Mirandi Riwoe’s Stone Sky Gold Mountain (published by UQP) has won the 2020 Historical Novel Prize (worth AU$50,000).
Set during Australia’s nineteenth century gold-rush period, this powerful novel introduces unforgettable characters and deals with timeless questions of identity and belonging.
Family circumstances force siblings Ying and Lai Yue to flee their home in China to seek their fortunes in Australia. Life on the gold fields is hard, and soon they abandon the diggings and head to a nearby town. Once there, Lai Yue gets a job as a carrier on an overland expedition, while his sister Ying, disguised as a boy, finds work in a local store and strikes up a friendship with Meriem, a young white woman with her own troubled past.
When a serious crime is committed, suspicion falls on all those who are considered outsiders.
“A staggering re-creation of an Australian history too few of us know, and a heart-bruising testament of resilience and love. You’ll be gripped – and moved – from the first page.” – Benjamin Law