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The Hanging

2017 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

Three Melbourne private schoolgirls go missing in unforgiving bushland. One returns, traumatised and confused. It sounds like the plot of a novel we’ve all read, but Angela Betzien’s tightly calibrated thriller subverts its own genre by placing sophisticated female minds at the forefront of the drama. A fourteen-year-old girl is pitted against an anxious detective and a battle-weary English teacher. What follows is a masterclass in psychological interplay.

The Hanging is a profound exploration of female adolescence, class and privilege. Rich in intertextual language, it superbly manages rhythm and revelation while balancing poetic ambition and heightened suspense. Silence is as eloquent as dialogue in an intricate dance between whip-smart characters.