Islands of Secrets by Stefanie Koens wins 2023 Banjo Prize for unpublished Australian fiction
26 September 2023
Stefanie Koens has been named winner of the 2023 Banjo Prize for unpublished Australian fiction, with her manuscript titled Islands of Secrets, a work of historic fiction that spans several decades:
Shortly before Christmas in 2018, schoolteacher Tess McCarthy flies to Western Australia’s remote Abrolhos Islands in search of answers — both to the infamous Batavia shipwreck and her personal family crises. In 1628, Saskia, a young Dutchwoman, boards Batavia with her family, bound for a new life in the East Indies — only for her world to first collide with Aris Jansz, the ship’s reluctant under surgeon. Tess, Saskia and Aris carry the baggage of past losses and the uncertainty of their futures. And, in the most unlikely circumstances, they find qualities that span centuries: faith, acceptance, and love.
As part of the prize, Koens will be awarded a publishing contract from HarperCollins Publishers for Islands of Secrets.