November 20, 2013
From the ABR, November 2013, Judge’s Report
Late last month, at a lively ceremony held at Gleebooks, David Malouf named Michelle Michau-Crawford’s ‘Leaving Elvis’ as the overall winner of the 2013 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. The first prize is worth $5000. The judges – Tony Birch, Maria Takolander, and Terri-ann White – could not split the other two shortlisted stories, Rebekah Clarkson’s ‘The Five Truths of Manhood’ and Kim Mahood’s ‘The Accident’; each author receives $1500.
Here is the judges’ report:
The judges for 2013 Jolley Prize had a huge task of reading through an unprecedented number of entries to produce a longlist of forty-two, a shortlist of nine, then, finally, a winner. With ‘Leaving Elvis’, Michelle Michau-Crawford tells a story of regret and adolescent memories – a story containing a relinquished baby – and the pain of silence. It is distinctively and successfully achieved through the undercutting of wry language and expression and gentle humour. The figure of the grandmother in the story – a fiercely loyal survivor – is a wonderful creation. We were impressed by the breadth of this story. The way it was shaped and told made it our unanimous choice as winner. It also, curiously, had echoes of the distinctive elements of Elizabeth Jolley’s own fiction and of the subterranean worlds of silence and deception, and unlikely heroes, she created in her books.