The Upwelling

Lystra Rose

2023 Winner

Cover image of The Upwelling

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 — in equal parts surprising and enthralling. When readers meet Kirra, she laments the culture denied to her by 200 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 which might exist between the reader and the text. Rose’s teenagers are alive on the page, fully realised and relatable. 

The Upwelling is an achievement, and it carves a new way for readers, young and old, into our continent’s past. 

Updated on 23 August 2023