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The Upwelling

2023 - Shortlisted


Judges' Comments

The Upwelling is a sweeping fantasy novel that plants three misfits, the misunderstood Kirra, the underestimated Narn and the feisty Tarni, between two warring spirits. Theirs is a story that moves with urgency, equal parts surprising and enthralling. When readers meet Kirra, she laments the culture denied to her by two hundred years of genocide and segregation lines. Lystra Rose’s time-slip narrative gives her, and readers, connection to and insight into that culture. 

The story is steeped in Indigenous knowledge, thoroughly researched and replicated with permission. By incorporating practices, Dreaming stories, and the Yugambeh language, Rose invites young adult readers to experience a region’s culture. This is an impressive work, bolstered by lean, precise prose and characterisation that bridges the cultural divides might exist between the reader and the text. Rose’s teenagers are alive on the page, fully realised and relatable.