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Lur Alghurabi, an Iraqi writer living in Adelaide, Australia, has won the 2017 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers for her entry ‘Letters from the Grave’. She receives AUD 3,000 (AED 8,350) and an editorial mentorship with highly respected Australian publisher Scribe to develop her work.
Scribe senior editor Julia Carlomagno described ‘Letters from the Grave’ as ‘an urgent and deeply moving piece about the author’s family escape from Saddam’s Iraq and the search for somewhere to call home’. Carlomagno also praised it for its interweaving of ‘literary and visual material’.
Lur’s work focuses on migrant memoir and transcultural storytelling, and draws heavily on her childhood memories of Baghdad. Commenting on winning the prize she said: ‘It’s a privilege that I am even able to write, let alone that my writing be recognised, enjoyed and validated. In ‘Letters from the Grave’, my family and I are constantly, physically and emotionally, looking for a home. To think that eventually I have found a home in writing, and that this home is a warm, welcoming space that will encourage and celebrate voices of colour, I could not be happier.’
The Scribe Nonfiction Prize is open to writers aged 30 or under who are writing a longform or book-length work in any nonfiction genre.
When Lur isn’t writing she mentors new writers at the University of Adelaide, where she achieved First Class Honours in Creative Writing.