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Announcing the winner of the 2021 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing

Alice Boyle has been selected as the winner of the $10,000 Text Prize for her YA novel Dancing Barefoot. Two writers, Ellie Casey and Emilie Morscheck, were chosen as recipients of the Steph Bowe Mentorship.

Patch is out of place at Mountford College: she wears the wrong clothes, she’s on a scholarship, and she has an embarrassingly persistent crush on Evie Vanhoutte, popular girl and golden child. Evie has no idea Patch exists until one day, a chance encounter sparks a friendship that’s equal parts exhilarating, terrifying, and very, very confusing.

As if that weren’t enough to deal with, Patch is also trying to avoid a vindictive school bully, forgetting to be supportive of her transitioning best friend and worrying about a potential new stepmother turning out to be the evil Baroness from The Sound of Music.

Dancing Barefoot is a story about finding love, figuring out your place in the world, and learning to embrace the changes life throws in your path.

Alice Boyle is an LGBTQIA+ writer, English teacher, and sometimes- photographer. She’s written for outlets including SBS Voices and The Stella Prize, has been highly commended for the Wheeler Centre’s Next Chapter initiative, and has worked on projects like Andrew Denton’s podcast Better Off Dead. Her short story ‘The Exchange’ was published in the Black Inc. anthology Growing Up Queer in Australia. She lives with her partner on Wurundjeri land.

On winning the prize, Alice said, ‘I’m honoured and thrilled to be awarded the 2021 Text Prize for my manuscript Dancing Barefoot. Thank you to everyone at Text for selecting my work from an exceptionally talented field, and congratulations to my fellow shortlisted authors. I began writing Dancing Barefoot because I wanted to see more lighthearted, fun, positive representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in local YA fiction, and am so excited that my book has found such a wonderful home. I can’t wait to work with the team at Text to polish my story and bring it into bookshops, libraries, and homes around the country.’

Publisher Michael Heyward said:

In an outstanding shortlist, Alice Boyle’s Dancing Barefoot proved to be irresistible. From its opening sentence this novel creates a voice we want to listen to and a world that we want to be in. Alice has done the hardest thing, written a love story that is never sentimental and which never fails to move and entertain us. We laugh and cry with her characters. The Text Prize now has a storied history of uncovering gifted new novelists, writers ranging from Leanne Hall to Nina Kenwood, from Georgina Young to Claire Christian and A. J. Betts. Alice Boyle belongs in their company. We can’t wait to publish Dancing Barefoot.’

Awarded annually, the Text Prize aims to unearth incredible new books for young adults and children by Australian and New Zealand writers. Submissions for the next Text Prize will open early in 2022. The Steph Bowe Mentorship was established in 2021 in memory of Text writer Steph Bowe, who passed away in 2020.

For all publicity enquiries and further information about the Text Prize or the Steph Bowe Mentorship, please contact Jamila Khodja.


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