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Zadie Ma and the Dog Who Chased the Moon

2023 - Shortlisted


Judges' Comments

With its themes of community, friendship, war, trauma, and the power of storytelling, this beautifully realised novel by Gabrielle Wang features Zadie, a quietly spoken narrator with a powerful inner voice and a vivid imagination. The story is set in Melbourne, post WWII, offering a poignant glimpse into the lives of a working class Chinese Australian family. Although Wang doesn’t shy away from the reality of the migrant experience and the impact of war, the novel’s magic comes from its protagonist Zadie, who believes the stories she writes can uncannily come true. Many of her hopes are tied up in the desire to own a dog called Jupiter. 

This story’s beauty is enhanced by the relationships within Zadie’s family as well as her friendships with the unique character of Sparrow, a new child at school. At its core, Zadie’s story is about the ties that bind and the strength of community during the most testing of times.