2022 - Winner
In The Gaps, the abduction of sixteen-year-old Yin Mitchell fundamentally reshapes everyday life for the Year Tens at Balmoral Ladies College. Leanne Hall immerses the reader in their world — their anxieties, collective grief and creative ambitions — and the result is a novel that not only feels authentic and lived in, but uniquely of this moment.
The novel is deeply concerned with race, gender and privilege, and Hall’s deft touch keeps The Gaps from ever being didactic. Alternating narrators, scholarship student Chloe and queen bee Natalia, allow Hall different vantage points from which to explore young womanhood.
The Gaps maintains a propulsive pace. There is a beauty and economy to Hall’s language use. Vivid pictures are painted with few words. This is an accomplished work that lingers with readers long after it ends.