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Transgender crime scene cleaner novel wins top Victorian literary prize

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Melbourne writer Sarah Krasnostein has won Australia’s richest literary prize at the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

She was presented the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature last night in Melbourne for her debut novel The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay and Disaster. It tells the true story of Melbourne transgender woman Sandra Pankhurst’s life and career cleaning the scenes of violent crimes.

She was also awarded the $25,000 Prize for Non-Fiction. The US-born Krasnostein studied in Melbourne and now lectures in criminal law at Monash University.

Melanie Cheng’s short story collection Australia Day was awarded the Prize for Fiction and Demet Divaroren’s novel Living on Hope Street won the Prize for Writing for Young Adults.

Michele Lee’s political play Rice took out the Prize for Drama and Bella Li’s text and visual hybrid Argosy won the Prize for Poetry.

The publicly voted People’s Choice Award went to Alison Evans for Ida.

The Victorian Prize for Literature was awarded from a shortlist of 21 works across the five main categories.

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