Christine Piper is the 2014 winner of The Australian/Vogel Literary Award for her novel After Darkness.
University student Christine Piper is the 2014 winner of The Australian/Vogel Literary Award for her novel about the Japanese experience of World War II.
At 35, Piper just met the age limit for the $20,000 prize for an unpublished manuscript by a young writer that was presented on Tuesday night.
Her winning book, After Darkness, was written as part of her doctorate of creative arts at the University of Technology, Sydney, and was published this week by Allen & Unwin.
It tells the story of Japanese doctor Tomokazu Ibaraki, who is arrested in Broome as an enemy alien.
Born in South Korea to an Australian father and Japanese mother, Piper became interested in the experience of Japanese civilians interned in Australia during the war.
Journalist Stephen Romei, one of the three judges of the prize which was established in 1980, praised the novel.
"A brave, profound meditation on identity, trauma, loss and courage ... reminds us that there are two sides to every war and that history never ceases to be written ... " he said.
Previous winners include Tim Winton for An Open Swimmer (1981) and Kate Grenville for Lilian's Story (1984).
Paul D Carter won the award for Eleven Seasons in 2012.
Judges were unable to find a winner in 2013.