Tom McLean, writing as Tom Remiger, is the winner of the 2019 Michael Gifkins Prize for his novel, Soldiers (shortlisted as The City). Remiger receives a publishing contract with Text and a NZ$10,000 advance against royalties. The award was accepted on his behalf this afternoon at a party held during Auckland Writers Festival week. The inaugural prize-winning debut, Attraction, by Ruby Porter was also launched at the event.
Soldiers is about what happens to men who go to war. After the death of Corporal Daniel Cousins in what is apparently a training accident, a young officer, Lieutenant Breen, becomes obsessed by the case. Was Cousins murdered by one of his own? Breen must also come to terms with his unexpected love affair with his superior officer
Captain Sinclair. As Breen starts to unravel, his motley crew of soldiers waits about for the suffering to come in the Battle for Crete. Soldiers tells a story of intense feeling and unforeseen experience in a strange and distant world.
Text will publish Remiger’s winning manuscript in May 2020.
Tom McLean is originally from Rotorua, but now lives in the UK and is completing a D.Phil in English literature. Tom Remiger is the name under which he writes fiction; his non-fiction and academic writing have been published in a number of journals and magazines.
On winning the prize, Remiger said that it was: ‘a stunning validation that the sometimes doubt-plagued experience of writing a novel was an effort worth making. That my novel will make its way out into the world with the support of such excellent publishers and editors is both reassuring and profoundly excit- ing, and I’m looking forward to the next stages of the process.’
Publisher Michael Heyward said: ‘This is the second year of the Michael Gifkins Prize, and we are delighted to report that we received almost 100 entries. We remain hugely grateful to Ann Hatherly and André Gifkins for their continued support of the prize, and must also acknowledge all the hard work done by the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) to make the prize possible. Thanks must also go to our fellow judges, Patricia Grace and Geoff Walker.’
‘We look forward to finding readers for this novel after the very successful publication of Ruby Porter’s Attraction which is out now to wide acclaim,’ he said.
Submissions for the 2020 Michael Gifkins Prize for an Unpublished Novel will open 22 July 2019. Please see the New Zealand Society of Authors website for entry forms and details of the 2019 shortlist and longlist.