Rohan Wilson has won the Vogel Award 2011 for his novel The Roving Party, about the genocidal persecution of Tasmania's Aborigines by the founder of Melbourne, John Batman.
The judges described The Roving Party and its depiction of John Batman's man-hunt as a great original new voice full of stark, compelling imagery.
John Batman, ruthless, singleminded; four convicts, the youngest still only a stripling; Gould, a downtrodden farmhand; two free black trackers; and powerful, educated Black Bill, brought up from childhood as a white man. This is the roving party and their purpose is massacre.
With promises of freedom, land grants and money, each is willing to risk his life for the prize.
Passing over many miles of tortured country, the roving party searches for Aborigines, taking few prisoners and killing freely, Batman never abandoning the visceral intensity of his hunt. And all the while, Black Bill pursues his personal quarry, the much-feared warrior, Manalargena.
A surprisingly beautiful evocation of horror and brutality, The Roving Party is a meditation on the intricacies of human nature at its most raw.
Rohan Wilson lived a long, mostly lonely, life until a lucky turn of events led him to take up a teaching position in Japan, where he met his wife. They have a son who loves books, as all children should. They live in Launceston but don't know why. Rohan holds degrees and diplomas from the universities of Tasmania, Southern Queensland and Melbourne. This is his first book.
He can be found on Twitter: @rohan_wilson.
read more about the Vogel Award here.