The Goodbye Year

Emily Gale

2023 Winner

Book cover

Judges' comments

The Goodbye Year is a contemporary story set in Melbourne during the pandemic lockdown of 2020. The book follows young Australians in their final year of school, struggling with growing up during a global pandemic, an event which reshapes their relationship to parents, friends, learning and identity. Finely wrought and well-researched historical content is conveyed through the ghost of a 14-year-old cadet from the First World War who befriends the book’s protagonist.  

The Goodbye Year is of immense value because its shows how young people can engage with the past through material objects, stories, family history, archival material; and how they can put together histories and timelines of the past. 

This is a brilliant, masterful work, combining a novel set in contemporary history with a fictional retelling of actual events and a demonstration of historical research at an age-appropriate level. Expertly written, The Goodbye Year will encourage increased understanding and appreciation for history and historical research.

Updated on 23 February 2024