Female writers have been celebrated for their impact on life writing at today’s Nita B Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers (the Kibble Awards), with Fiona Wright and Lucy Treloar announced as the 2016 winners of the Kibble and Dobbie Awards.
Wright was awarded the $30,000 Kibble Literary Award for established authors for her book Small Acts of Disappearance. Treloar won the $5,000 Dobbie Literary Award for a first-time published author for Salt Creek.
The Kibble Awards recognise Australian female writers who have published fiction or non-fiction classified as ‘life writing’. This includes novels, autobiographies, biographies, and any writing with a strong personal element.
Wright’s Small Acts of Disappearance is a collection of ten essays that describe the author’s affliction with an eating disorder which began in high school, and escalated into life-threatening anorexia over the next ten years. The essays offer perspectives on the eating disorder at different stages in Wright’s life: at university, in Sri Lanka as a fledgling journalist, in Germany as a young writer, in her hospital treatments back in Sydney.
They combine research, travel writing, memoir, and literary discussions of how writers like Christina Stead, Carmel Bird, Tim Winton, John Berryman and Louise Glück deal with anorexia and addiction.
Treloar’s Salt Creek is a work of fiction set in 1855 in the far reaches of the remote yet beautiful coastal region of Coorong in South Australia. It weaves fragments of Treloar’s family history, telling the story of a family forced to move from Adelaide to the Coorong region, from the perspective of the eldest daughter, Hester.
Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Webby who was on the judging panel said of Salt Creek: “In a remarkable act of the imagination, Lucy Treloar depicts the changes in Hester as initial strangeness and dislocation give way to a sense of beauty and belonging. She is also forced to question many of the beliefs of her time and class, as she witnesses the destruction of the homes and culture of the local people, the Ngarrindjeri.”
The Awards were established by Nita Dobbie in honour of her pioneering aunt, Nita Kibble – the first female librarian of the State Library of New South Wales. The awards have recognised 57 of Australia’s leading writers over its 23 year history.
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Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.