Two novels and a memoir have been selected as the winning manuscripts of the 2017 Affirm Press Mentorship Award.

The authors of the winning manuscripts will receive a week’s residency and manuscript development at Varuna, the National Writers’ House in the Blue Mountains. Two members of the Affirm Press editorial team, senior editor Ruby Ashby-Orr and editor Cosima McGrath, will provide in-depth manuscript development and feedback as part of the award.

Three very different stories, all with female protagonists, make up this year’s winners.

Inheritance by Kathryn O’Connor
Eileen and Anita have never met, yet they are connected in the most intimate of ways by a DNA fault-line that cuts deeper than either could have imagined. Two stories, one set in suburban Malvern in 1943, the other in present day Melbourne, run parallel to each other sharing themes of familial love, genetics, and the threat of violence both in the world and in the body.

From There to Here by Edita Mujkic
As war rages through Bosnia, a young mother must make the terrifying decision to leave her husband behind and make the perilous journey to safety with her two young children. In this true story of courage and humanity Edita Mujkic tells of being held hostage by the Serb para-army, scrambling to survive with no money and little food, and the agonising 600 days she spent away from her husband.

The Grand Pacific by Kerry Littrich
In the bohemian 70s, beautiful fifteen-year-old Estella Jones lives with her alcoholic mother in ‘The Grand Pacific’, a run-down hotel by the beach in Coogee. After giving birth to a still-born baby, the result of rape, Estella buries the body in the sand dunes and flees, hoping to keep her shame secret. Returning years later as a wealthy and enigmatic woman, Estella buys the crumbling hotel in an effort to make amends for the past and create a connection to her lost child.

Ruby Ashby-Orr said she was excited to meet the three writers.

‘There were so many excellent entries, so in the end we chose the manuscripts that we felt instantly passionate about and could contribute the most to during the program. The week at Varuna is always an intensely creative one. We have chosen such varied and fascinating manuscripts this year that I’m looking forward to our dinner conversations almost as much as the manuscript development sessions.’

In its third year the Affirm Press Mentorship Award received its greatest ever number of entrants. In March this year Affirm Press published Paula Keogh’s critically acclaimed memoir, The Green Bell, from the 2015 program.