notJack was established to support and protect iconic Australian literary landscapes, by fostering creative engagement with place and promoting the significance of place for Australian writers, their work and readership.
notJack currently supports the protection of the Moolort Plains, from and in which the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Winner Romulus, My Father was written. The film of the same name was shot on site. In honour of this book, and the manner in which it crosses several genres to engage with place, the notJack fosters projects representing a wide variety of genres and writing styles.
notJack takes its name from Romulus, My Father. It represents a play on the Australian moniker of Jack, as experienced by the book’s central figure, Romulus. As a migrant, Romulus Gaita was called Jack by the locals in his community. Meanwhile the actual Jack in this story was a wisecrack cockatoo that delighted in taunting the entire household – dogs included – and bestowing a shameless favouritism and affection upon Romulus. Jack and not Jack. The inseparability of place and the moniker Jack was captured within the film.
The threat to the Moolort Plains is ongoing. Information on the Moolort Plains, its significance, and the threat posed to it, may be accessed here. Donations to the campaign are strongly encouraged.
The former notJack Writers’ Prize supported Australian writers in their creative engagement with place. Bush, country, coast, the countryside, land, property, suburbia – all these and more figure prominently in Australian writing, in shaping the significance of place for individual writers and in turn, forming iconic literary landscapes that sustain the cultural and national identities of readers.
Featured writers and associates of the notJack Writers Prize are included here.
The prize welcomed submissions from all genres – including prose, essay, flash fiction, short story, poetry, biography, memoir, plays, screenplay – in which place, and writing from place, figured prominently. The theme was not limited to actual places, or actual places in Australia, or limited to the specific examples provided here. Entrants were encouraged to consider place as actual, figurative, metaphorical, historical, biographical as well as reveal how place may foreground, or intersect with, interests in lived experience, emotions, embodiment, history, politics, faith and so forth.