Spark Prize 2022 Winner and Shortlist

23 Aug 2022 | Hardie Grant Books

About the Winner:

Becca Wang, Birth Right

A stunning non-linear poetic prose memoir from a Chinese-Australian first-generation immigrant, exploring the relationship between family and culture, death and mental illness.

Becca Wang is a Chinese-Australian writer and poet currently studying a BFA in Creative Writing at the Queensland University of Technology. Her focus is on exploring cultural identity, familial and romantic relationships, and femininity through memoir, short story, and poetry. Wang has an extensive background in hospitality, food, and wine, and has contributed to restaurant and bar reviews for the industry. Freelance editing and English tutoring are also part of Wang’s repertoire.

'Writing has always helped me see things clearer—a way to put all of my thoughts out on the table, take a step back, and make sense of things. Words are a means to immortalise moments, freeze-frame experiences so that weeks, months, years later, I get to relive the memories that have shaped my life.'

Becca Wang, Spark Prize Winner

'It’s not often that, as a reader, you have the privilege of experiencing the very early work of an amazing new voice. Birth Right holds the reader throughout its poetic exploration of challenging but important themes. This project represents the thrilling possibilities that contemporary creative non-fiction can offer, and I can’t wait to see how this book develops.'

– Clem Bastow, author of Late Bloomer

About Our Shortlist:

‘It was such an incredible joy to be a part of the Spark Prize judging panel. The diverse entries all exhibited the very best of what narrative non-fiction should be—compelling stories that provide the opportunity for deep introspection.’

– Shannon Grey, RMIT student and panel judge

Sarina Singh, Gender Reveal

An engaging and timely deep dive into the collision between parenting and the patriarchy, combining academic research, social commentary and first-hand observation.

Sarina Singh is a freelance writer from Brisbane. As the founder of Mother Tongue Copy & Content, she’s specialised in copywriting since 2013. Prior to that, she spent a decade working in various roles across marketing, events management, video and website production, and lifestyle television. A mother of two, Sarina is a self-described ‘born-again feminist’ passionate about gender equality, especially when it comes to children. 

Clare McCracken, Killing Snowmen

A funny and thought-provoking exploration of Australia’s obsession with ‘big things’, through the story of the doomed ‘big snowman’ and a road trip to see the ‘big carrot’ (the snowman’s nose).

Clare McCracken is a site-responsive artist, writer, and early-career researcher at RMIT University in Naarm/Melbourne. Her practice-led research sits at the intersection of art, human geography, and urban theory. Clare has exhibited across Australia and internationally, is a regular finalist in contemporary art awards, and has artworks included in private and public collections including the State Library of Victoria’s rare books collection. Her writing has been published in peer-review journals and as chapters in academic books on mobilities, and art and the city.  

Katerina Bryant, Queen Pawn

A journey through the pain, desire and joy of training and qualifying for the chess title of Woman Candidate Master, merging memoir and historical research about women in chess.

Katerina Bryant is a writer and PhD student based on Kaurna land. Her first book, Hysteria (NewSouth), was published in 2020. Katerina’s work has appeared in The Guardian, Meanjin, Griffith Review and Kill Your Darlings, amongst others. Her essays have been shortlisted for the 2016 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers, 2018 Feminartsy Memoir Prize and 2019 The Lifted Brow and non/fictionLab Prize for Experimental Nonfiction.

Sam Elkin, Pit Pony

A unique memoir of an early legal career in a struggling regional town, navigating country courts, workplace tensions and long-distance relationships as a gender non-conforming person.

Sam Elkin is a writer and radio maker. His essays have been published in the Griffith Review, Kill Your Darlings and the Sydney Review of Books, and he is the co-host of Triple R's Queer View Mirror. In 2020 Sam received a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter fellowship and an Australian Society of Authors fellowship in 2021. He is a co-editor of Nothing to Hide (forthcoming with Allen & Unwin).