Affirm Press today announced the winners of its second Affirm Mentorship Award, run in partnership with Varuna, the Writers’ House. The successful writers were:

  • Angela J Williams, for her creative nonfiction–memoir Snakes and Ladders: A memoir of the prison game
  • Stephen Gray, for his adult literary fiction novel The Family Plot
  • Sonia Orchard, for her adult literary fiction novel About the Fire

The recipients will undertake a one-week residency at Varuna, situated in the inspiring Blue Mountains, and receive one-on-one editorial workshop with editors Ruby Ashby-Orr and Kate Goldsworthy.

The award received 109 manuscripts, and the team at Affirm Press selected the winners based ‘on the quality of the candidates’ writing, and the strength of their ideas as well as the potential of these manuscripts to fit with the Affirm Press list.

Last year Affirm Press acquired the rights to award recipient Paula Keogh’s memoir The Green Bell, which will be published in March 2017.

About this year’s winning manuscripts:

About the Fire, Sonia Orchard
‘By the winner of the 2009 Indie Award for Best Debut Novel, About the Fire is a thought-provoking, absorbing and unsettling novel revolving around a troubled female friendship. We were impressed by the craft of Sonia’s writing, and her excellent construction of characters and relationships.’

Snakes and Ladders: A Memoir of the Prison Game, Angela J Williams
‘More than a decade after Angela had kicked crime and drugs, she went to police as a victim – only to be arrested on an outstanding warrant and put back in prison again. Reminiscent of Piper Kerman’s memoir Orange Is the New Black, this memoir is strong, warm and incredibly engaging. We were struck by just how efficiently Angela hooked us in, setting up an unstoppable pace from page one.’

The Family Plot, Stephen Gray
‘By a Vogel Award-winning author, this novel takes a vibrant, fascinating look at Australia between the wars, skilfully combining politics and family drama with a gripping mystery. After a fourteen-year absence, Oliver, an ex-communist returns to his family home in Port Darwin ready to confront his past. But his mother is missing, and to find her Oliver must delve into the darkest of family secrets, confronting the failure of his own ideals.’

The 2017 application open date will be announced early next year.