Amy McQuire: Winner 2022 Hilary McPhee Award

“We do not know how many Aboriginal women have gone ‘missing’ in this country. The archives are filled with the ‘missing’: the Aboriginal women who are no longer here to speak; the Aboriginal women who do not have names; the Aboriginal women who do not have graves or places where their families can remember them. There is a comfort that comes with the word ‘missing’, because to be ‘missing’ implies that perhaps they have left on their own accord; that there are no perpetrators or violence enacted against them…”

Meanjin is proud to announce Amy McQuire as winner of the 2022 Hilary McPhee Award for her essay ‘The Act of Disappearing: On the silences that shroud the disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls‘, published in Meanjin 81.4 Summer 2022.

Amy McQuire is a Darumbal and South Sea Islander writer and journalist. She is a postdoctoral Indigenous fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, and recently submitted her PhD in media representations of violence against Aboriginal women at the University of Queensland. She is the co-host of the investigative podcast Curtain the Podcast, and has been working in Aboriginal and independent media over the past 16 years. She has written for New MatildaBuzzFeedMeanjinGriffith ReviewSaturday PaperVogueMarie Claire, the New York Times and Washington Post among others. Her first book Black Witness is due to be published by UQP in the near future.

‘Thank you so much to Meanjin not only for this award but also for giving me the space to write this essay on how this country is actively disappearing Aboriginal women,’ said Amy McQuire. ‘It is very rare to find a space to write long form journalism on issues that have been continually silenced, and to tell stories our way. So I feel very honoured to not only have a publication that supports this work, but sees its value.’

Presented since 2016, the Hilary McPhee Award recognises brave essay writing that makes a fearless contribution to the national debate. Eligible essays are shortlisted from those published in Meanjin each calendar year.

This year’s Hilary McPhee Award is valued at $3,500.

The Award is drawn from a perpetual fund donated by Peter McPhee AM FASSA FAHA—Professor Emeritus of the University of Melbourne, inaugural Provost, and winner of the Centenary Medal for services to education—and is named in honour of his sister.

Hilary McPhee AO is a writer and editor, founding director of McPhee Gribble Publishers, former Chair of the Australia Council, inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, and a former Guest Editor of Meanjin.

‘Amy McQuire’s devastating essay throws a piercing light on the silences that befall Indigenous women who “go missing”, disappear, fall through the cracks of police inaction and victim-blaming,’ said Hilary McPhee.

‘I was so moved by Amy’s essay,’ said Esther Anatolitis, Editor of Meanjin. ‘Commissioned by Jonathan Green and published in his final edition, “The Act of Disappearing” is a rigorous and sensitive essay that tells an urgent story Australia needs to hear. Enormous thanks to Hilary and Peter for this invaluable fund, and to the University of Melbourne as its custodians.’

Meanjin is where Australia’s literary culture sets out its fiercest ambitions. Quarterly in print and continuously online, each year Meanjin publishes new work by hundreds of Australian writers in all genres and forms.

Meanjin will announce the next iteration of the Hilary McPhee Award in coming months. Future awards will be presented each December at the launch of the Meanjin Summer edition.

(Image of Amy supplied by QUT)

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