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Curtin graduate and former tutor wins Fogarty Literary Award

Media release

A Curtin University graduate and former sessional academic has received the inaugural Fogarty Literary Award for her manuscript The History of Mischief, which she wrote during 12 eventful years in her work and personal life.

Dr Rebecca Higgie won the award, which is for Western Australian writers aged 18 to 35, and earned a $20,000 cash prize from the Fogarty Foundation along with a publishing contract with Fremantle Press.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated Dr Higgie on her success, saying she was selected from 64 entrants from Western Australia.

“The new Fogarty Literary Award offers timely assistance to writers in the early stages of their creative career and Dr Higgie has clearly shown her ability as an emerging literary talent,” Professor Terry said.

“I congratulate Dr Higgie on this tremendous achievement.  It will be exciting to follow her future success as a writer, which I’m sure will be helped by her new publishing contract with Fremantle Press.”

Dr Higgie said that in the 12 busy years it took to complete the manuscript, she also earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Communications and Cultural Studies, completed her PhD and tutored at Curtin University, undertook a post-doctorate in London, got married and became pregnant.

“I’m so pleased that this story, which has been with me for so long, will finally make it to print. It’s a real honour to have been selected from such a talented group of writers,” Dr Higgie said.

“The novel draws together a collection of intensively-researched histories, so I needed to draw on my academic skills. Even parts of my PhD, which studied satire and politics, ended up in there!

“Completing the manuscript, the birth of my first child and now winning this award all around the same time has been very special.”

The History of Mischief, which is set for publication in 2020, is a novel for younger teens about a pair of siblings who, having recently lost their parents, discover a mysterious book of magical stories that leads to random acts of mischief.

Curtin Creative Writing graduate Ben Mason and Curtin Journalism graduate Emma Young were Fogarty Literary Award finalists, with the latter also receiving a publishing contract with Fremantle Press.

The Fogarty Literary Award is presented by the Fogarty Foundation, which was established in 2000 to support and provide educational and leadership opportunities for young people in Western Australia.