"I knew I would one day write about it, but it wasn't until we separated that I had the time and space to do so."
Emma Batchelor's raw exploration of a complicated romantic relationship in her memoir Now That I See You deals with identity, gender, sexuality, love, partnership, grief and mental health.
After completing a Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons) at ANU and taking many gap years to work and travel, she eventually pursued her dream to be a writer. Now That I See You is her first novel, which is the 2021 winner of The Australian/Vogel Literary Award. The prize money, $20,000, is the most awarded for an unpublished manuscript in Australia. The winner's work is published by Allen & Unwin.
"The idea originated from and is based on my experience of my own partner's transition from presenting as male to female," Emma says.
"I took our actual letters and my journal entries and used them as a scaffold from which to build the story. It was also important to me not to speak for my partner or to tell her story."
Now That I See You details the breakdown of a long-term relationship after one partner discloses to the other that they are transgender. The story is told from the perspective of a female narrator over a period 18 months, beginning with the discovery of unknown feminine hairs in her male partner's bathroom.
"This is my lived experience. Being in a relationship with a transgender person, suffering a mental illness and eventually getting myself back together," Emma says.