The winning entry in the inaugural Editia Prize is a 10,000-word snapshot into the lives of women in Central Australia, Minyma, by former social worker and freelance writer Carly Lorente.
While Lorente now lives on the north coast of NSW, the work is based on her experiences during a year spent working for an indigenous women’s council in Central Australia in 2010.
She says that working for indigenous bosses rather than for the Government gave her “a true picture of what was happening”.
The judges described Minyma as the standout entry.
“It was vivid, and very assured,” broadcaster and author Jane Caro said.
“She didn’t over-explain everything. She just gave you the scene and let you draw your own conclusions rather than point out the moral or tell you what to think.”
Former editor of The Australian Malcolm Schmidtke said Minyma was “by far the best written piece”.
“It held me for the full journey,” he said, adding that Lorente’s role as a participant rather than just an observer was integral to the strength of the work.
“She’s actually part of what’s going on all the time,” he said.
Like Caro, University of Canberra Professor of Journalism Matthew Ricketson appreciated the way Lorente showed and didn’t tell. “She saved that for the end, when she opened the shoulders and really said what she thought, but I thought that was quite effective,” he said.
“She feels almost as helpless and muddled as other people clearly do [about the problems women face in indigenous communities], but she also really brings it together in a very pithy and succinct way, how the ten months she’s spent in these communities has been both uplifting and frustrating. She pulls that together really nicely.”
Lorente was thrilled to hear she’d won the inaugural prize and is looking forward to working with an editor ahead of the book’s publication through Editia in coming months.
She knows exactly what she’s going to do with the $2500 advance on royalties she’ll receive as winner: buy a new computer to write on.
“My son broke my laptop two weeks ago … he ripped the back off,” she said, thrilled at the prospect of being able to replace it with a brand new one. “Wouldn’t it be fantastic to use it to go back to Central Australia!”
- Read an extract from Minyma and more about Carly Lorente here.
- Read about the other shortlisted entries, Beyond Biosphere and Ephemera Revisited, here and here.
- Read all about the Editia Prize here.