Dr Sornig (pictured) has been awarded a $25,000 Emerging Writers Grant by the Literature Board of the Australia Council, which will support the writing of his second novel.
Winning the grant was a matter of both devising a new major project and “having runs on the board”, Dr Sornig said. Since the publication of his critically acclaimed first novel, Spiel, in 2009, he has published several short stories, and has been a book reviewer for the Melbourne Review.
He has also worked out an outline and begun a “bare bones version” of a second novel, which has the working title of You Of All People.
But it’s still early days, he said.
“Certainly the spine of the novel is there, but there are chapters that need to be developed; it’s a non-linear writing process. Or, I might even begin again.”
Set in UK and Spain, the novel’s main focus is a colony of anarchists near Granada who want to live outside the system, and the connections and tensions that develop between a member of the group and a “solid, middle-class” English publisher who comes into contact with them.
“It’s a novel that’s about that’s about contemporary unrest and protest, which is very current, and I’m guessing that it struck a chord with the Board,” Dr Sornig said.
Dr Sornig said that it is one of the ironies of teaching creative writing is that it leaves little time for academics to practice the craft themselves.
“The only practical way for me to get a novel written is to have time away from the University,” Dr Sornig said.
“The grant gives me the chance to have a solid block of time.”