Vogel prize a literary dream for creative writing student
University of Adelaide Creative Writing PhD student Stefan Laszczuk has won Australia's richest and most prestigious prize for an unpublished manuscript - the $20,000 Vogel Literary Award.
The 34-year-old writer's winning manuscript was for a novel called I Dream of Magda, set in a bowling alley and telling the story of a man from a dysfunctional family.
Described by the judges as "totally engaging", Laszczuk's major creative work for his PhD project is due to be published next year.
The prize confirms Laszczuk's talent as a writer, following on the heels of his first novel, The Goddamn Bus of Happiness (Wakefield Press, 2005), which won the 2004 SA Festival award for an unpublished manuscript.
That novel was developed as part of Laszczuk's Masters in Creative Writing at the University.
Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide, Professor Nicholas Jose, said Laszczuk's award continues the University's association with the Vogel.
Eva Sallis won it in 1997 for her novel Hiam, written when she was a PhD student in English.
She later taught Creative Writing at the University and is now an affiliate lecturer.
Other Creative Writing students have been commended in recent years, including Corrie Hosking, Rachel Hennessy, Amy Matthews and Heather Taylor Johnson.
"The PhD program gives emerging writers the chance to develop their work to a state that is ready to be submitted to publishers and for competitions such as this," Professor Jose said.
"We actively encourage and assist students to get their work into the public domain through readings, events, as well as publications."
Professor Jose described Laszczuk's writing as "contemporary, funny and touching".
"It's also well conceived and well-crafted. Stefan has great comic gifts and uses humour to deal with troubling and difficult subjects."
Story by Candy Gibson