Emotional truth - Award-winning first novel for Woodend author

Young Woodend author Katherine Brabon has just been published as part of the prestigious Vogel Literary Award for her novel, The Memory Artist.

Young Woodend author Katherine Brabon has just been published as part of the prestigious Vogel Literary Award for her novel, The Memory Artist.

Among the bustle of locals and that intoxicating smell of coffee an award-winning novel was penned right here in the Macedon Ranges by young Woodend author Katherine Brabon.

Katherine, a self-confessed "cafe writer", has just been published as part of the prestigious Vogel Literary Award for her novel The Memory Artist

Drawing on her years passionately studying Russian history, she spent countless hours at The Village Larder and the Trading Post Cafe working on the book set in far-away Russia. 

The local talent and now young author wowed Vogel judges with her fiction-based-on-fact tale reflecting on Russia's traumatic past. 

The novel takes readers through some of Moscow's dark history alongside character Pasha Ivanov's own personal history growing up through the repressive rule over the Soviet Union.

Katherine's unwavering need to tell a much more emotional story than her academic essays called for, prompted her to start writing. 

It was then that she uncovered her ability to move readers in a way that history books could not.

"There was this loss and disillusionment in Russia in the 90s and this loss and commemoration could only be conveyed in so many ways in my essays.

"I wanted to convey so much emotional truth ... The novel kept coming from those sorts of ideas," Katherine explained. 

Proving her natural ability, Katherine reflected on the process from notes to novel with great pleasure. 

"I just had the last two years to work steadily at my own pace, basically I had a great two years of lots of reading and writing," she said. 

"I had a draft in nine months and spent a year editing it. I sent it off to the Vogel Awards in May last year and in September I had an email from the publisher at Allen & Unwin."

Under the strictest secrecy Katherine was told she was set to win Australia's richest prize for an unpublished manuscript. 

She could only tell one person and chose little sister Meredith. 

"I was able to celebrate it in a very small way. We went to Holgates and had a glass of sparkling and whispered and giggled the whole time," Katherine said.

Despite obtaining a Law/Arts Degree (history major) at La Trobe and a Masters Degree at University of Oxford, Katherine said she only recently felt sure of her direction.

She is now in the midst of a PhD in creative writing at Monash University. 

Katherine will be at New Leaves Bookstore in Woodend next Thursday May 12 to publicly launch The Memory Artist.

Residents are invited to join the launch party at 7pm to obtain a copy, have it signed, and talk to the author herself.