On Friday 24 February, Angela Rockel, a Tasmanian writer and our very own copyeditor, was awarded the 2019 UWAP Dorothy Hewett Award for unpublished manuscript

Rogue Intensities, Angela Rockel’s as-of-yet unpublished book, is a memoir ‘grounded in Tasmania’ that takes readers along the contours of life against the backdrop of a southern Tasmania succumbing to the threats of climate change.

She was awarded $10,000 and a publishing contract with UWAP, who predict the book will be published by October this year. The award was judged by James Ley, Elfie Shiosaki, and Teri-ann White.

Judge’s report Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript 2019

In this remarkable manuscript of place and decades of daily encounters in the natural world, Angela Rockel lays out ways of describing and understanding she has learned through her life. As she writes, she bears witness to this place, which shapes me as I attend to it. The place is southern Tasmania, where she arrived as a young woman from her place of origin, New Zealand. The work is ordered around a monthly set of observations of the weather, of birdlife, mammal life; the life of trees in a forest, and even the platypus swimming in the dam. That Angela Rockel is a poet is evident on every page. She writes of the unforgettable meeting with the contingency of things when describing wildfire: all the parts of me ragged in the looming blue of summer, oils going up from the eucalypts, waiting.

Following the here and now, and venturing into family history, too, in that elusive search for belonging, Rockel takes us back to Ireland and to New Zealand to track how we live in the natural world and how we might recover from our old habits of exploitation and dominance in landscapes of living. This work gets to the heart of what happens within the long duration of a life. It is also significant in celebrating the unique but threatened beauty of the southern Tasmanian landscape. Rockel ‘s work is a call to action based on a life of bearing witness to a changing climate.

Biographical note:

Angela Rockel is a prose writer, poet, reviewer and editor whose work has been published in the AgeAustralian Women’s Book ReviewFamous ReporterFive Bells, IslandJacketMeanjinRealTimeSaltSoutherly and Contemporary Literary Criticism. A collection of poetry, Fire Changes Everything, was published by Penguin. She has lived in rural Tasmania all her adult life and is interested in finding language for a conversation in landscape, community, history and family, towards a politics of the imagination.

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