Andrew O’Connor won the 2005 Vogel with his debut novel Tuvalu and at the time of the award was interviewed by Brigid Delaney for The Sydney Morning Herald with the headline, ‘Loneliness of the long-distance writer pays off’ (an allusion to a short story many of us read in the 1950s by Alan Sillitoe, one of the ‘angry young men’ school of writing). The interview is abridged.
‘O’Connor spent the past four years living in Japan, with frequent trips back to Australia to work on his novel—a story of a young man living in a cramped Tokyo hostel, and his uneasy love affairs with a fellow Australian teacher and a Japanese hotel heiress…
‘After an arts degree at Melbourne University, and a year spent working as a cleaner and cook in central Australia, O’Connor jumped at the chance to work in Japan…
‘Australian stories can struggle to find a market, but O’Connor reckons tales about Australians abroad have resonance.
‘O’Connor has been writing since he was 19—starting with short stories, then journal entries on long commutes on Tokyo trains, before starting his novel.
‘He was in Japan when his parents contacted him and told him he had won the prize—it left him reeling with joy for a week.
‘He is writing a second novel and planning a move to Sydney…’
I was unable to track down Andrew O’Connor but he has a Wikipedia entry which reveals that he has not published another book, either that or his Wikipedia entry is out of date.
The entry reads:
‘Andrew O’Connor was born 1978 in Warragul, Victoria and is an Australian novelist… He presently lives in Warragul.
2005 — the Australian/Vogel Literary Award for Tuvalu
2007 — Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (South East Asia and South Pacific Region, Best First Book) for Tuvalu
2008 — Longlisted in the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Tuvalu
Unfortunately (?) Andrew O’Connor has an Irish ‘twin’ who has published quite a few ‘chick lit’ books and they are sometimes confused in on-line references.