Bardi Jawi man, Bebe Backhouse has penned his name into the history books as the winner of the 2022 Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards.
The emerging Aboriginal writer took out the prestigious prize for his compelling piece If This Is the End: Stories of Perpetual Echoes in a Corridor – exploring themes of relationships, home and family through personal and interpretive passages.
The piece was also awarded the Life Writing Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers, recognising an outstanding piece of work that highlights a uniquely Victorian story of Australia’s First People.
Four other emerging writers have also been crowned winners across other award categories, determined by a panel of five expert judges in a blind selection, including:
- Lord Mayor’s Prize winner: Bebe Backhouse
- The Dorothy Porter Award for Poetry winner: Mowing by Tim Loveday
A moving evocation of a place and time moored in memory, depicting a family riven by emotional distance and patriarchal aggression.
- Narrative Non-Fiction winner: Out West by Nathan Power
A chronicle of displacement and the search for belonging, mirroring the author’s experience of migration and relocation.
- Short Story set in Melbourne winner: How to Read Your Dreams by Jack Bastock
An imaginative short story interweaving speculative fiction and postmodernist storytelling.
- Life Writing Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers winner: If This Is the End: Stories of Perpetual Echoes in a Corridor by Bebe Backhouse
A compelling piece unravelling passages of loss, distance, yearning and affection, perfectly capturing the relationship between home, space and the body.
- Self-told Stories by Writers Living with a Disability winner: Neurodiverging into He[art]s and Darkness by Beau Windon
A “show, don’t tell” memoir playfully mirroring fragmented and unstable mental states.
For the first time, the City of Melbourne introduced a new category, Self-told Stories by Writers Living with a Disability, providing an opportunity for those with lived experience to share their stories.
Category winners will receive a $2,000 prize, while the overall winner will be awarded $10,000.
For more information on this year’s winners or to read the winning entries, visit Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards.
Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp
“As the first and only UNESCO City of Literature in Australia – we’re proud that books, storytelling and writing are a key part of our identity, community and economy.”
“These awards give our emerging creatives a platform to share their powerful stories with a wider audience. Our winner, Bebe Backhouse, embodies every part of that journey.”
“Our winners are fresh new voices in Melbourne’s literary scene that will no doubt contribute significantly to the breadth, depth and vibrancy of our city’s culture.”
Quotes attributable to Creative Melbourne portfolio lead Councillor Jamal Hakim
“Melbourne is a literary city – we devour more books, magazines and newspapers per capita than any other city in the country, and we have the highest concentration of community book clubs in the country.”
“We hope every winner can use this opportunity as a springboard for a future full of creative storytelling, while inspiring and guiding the next generation of emerging writers.”
Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Award Winner Bebe Backhouse
“We are all the sum of our stories, and for First Nations people, these stories extend to our ancestors. Recognition through these awards is transcendent – it not only acknowledges my work, but the lives and history of my people.”
“I am honoured to receive this award, and proud to be a part of the growing wave of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and truth-tellers changing the literary landscape across the country.”