Congratulations to Alex Skovron for winning the Patrick White Award 2023! Read more: https://tinyurl.com/2jaf8n4s
A tale of obsession, art, and the thresholds between day and night. Manfred is a nondescript insurance clerk, inflexibly honest and imbued with a profound sense of order. He is also a prolific poet, but has never tried to publish – until now. The novella traces the events and experiences that befall Manfred in the wake of a single moment’s carelessness, a mistake that will change his life. He enters a maze he must negotiate, between action and paralysis, inspiration and despair, guilt – and the phantom, love. We encounter an eccentric stranger bent on a terrible mission, the publisher of a deceitful new author, and the city that forms a living, shifting backdrop to the interior drama, as Manfred struggles with his predicament, his muse, and the labyrinth of his implacable honesty. It is a journey from common daylight into a darkness flickering with both hope and oblivion; a journey across the fragile web of what we understand as sanity.
About Alex Skovron: Until now, Alex Skovron’s literary reputation has rested largely on his widely published and well-acclaimed poetry. He has received the John Shaw Neilson Poetry Award (1995 and 2001), the Manuel Gelman Memorial Prize for Literature (1997), and the Kyneton Literature Festival Poetry Prize (2002). He has also written short stories, and a book-length collection of prose-poems is in preparation. The Poet is his first book of fiction. Born in Poland, Alex came to Australia in 1958. He has worked as a book editor for publishers in Sydney and Melbourne, gaining broad experience in educational, reference, children’s and trade publishing, with a special interest in editing fiction and poetry. Since 1980 he has lived in Melbourne, is married with two children, and these days combines his writing with work as a freelance editor.