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Anita Punton

ABR’s Calibre Essay Prize is one of the world’s leading prizes for an original essay. This year, we received a record field of 638 essays. Today we hear from Anita Punton, who placed second for her essay ‘May Day’, a poignant memoir about piecing together her father’s life after his death. Our judges – Sheila Fitzpatrick, Billy Griffiths, and Peter Rose – described Punton’s essay as ‘a rich and moving evocation of a relationship between father and daughter’, one ‘written with humour and flair, offering a complex portrait of Punton’s father: a brilliant, narcissistic man, whose life was full of contradictions.’

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The real estate agent told me not to bother cleaning the house. All the serious buyers would be developers, he said: they’d only knock it down. They’d cut down the row of feijoas and the Japanese maple and build all the way to the fence on three sides. And they’d go up, of course, to take advantage of the views. A corner block on the highest hill in the inner east? Tell your dad he’s laughing.

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