Inoon wins 2022 ASA/HQ Commercial Fiction Prize

The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) and HQ, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, have announced Ayesha Inoon as the winner of the 2022 ASA/HQ Commercial Fiction Prize for an unpublished manuscript, for her novel ‘Untethered’.

A Sri Lankan–Australian writer and former journalist, Inoon has lived in Sri Lanka, Egypt, India, the USA and Canada. ‘Untethered’, based in part on her own experience, is a contemporary novel about a young Muslim woman’s experience of immigration to Australia, leaving behind the political unrest of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

‘I have carried this book in my heart for so long, and writing it was a way to explore and understand my own experience of immigration and what it meant to recreate a sense of identity and belonging in a new country,’ said Inoon. ‘We immigrate in search of better lives and freedom from conflict and we don’t fully understand what we are leaving behind until we are on the other side.’

‘A standout in an already strong field, “Untethered” is thoughtful, insightful writing that brings readers the lived experience of what it is to lose family, friends and country and start again in a new and not always welcoming place,’ said HQ head of publishing Jo Mackay.

‘Untethered’ was chosen from a shortlist of three announced earlier this month, which also included runner up ‘Someone Else’ by Lydia Evans—a ‘funny, authentically voiced novel of a woman’s struggle to be the perfect mother, wife, friend and daughter ‘—and ‘Next of Kin’ by Inessa Jackson, a mystery crime novel in which a Red Cross doctor returns to her small Australian beach town to uncover the truth to her brother’s disappearance.

Inoon receives a publishing contract with HQ and a $10,000 advance against royalties, and Evans receives $500 and a year’s membership of the ASA.

‘I am excited to work with HQ on the next stage of this journey and would like to thank both ASA and HQ for this fabulous opportunity, And many congratulations to the other shortlisted authors,’ said Inoon.

The ASA/HQ prize attracted nearly 200 entries in 2022. The winner of the inaugural prize, announced in 2020, was Sally Bothroyd for Brunswick Street Blues. The 2020 prize also resulted in the publication of two other shortlisted manuscripts, Sargasso by Kathy George and The Vet From Snowy River by Stella Quinn, both published in 2021.

‘Untethered’ will be published in 2023.

Category: Awards Local news

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