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The Lotus Eaters

2021 - Shortlisted


This riveting memoir tells of the author’s experiences as a teenager in South-East Asia, after she parts ways with her travelling companion and becomes stranded in Vietnam. As the narrator negotiates cultural differences, loneliness, binge drinking, abandonment, and a string of disappointing and sometimes dangerous lovers, she also wrestles with low self-esteem and her seemingly inexhaustible capacity for self-harm.

The narrative skilfully braids two time frames: one set during the solo adventure, the other during the events that led up to the narrator’s decision to ditch her self-absorbed best friend and travel on her own. Clements’ prose style is a breathtaking blend of lyricism and brevity, metaphorical exuberance and emotional restraint. That the author was only 27 at the time of publication is a testament to her bodacious talent and her future as an elegant and accomplished writer. 


About the author

Emily Clements

Emily Clements has been a writer for as long as she can remember. Her debut memoir The Lotus Eaters, dissecting sex, self and female friendships, was published by Hardie Grant Books. Her non fiction has been shortlisted for the Feminartsy Memoir Prize, the Ada Cambridge Prize and highly commended in the Scribe Nonfiction Prize. Her fiction has been twice shortlisted for the Rachel Funari Prize and earned the Melbourne Young Writers Award. She is a former editor for Voiceworks and Visible Ink. You can find her online @emily_clementsy