First-time novelist Emma Batchelor wins prestigious Vogel Literary Award

First-time novelist Emma Batchelor wins prestigious Vogel Literary Award

Emma Batchelor, a young, first-time novelist from Canberra, has won the prestigious 2021 Vogel Literary Award.

After completing her undergraduate degree at ANU and spending the following years travelling around the world, Emma Batchelor has splashed onto the literary scene with her debut novel, Now That I See You. Now, Batchelor has just scored the Vogel Literary Award, a publication deal with Allen & Unwin, and immense critical acclaim.

Heaving with emotional rawness, the Vogel-winning autofiction is a lucid literary portrayal of love, sexuality, gender, and identity.

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Emma Batchelor (Photo: The Australian)

The novel is split into three parts; Us, Them, and Me. The narrative details a breakdown of a long-term relationship over a period of 18 months, after one partner, Jess, discloses their trans identity to the other.

Each chapter of Now That I See You has a separate focus; Us explores the impact of Jess’ disclosure on the lovers’ relationship, Them focuses on Jess and the beginning of their transition, and Me delves into the crumbling psyche of the narrator and her attempts at putting herself back together.

The female narrator’s story is presented as a mix of personal journal entries and letters to Jess, allowing readers to experience an intimate, deeply emotional insight into the complex dynamics of love.

Describing Now That I See You, Batchelor shared:

“The idea originated from and is based on my experience of my own partner’s transition from presenting as male to female. From the very beginning, I knew I would one day write about it, but it wasn’t until we separated that I had the time and space to do so.”

“I took our actual letters and my journal entries and used them as a scaffold from which to build the story. It was also important to me not to speak for my partner or to tell her story.”