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Elsewhere Girls

2022 - Shortlisted


Judges' Comments 

Elsewhere Girls tells the story of Cat and Fan, two teenage girls separated by more than 100 years who mysteriously swap bodies while swimming at Wylie’s Baths near Sydney’s Coogee Beach. Cat finds herself transported back to 1908, where girls leave school early and devote themselves to domestic duties. Fan (based on Olympian Fanny Durack) is fast-forwarded to 2021 Sydney, where everyone has an iPhone, a microwave and a car. As they navigate their new lives and try to return to their own eras, Fan and Cat learn about the importance of family, of knowing yourself, and of figuring out what you really want.  

The book successfully addresses several historical themes, including the conditions of working-class life, attitudes towards Asian Australians, and the expectations placed on female bodies and behaviour. Beautifully written and deeply enmeshed in Sydney’s historical and contemporary cultural fabric, Elsewhere Girls shows that growing up can be hard — no matter what era you live in.