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Young Tasmanian Arts graduate wins top literary prize

Kate Kruimink

Kate Kruimink’s baby was just a few months old when exhaustion began to consume her; she felt compelled to walk and write.

Combining the two pursuits turned out to be a career-defining decision. The book she penned during this challenging time eventually winning one of Australia’s most prestigious literary awards - The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award.

“I was at home with my baby and she was a particularly poor sleeper,” the alumna author recalls.

“I was so tired that I was almost hallucinating at the time, but the things that kept me going were walking and writing, and I found a way to combine the two.”

Each year Kate contemplated entering the literary prize designed to elevate young writers.

“I googled it and I had about eight months until the deadline, so I thought I would use it as an exercise to stimulate my brain and give myself something to work towards.”

The 33-year-old would walk along the beach, write in a local café and tap away on her laptop, sometimes as her daughter slept in her arms.

Twenty minutes before the award deadline passed, Kate hit send.

Kate (BA 2013) has always loved literature, a passion that inspired her to study English and History at the University of Tasmania- where she now works as an English Language teacher.

“I found the teaching across the University first-rate and it really did inform my writing.”

In fact, it was during her studies that she became inspired to write about colonial Tasmania, the setting of her debut novel.

A Treacherous Country tells the tale of Gabriel Fox and his quest in Van Diemen’s Land to find a woman called Maryanne Maginn.

Judges described it as “witty, warm, lively and elegant.”

Winning the $20,000 award has given Kate the encouragement to continue to pursue her passion.

It has been the launching pad for a string of successful authors, including Kate Grenville and Tim Winton.

“I am in illustrious company,” Kate said.

“I’m also aware that many authors do not go on to become household names, so I’m trying to celebrate this achievement and forge a career as an author, but without too much expectation.”

To find more books penned by fellow graduates, please visit our alumni reading list.

Published on: 13 May 2020 1:34pm