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Rebecca Higgie wins Fogarty Literary Award with The History of Mischief

Rebecca Higgie wins Fogarty Literary Award with The History of Mischief

REBECCA Higgie has won the inaugural Fogarty Literary Award for her manuscript The History of Mischief.

The Como resident received the news on May 22 at a ceremony in the ECU Spiegeltent where she was awarded $20,000 in prize money and secured a publishing contract with Fremantle Press.

Higgie’s manuscript, which took her 12 years to complete, was one of 64 submitted by WA writers aged 18 to 35.

Inspiration for Higgie’s work came from a decision her parents made when she was 18 years old.

“When I turned 18, my parents changed their will so I would become the legal guardian of my siblings if they both died,” she said.

“It made me imagine what it would be like to care for my siblings while also grappling with my own grief and the legal issues that come with a deceased estate.”

She said The History of Mischief was about the many things we do to try to escape grief and the stories we tell in order to protect those we love and ourselves.

It follows the story of younger teens Jessie and Kay who lose their parents in a car accident.

Unable to stand the memories in their family home, they move to their grandmother’s house in Guildford where they find a mysterious book hidden beneath the floorboards – a book of magical stories that inspires younger sister Jessie to random acts of mischief.

“I loved the idea of a book that speaks of magic hidden in the floorboards,” Higgie said.

“It’s been hard grappling with a novel for so long. I kept going because I was determined to finish.

“I was passionate about the story, I loved my characters but I wasn’t sure if it would ever be published.”

Fremantle Press chief executive Jane Fraser said since the quality of shortlisted manuscripts was so high, they would also award contracts to shortlisted writers Emma Young, a former Community News journalist, (Como) for The Last Bookstore and Michael Burrows (Nedlands) for Where the Line Breaks.

The History of Mischief is scheduled for publication in 2020 with an education tour planned to coincide with the book’s release.

Publishing dates for The Last Bookstore and Where the Line Breaks are yet to be announced.

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