Melissa Lucashenko is the recently announced winner of the George Munster Award for Journalism for "Sinking below sight: Down and out in Brisbane and Logan" (Griffin REVIEW 41).
The judges remarked:
Told up close and personal, Lucashenko's beautifully-crafted emotionally spare reportage weaves her own struggle in tight with those of her three neighbours in Brisbane's outer suburban 'Black Belt', one of the most disadvantaged communities in the country. Lucashenko does not flinch from the brutality or desperation these women face but also finds honesty, humour and hope in them - what she calls blunt grace.
Having grown in the Black Belt herself, Lucashenko is not merely in this community but of it. She identifies with, rather than feels for, her subjects. She is friends with them. Her voice is stronger and more remarkable for that.
Amid a national debate about domestic violence, and stigmatisation of "leaners" dependent on welfare, Lucashenko's brave story is an essential, honest corrective to the ignorant assumptions about the causes of growing inequality and Australia's first-world underclass which are prevalent in the mainstream media.
The conditions of the award are currently under review for 2016.