Congratulations Jane Rawson! Jane is the winner of the 2014 Most Underrated Book Award (MUBA) for her debut novel A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, published by Transit Lounge.
The announcement was made at an event during the Small Press Network Independent Publishing Conference which was held in Sydney November 13-14.
As reported in my roundup of this year’s shortlist, the MUBA aims to “shine a light on some of the outstanding titles that are released by small and independent Australian publishers that, for whatever reason, did not receive their fair dues when first released”.
The judges of this year’s prize included Books Plus bookseller Jenny Barry, Kinokuniya book buyer Helene Byfield and Fictioners.net blogger Nick Hudson. They described A Wrong Turn as “a genre-busting work of dark humour.”
Transit Lounge’s publisher, Barry Scott told the Sydney Morning Herald that: “Jane plays with genres but the story and characters are what is important. The fact that the book is set in a future Melbourne and the western suburbs where we are based was an added bonus. Three people from Transit Lounge read the book in manuscript form and we all loved it.”
The other shortlisted MUBA titles were Holy Bible by Vanessa Russell (Sleepers) and Gardens of Fire by Robert Kenny (UWA Publishing).
About the winning novel
“It is 1997 in San Francisco and Simon and Sarah have been sent on a quest to see America: they must stand at least once in every 25-foot square of the country. Decades later, in an Australian city that has fallen on hard times, Caddy is camped by the Maribyrnong River, living on small change from odd jobs, ersatz vodka and memories. She’s sick of being hot, dirty, broke and alone.
Caddy’s future changes shape when her friend, Ray, stumbles across some well-worn maps, including one of San Francisco, and their lives connect with those of teenagers Simon and Sarah in ways that are unexpected and profound.
A meditation on happiness – where and in what place and with who we can find our centre, a perceptive vision of where our world is headed, and a testament to the power of memory and imagination, this is the best of novels: both highly original and eminently readable.”
About the author
Jane Rawson, grew up in Canberra and now lives in Melbourne. She is a writer and editor who has worked for Lonely Planet and The Conversation. You can visit Jane’s website here.
I’m a freelance book reviewer, journalist, editor, and a librarian. I blog over at Wordsville and can be found on Twitter @PaulaGrunseit