2022 - Shortlisted
Night Blue is a refreshingly original novel narrated from the perspective of Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles. It follows the painting’s story from its making in Pollock’s Long Island barn in 1952 — a place of both violence and creativity — to its final home in the National Gallery of Australia in 1973. An origin story of an artwork, it is also a story of the ethos and politics of its time.
Along with the painting’s innermost impressions and secrets — was it painted by Pollock alone or with the help of others? — we share the perspective of Alyssa, a postgraduate student working on overshadowed women artists, including Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner. The narrative switches seamlessly between the two voices, moving in space and time towards a final viewer. An ingenious twist on the conventional notion that art marks its viewers, this novel invites us to consider the indelible marks of human genius, hubris and ambition upon the non-human. Assured, understated and compelling.