Ampersand Winner 2022

17 Oct 2022 | Hardie Grant Books

We are thrilled to announce that Adelaide teacher and writer Elisa Chenoweth (she/her) has won the 2022 Ampersand Prize for her YA novel, Maria Petranelli is Prepared For Anything (except this).

Maria Petranelli is Prepared For Anything (except this)

Chenoweth’s winning manuscript was described by the judges as an ‘outrageously funny, tender-hearted and awkward queer screwball comedy’. It follows 16-year-old Maria as she abruptly decides to go on student exchange to Italy to get away from her overbearing Australian-Italian family, and prove that she is tougher than she looks. However, she quickly finds herself out of her depth when she meets Kennedy, a tall, sweet but hopeless American girl who wears her heart on her sleeve.

Chenoweth said,I’m still shocked this has happened. This has been something I’ve worked on for years now, and I was just about ready to call it quits - entering the Ampersand Prize was my "last chance" effort before putting the manuscript away and moving on! So I’m still a bit stunned, but I’m so happy and grateful I have the opportunity to share Maria Petranelli with the world.’

‘I am obsessed with Maria Petranelli is Prepared For Anything (except this), and have been since the moment I started reading,’ said HGCP publishing director Marisa Pintado. ‘Elisa Chenoweth’s writing has the heart and relatability of Looking for Alibrandi, the exquisite comic timing and family dynamics of Arrested Development, and a voice that is so original and unexpected that she is bursting onto the YA landscape fully formed. Readers are going to love this grumpy/sunshine YA rom-com!’

Chenoweth joins previous winners including H.S. Valley for Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues, Frances Chapman for Stars Like Us, Lisa Siberry for The Brilliant Ideas of Lily Green, and more listed below.

We will be publishing Maria Petranelli is Prepared For Anything (except this) in early 2024.