2018 Deborah Cass Prize won by Karina Ko

Karina Ko, winner of the 2018 Deborah Cass Prize for Writing (Photographed by David Patston)

The 2018 Deborah Cass Prize for Writing Award has been won by Karina Ko for her story, Things I Used to Believe.

Judges Christos Tsiolkas, Nyadol Nyuon and Tony Ayres described Karina’s story, a prose poem about the ghosts who stalk the lives of children and adults in a family divided between two cultures, as “coherent and captivating, the work of a natural writer.”

Karina (pictured), whose parents migrated from Hong Kong before she was born, is an arts-law graduate from Sydney who is working on a collection of short stories in her spare time from her job. Karina told us:

“As with most pursuits that we care about, I experience some self-doubt with my writing. This is one of the first times that I’ve shared my writing outside my little circle. It has also connected me with other writers so that we can encourage and motivate each other. Thank you so much to everyone involved for making this prize happen.”

Second prize was won by EJ Sun for her story, Maybe It’s Wanchai, and third prize by Su-May Tan for her story, The Origin of Things.

All three finalists received their awards from ABC presenter and Meanjin editor Jonathan Green at a well-attended and lively presentation of the fourth Prize at Abbotsford Convent on Wednesday 5th December 2018.

About the Prize

The Deborah Cass Prize for Writing is a prize for Australian writers from a migrant background.

It was established in 2015 and we are already having a big impact, with our inaugural winner published in 2018, The Fireflies of Autumn, by Moreno Giovannoni.
The Prize was designed to help early-career migrant writers get their first book published.

Prize package

    • Cash prize of $3,000 to the winner
    • We fund an established author to provide a three-month mentorship to the winner
  • The winner is introduced to Black Inc, one of Australia’s leading publishers
  • There is also the opportunity for publication of the winning excerpt in Mascara Literary Review
The Prize acknowledges the generosity of all our donors and volunteers, including our judges and shortlist readers. You can make a tax deductible donation here or contact us to volunteer your services.
Writers Victoria administers the application process and promotes the prize through its networks and national writers organisation peers.
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