18th December, 2023

Small Press Network Book of the Year Award 2023: Winner Announcement

The Small Press Network (SPN) is excited to announce the winner of the 2023 Small Press Network Book of the Year Award (BOTY): Against Disappearance: Essays on Memory, an anthology by Liminal and published by Pantera Press.

The award was presented at the Wheeler Centre as part of its Next Big Thing series by Meanjin editor Esther Anatolitis.

The judges said: ‘Against Disappearance: Essays on Memory (Pantera Press) is exactly the kind of invigorating non-fiction that small, risk-taking publications like Liminal, excel at. It is a physically beautiful collection, presented with an understated sophistication that reflects those same qualities in the works. Edited by Leah Jing McIntosh and Adolfo Aranjuez, this collection brings together writers from across a variety of disciplines and thought, that reveals its themes of identity, love, family, home in fragments, traversing intellect and object, a tapestry that is felt as much as read. It is exceptional to read, and exciting to imagine a future of Australian publishing inspired by works such as this one.’

Against Disappearance: Essays on Memory is one of two Pantera Press books shortlisted for the SPN BOTY, and we extend our congratulations to this publisher for its continued commitment to publishing provoking, necessary, and exciting titles.

Publishing Director Lex Hirst of Pantera Press said: ‘A big thanks to this year’s judges for awarding Against Disappearance, our partnership with the LIMINAL magazine team, in the SPN Book of the Year, as well as for shortlisting Jo Riccioni’s The Branded. Both books represent what we care about most at Pantera Press, which is publishing books that spark conversation, imagination and change, and we’re very proud to have brought them to readers. Leah Jing McIntosh and Adolfo Aranjuez are the exceptional editorial duo responsible for Against Disappearance. At LIMINAL they publish some of the most thought-provoking, exciting and necessary writing across this nation, and this collection of essays drawn from the LIMINAL and Pantera Press Nonfiction Prize holds truly ground-breaking and vital pieces that speak so directly to the current moment in time, and the fight against disappearance being enacted by so many. A huge congratulations to the many contributors to the collection, and massive thanks to the Small Press Network for all the work they do to support independent and small press publishing in Australia.’

The editors of Against Disappearance: Essays on Memory, Leah Jing McIntosh and Adolfo Aranjuez, provided a joint statement: ‘It’s an honour not just for Liminal, but for every author included in this collection—and each culture, people, history and home, remembered or erased, represented by each—to be recognised by an award such as this. In a landscape often hostile to critical thought and to asking the tough questions, being awarded Book of the Year is an acknowledgment that the work we all do, what we contribute to the collective fight against societal forgetting, is worthy.’

A special thanks to the sponsors of BOTY: Ingram Content Group, BookPeople, Thorpe-Bowker Identifier Services, The Wheeler Centre, Bookoccino, Fullers Bookshop, Readings, and Avid Reader. Thanks to our sponsors’ generosity, the authors and editors of Against Disappearance: Essays on Memory will jointly receive a cash prize of $1000, and publisher Pantera Press will forward a $1000 printing credit from Ingram to Liminal. Additionally, the authors of all five Shortlisted titles – Losing Face by George Haddad, The Branded by Jo Riccioni, Paradise (point of transmission) by Andrew Sutherland, Mabu Mabu by Nornie Bero, and Our Members Be Unlimited by Sam Wallman – will each receive a cash prize of $500.

Against Disappearance: Essays on Memory

Edited by Leah Jing McIntosh and Adolfo Aranjuez

Published by Pantera Press (a Liminal anthology)

In this collection of new essays from the Liminal & Pantera Press Nonfiction Prize longlist, First Nations writers and writers of colour bend and shift boundaries, query the past and envision new futures. They ask: How do we write or hold our former selves, our ancestries? How does where we come from connect to where we are headed? How do we tell the stories of those who have been diminished or ignored in the writing of history? How do we do justice to the lives they lived, or to the people they were?

From the intricacies of trans becoming, to violences inflicted on stateless peoples, to complex inheritances and the intertwining of tradition, politics and place, this prescient collection challenges singular narratives about the past, offering testimony and prophecy alike.

ESSAYS BY André Dao, Barry Corr, Brandon K. Liew, Elizabeth Flux, Frankey Chung-Kok-Lun, grace ugamay dulawan, Hannah Wu, Hasib Hourani, Hassan Abul, Jon Tjhia, Kasumi Bocrzyk, Lucia Tường Vy Nguyễn, Lou Garcia-Dolnik, Lur Alghurabi, Mykaela Saunders, Ouyang Yu, Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh, Ryan Gustafsson, Suneeta Peres da Costa and Veronica Gorrie.

This year’s judging panel

  • Tierney Khan is a writer, speaker, and activist whose works have been featured in Rosie and Infusion 59.
  • Penni Russon, a senior lecturer in writing at Monash University, is an award-winning author of books for children and teenagers.
  • Bec Kavanagh is a writer, literary critic, and academic. Bec is the Youth Programming Manager at the Wheeler Centre and a sessional tutor at LaTrobe University.

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