Immaculate by Anna McGahan wins 2023 The Australian/Vogel’s Award

16 June 2023

Book cover of Immaculate written by Anna McGahan

Book cover of Immaculate written by Anna McGahan.

Meanjin/Brisbane based actor and screenwriter Anna McGahan has been named winner of the 2023 The Australian/Vogel’s Award for Young Writers, with her novel Immaculate, which is set to be published on Tuesday 20 June 2023:

All Frances wants is a cure for her daughter, but that would take a miracle, and miracles aren’t something Frances believes in anymore.

Newly divorced from her pastor ex-husband and excommunicated from the church community she once worked within, she wrestles alone with the prognosis of her terminally ill child. Any suggestion of ‘divine intervention’ is salt in the wound of her grief. So when Frances is forced to take in a homeless and pregnant teenage girl who claims to have had an immaculate conception, she’s deeply challenged.

But sixteen-year-old Mary is not who she seems, and soon opens the door to perspectives that profoundly shift Frances’s sense of reality, triggering a chain of astonishing events. It seems that where there is the greatest suffering lies an unexpected magic. Frances begins to hold hope for her family’s future, but the miracle prayed for is not always the one received.

McGahan is the niece of late Australian author Andrew McGahan who died in 2019. I read his 2000 novel, Last Drinks — a crime/thriller set in Queensland ten years after the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police misconduct in the state — a few years ago. I can still smell the copious quantities of alcoholic beverages that featured in the novel to this day…


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