West Australian writer and musician Sam Carmody has won this year's Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction for his first novel, The Windy Season.
The prize is run by the Melbourne bookshops and Carmody receives $3000. Previous winners of the prize, which is open to first and second novels, are Stephanie Bishop, Ceridwen Dovey and Zoe Morrison.
Guest judge Christos Tsiolkas said that Carmody's writing had clarity, economy and precision. "The Windy Season is a very impressive achievement."
Reviewing the novel in the Fairfax books pages, Emma Young described The Windy Season as "an insightful debut from an author whose fascination with the darker side of things is put to good use ... Carmody has produced an impressive Australian narrative that satisfies its ambitions with confidence."
The book is set in a fishing town in WA where the protagonist Paul moves after his brother has disappeared. Paul follows in his footsteps and takes a job on the same fishing boat in an attempt to establish what happened to his brother in a town that seems full of menace.