Blue Mountains writer Alejandra Martinez has been awarded the 2022 Fresh Emerging Writers Ink Prize and receives $5000 for professional development and a week-long residency at Varuna.
“I have been working on the manuscript for so long,” said Alejandra. “I keep putting it away and coming back to it, wondering if it is any good. This (prize) has given me encouragement to keep going.”
Alejandra has written short stories for many years and this is her first manuscript. Her short stories have been published in range of anthologies and magazines. She has also written short plays, one which was performed at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta. Born in Uruguay, she migrated to Australia at the age of seven with her family as a military dictatorship was about to take over the country. It is these life experiences that have shaped her writing; writing that explores both migration and universal themes of identity, loss, aging, mental health and resilience. along with a range of anthologies and magazines.
Judge Maggie Ball said: “The work presents a stunning and original overview of Latinx communities in both America and Australia, exploring how the family escape the civic-military dictatorship in the 1970s and find a home among the South American community of Western Sydney. Now, decades later, each member of the family reckons with the tension between the rich meaning they draw from their heritage and the human need for new experiences.
The $5000 prize money has been generously provided by Newcastle wine label Elephant in the Room. Newcastle Writers Festival also acknowledges the support of Create NSW.