26 June 2012
The Rosie Project wins Premier's Literary Award
RMIT University student Graeme Simsion has won the $15,000 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.
Mr Simsion, who is studying for a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing, won the award for his novel The Rosie Project.
The story follows a geneticist with undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome who embarks on a systematic project to find his perfect match - a punctual non-drinker and non-smoker who will fit in with his regimented lifestyle.
Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu said the award aimed to uncover and reward emerging writers, who played a key role in Victoria's literary scene.
"The award for an unpublished manuscript recognises that it's not publishing that makes you a writer, it's the writing itself," Mr Baillieu said.
"Congratulations to Graeme, not only for this award but for his persistence and passion for storytelling."
Since the inception of the Unpublished Manuscript award in 2003, eight of the nine winners - including last year's winner, RMIT student Peggy Frew - have gone on to have their work published.
Professional Writing and Editing Program Manager, Clare Renner, congratulated Mr Simsion for his energy and focus.
"This is a huge achievement for an emerging writer. The award creates very strong interest from publishers and the level of competition is consequently high," Ms Renner said.
The Rosie Project was described by judges as "a moving and comic novel, sustained by a remarkable narrative voice and illuminated by dramatic and hilarious scenes".
Mr Simsion said the level of encouragement took him by surprise.
"I didn't expect to be short-listed, let alone win. I was just hoping to get it read," Mr Simsion said.
"RMIT has been absolutely central to this success," he said, giving particular thanks to teachers David Rapsey and Ian Pringle.
Mr Simsion started at RMIT in 2007, an experience he described as a "major change from a 30-year career in IT and business".
He originally wrote The Rosie Project as a screenplay, which won Best Romantic Comedy Script at the 2010 Australian Writers Guild Inscription Awards and is currently with a production company.
Graeme Simsion, recipient of the 2012 Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.
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