The Liminal Fiction Prize Winner



A big congratulations to Bryant Apolonio, our inaugural winner of the LIMINAL Fiction Prize, for ‘Bad Weather’. Bryant wins $2500, publication in the Lifted Brow magazine, and publication in our anthology with Brow Books, published in 2020.

The Prize Judges, Brian Castro, Julie Koh and Evelyn Araluen, commented:

This is a stylistically innovative piece of writing—a split narrative between two generations, two worlds and two cultures, with a new one on the way. One has to read each column continuously and exclusively until the end.

 At times this split is bridged by a poetic causeway, the narrator threading history’s scars and colonisation’s ecological carnage, holding the hands of both character and reader. Much is seen through the rear-vision mirror of memory, while time’s arrow flies swiftly into an uncertain future. Throughout, there is a j’accuse for the bigotries of class and race, for humiliations experienced on worksites, slums and in immigration departments.

 This is a melancholic offering—thoughtful, disturbing, provocative and mischievous, but above all, it incorporates a poesis: a bringing-forth beyond birth and decay, a discernment of the past and a blossoming of the future, all seen under a gigantic eye—a concave mirror of magical-realist proportions. Storying across space and generations is a difficult task executed by the author with great elegance. The narrative does not strive to reconcile past and future, and examines both without nihilism or regret. It makes real for the reader the bodily and sensorial presence of history and home, regardless of how near or far we are from them.

A product of conscience, this work—with its precise imagery and deft worldbuilding—exhibits a remarkable interior vision and a generous literary gift.

Read Bryant’s piece in The Lifted Brow #43, out September 2.
Pick up a copy here.


Congratulations also to Claire Cao, who was awarded runner-up to the 2019 Liminal Fiction Prize. Claire wins $500, publication in the Lifted Brow Online, and also publication in our Brow Books anthology.

Of ‘See You Tomorrow’, Brian, Julie and Evelyn wrote:

Written in a more traditional realist style, ‘See You Tomorrow’ is slow to unfold but well worth the time. Two women meet after some decades, not having seen each other since one of them emigrated from China to Australia.  The story is a rich depiction of the relationship between the women, and the hinted, but never fully revealed, intimacy between them. The author has an eye for arresting images and phrases, as well as a particularly striking voice for the subtleties of anxiety and anticipation. The reader is drawn to the honesty of Li Xuan’s interior monologue, and the deft descriptions of Ru Lian’s pride and strength. This story is executed with skill and imagination, and shows remarkable restraint in refusing to hand over every private detail and thought to the reader.

Little happens except the passing of time and the recovery of a friendship, yet words are at a premium. More than this, however, emotions work their way forward, proving that age is no barrier to love.

Thank you to all who shared or entered the 2019 LIMINAL Fiction Prize!
We can’t wait to share our anthology with you.


Leah McIntosh