Merlinda Bobis wins the MUBA for 2013

The Small Press Network’s ‘Most Underrated Book Award’ (MUBA) has been awarded to Merlinda Bobis for her novel, Fish-Hair Woman, published through Spinifex Press - a beautifully haunting tale of magic and storytelling which explores the civil and political conflict of the Philippines in the 1970’s to 1990’s.

With her twelve-metre hair, Estrella, the Fish-hair Woman, trawls corpses from the water that tastes of lemon-grass. She falls in love with the Australian Tony McIntyre who disappears in the conflict. Ten years later, his son travels to Manila to find his father.

Here is what reviewers are saying:

‘The characters are sharp, and the keen depiction of their lives makes their destruction all the more resonant. Perhaps novels lack the capacity to change the world as they once did, but Fish-Hair Woman and its lingering after-image is a testament to the importance of keeping justice alive by maintaining the rage against power and its abusers. (Ed Wright, The Australian )

'To read Fish-Hair Woman is to enter a kind of entrancement, at once strange, haunting, beautiful and terrifying. This is an extraordinary novel of compelling originality in which we learn that testimony is solidarity and that the loss and retrieval of any story of historical suffering implicates us all.’ (Gail Jones, author of Five Bells )

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors. You can read more about the other titles here.