RMIT alumnus Sofie Laguna has won the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award – Australia’s top fiction prize – for her novel The Eye of the Sheep.
Laguna's novel was chosen from a shortlist which included works by Sonya Hartnett, Joan London, Christine Piper and Craig Sherborne.
A former lawyer and actor, Laguna graduated from RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing program in 2001.
She began writing professionally in her thirties and has written a range of books for young children including the highly-popular Our Australian Girl: Meet Grace series.
The Eye Of The Sheep is a story of a family struggling to cope with their young son who has learning difficulties.
“Sofie is a shining example of a professional writer, producing books in a range of genres and forms for children, young people and adults,” Penny Johnson, program manager for Professional Writing and Editing, said.
“The Miles Franklin is the big literary award in Australia and will ensure a wider readership for her beautiful novel The Eye of the Sheep as well as an international profile. We are very excited for Sofie.”
Johnson said Laguna was in Clare Renner's first Writing for Children class at RMIT and benefited from her early mentoring. Renner is the Deputy Dean of vocational education in the School of Media and Communication.
"Sofie is a very talented and immensely hard-working writer who thoroughly deserves the recognition this award will bring," Renner said.
"Her first book, written for children, was published while she was still a student at RMIT and is testament to the Professional Writing and Editing program’s highly successful model of practice-based training. Graduates of this program have an excellent and well-deserved reputation across the industry, both nationally and internationally."
The Eye Of The Sheep is Laguna's second novel for adults and her first to be shortlisted for the Miles Franklin award.
Her first novel One Foot Wrong was long-listed for the award and short-listed for the Prime Minister's Literary Award.
Laguna joins a growing list of RMIT alumni to achieve success in writing as part of the Professional Writing and Editing program, including novelists Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect), Toni Jordan (Addition), Carrie Tiffany (Mateship with Birds), Rosalie Ham (The Dressmaker), Carole Wilkinson (The Dragonkeeper series), and Holly Childs (No Limit).
Laguna joins a growing list of RMIT alumni to achieve success in writing as part of the Professional
The Eye Of The Sheep is published by Allen and Unwin.