2018 Mascara Avant-garde Awards


Winner: Constitution by Amelia Dale (Inken Publisch) 

Dense, witty, distressing, radical, this non-fiction poetry exposes the redundancy of media discourse, theory and legal frameworks that underpin patriarchal agency, white settler space, and authorship. The layering of poetic structure into constitutional elements highlights the way discourse can be manipulated to postpone reform and to partner coalitions between poetry, politics and nation. The design and satirical appropriation of paratexts as frames is timely and highly original.


Argosy by Bella Li  (Vagabond)
The Honeymoon Stage by Oscar Schwartz, (Giramondo)
In Some Ways Dingo Melody Paloma, (Rabbit Poetry)


Winner: Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria by Brian Castro (Giramondo)

With its dark ironies and playful liberties of form there is mastery and joy in this verse novel. Castro’s musicality, anagrams and puns interpolate the banal with the absurd in 34 cantos that riff on The Divine Comedy as they tell the story of the last days of cancer fugitive and Adelaide architect, Lucian Gracq. This superb novel is innovative, thoughtful, comforting and profound.


Rubik by Elizabeth Tan, (Brio)
The Last Days of Jeanne D’Arc by Ali Alizadeh (Giramondo)
My Life and Other Fictions by Michael Giacometti (Spineless Wonders)


Winner: Mirror Sydney by Vanessa Berry (Giramondo)

Described as an off-piste urban field manual, this book walks us through a psycho geography where alternative narratives find space between the icons, infrastructure, wharves and freeways. Historical layering, speculative flourishes and the rhetoric of maps  shape the city’s ethical and hybrid possibilities. An extended meditation on time, space, history and urban subjectivity.


Scoundrel Days by Brentley Frazer (UQP)
A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work by Bernadette Brennan (TEXT) 

The Book of Thistles by Noëlle Janaczewska (UWA Publishing)


Best Anthology 

Winner: Shaping the Fractured Self  Ed. Heather Taylor-Johnson (UWA Publishing)

This anthology permits poetry and life-writing to speak to one another in a profound act of healing. Encompassing contributions by poets suffering from physical and mental, chronic and inherited illness, it is beautifully presented, meticulously edited and remedies what Virginia Woolf described as the ‘poverty of the language of illness.’


Too Deadly, (UsMobWriting)
The Best Australian Poems 2017 Ed Sarah Holland-Batt (Black Inc)
The Australian Face, essays from the Sydney Review of Books, Ed Catriona Menzies Pike and James Ley (Giramondo)