss from Dymocks says, ‘Chloe Adams with The Occupation, is absolutely deserving of the accolade. I always enjoy a story rooted in true events and Chloe brings that narrative to life with authentic and atmospheric prose. I can’t wait to see it on bookstore shelves everywhere.’

‘I also want to congratulate the other shortlisted authors on their excellent manuscripts, which made awarding this year’s prize incredibly difficult and subject to much debate between us judges,’ says James.

Since its inception, the Penguin Literary Prize has received submissions from across Australia in a variety of genres and subjects. Previous winners include Hitch by Kathryn Hind (2018), The Spill by Imbi Neeme (2019), The Rabbits by Sophie Overett (2020), Denizen by James McKenzie Watson (2021), On A Bright Hillside in Paradise by Annette Higgs (2022) and Jade and Emerald by Michelle See-Tho (2023).

The next round of submissions for the PRH Literary Prize will open later this year.

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