The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards were held last night at the State Library of NSW, with a total of $300,000 in prizes given to 13 award recipients.
NSW Premier, The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP said: “The diversity of tonight’s winners is impressive, both in terms of the writers’ backgrounds and the subject matter of the works. It reflects the outstanding and continuous achievements of the Australian literary community. On behalf of the NSW Government, I congratulate all the shortlisted authors and winners of the 2017 Awards.”
The 2017 Winners are:
Christina Stead Prize For Fiction
The Museum of Modern Love
by Heather Rose
Review by Ben Hunter
In a list dominated by powerful works of non-fiction, Heather Rose has taken out the 2017 Stella Prize and NSW Premier’s Literary Award (Christina Stead Prize) for her wonderfully peculiar novel, The Museum of Modern Love.
Rose uses her fiction to look at the life-threatening struggle of artist Marina Abramovic, and her gruelling 75-day performance piece, The Artist is Present, which took the art world by storm. This book is possibly as strange and brilliant as the artwork itself.
Rose traces her narrative against the unravelling world of Arky Levin – a man set adrift between his music, his family and himself – and invests deeply in the lives of each of her characters – school teachers, writers, photographers, butchers, and the almost mythical artist herself. No stone is left unturned in this relentless interrogation of art’s purpose in our lives. A moving book that invites the reader to revel and re-evaluate… Learn more
UTS Glenda Adams Award For New Writing
Letter to Pesoa
by Sarah Holland-Batt
Letter to Pessoa is the first collection of short stories by award-winning Goan-Australian poet Michelle Cahill. It is an imaginative tour de force, portraying the experiences of a whole range of characters, including a scientist, a cat and a young Indian female version of Joseph Conrad, in settings across the world, from Barcelona to Capetown, Boston to Chiang Mai, Kathmandu to Kraków.
Like the poet Fernando Pessoa, who gives the collection its title, and who created as many as seventy versions of himself, Cahill displays a remarkable inventiveness, making distant landscapes and situations come alive, in compelling detail, as they express the fear and longing, obsession and outrage, of the people caught up in them…. Learn more
Douglas Stewart Prize for Nonfiction
Our Man Elsewhere: In Search of Alan Moorehead
by Thornton McCamish
JA world-famous Australian writer, an inspiration to Robert Hughes and Clive James, a legendary war correspondent who also wrote bestselling histories of exploration and conservation . . . and yet forgotten? In this dazzling book, Thornton McCamish delves into the past to reclaim a remarkable figure, Alan Moorehead.
As a reporter, Moorehead witnessed many of the great historical events of the mid-20th century: the Spanish Civil War and both world wars, Cold War espionage, and decolonisation in Africa. He debated strategy with Churchill and Gandhi, fished with Hemingway, and drank with Graham Greene, Ava Gardner and Truman Capote. As well as being a regular contributor to the New Yorker, in 1956 Moorehead wrote the first significant book about the Gallipoli campaign… Learn more
Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
by Peter Boyle
Eleven fictive poets from Latin America, France and Quebec. Their poems, interviews, biographies and letters weave images of diverse lives and poetics. In the tradition of Fernando Pessoa, Boyle presents an array of at times humorous, at times tormented heteronymous poets.
In their varied voices and styles, writing as they do across the span of the 20th Century and into the 21st , these haunted and haunting figures offer one of poetry’s oldest gifts – to sing beauty in the face of death. In all this Boyle, their fictive translator, is deeply enmeshed… Learn more.
Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature
Iris and Tiger
by Leanne Hall
Twelve-year-old Iris has been sent to Spain on a mission: to make sure her elderly and unusual aunt, Ursula, leaves her fortune – and her sprawling estate – to Iris’s scheming parents.
But from the moment Iris arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she realises something isn’t quite right. There is an odd feeling around the house, where time moves slowly and Iris’s eyes play tricks on her. While outside, in the wild and untamed forest, a mysterious animal moves through the shadows. Just what is Aunt Ursula hiding? Learn more
Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature
One Thousand Hills
by James Roy & Noël Zihabamwe
Agabande, Rwanda, April 1994. The children in the village are doing childlike things, playing with toys they make themselves, going to school and church on Sunday. Doing their chores. But there are whispers and looks, and messages of hate on the radio, and people are leaving. Pascal is a good boy, trying his best, but the world he knows is about to change forever… Learn more
Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting (Dual Winners)
The Code – Series Two, Episode 4
by Shelley Birse
Enter, and there’s no escape.
Hoping to escape the storm they unleashed at the end of season one, bruised but essentially scot-free–Jesse (Ashley Zukerman) and Ned (Dan Spielman) are confronted with the terrifying possibility of being extradited to the US to face serious charges in an American court.
Fortunately for the Banks brothers, Australian National Security is sitting on an explosive case they cannot crack, and Jesse Banks might just be the man to do it… Learn More
by Abe Forsythe
Australia vs Australia – Nobody wins!
A black comedy set during the aftermath of the Cronulla riots, Down Under is the story of two carloads of hotheads from both sides of the fight destined to collide. Sincere, though misguided, intent gives way to farcical ineptitude as this hilarious yet poignant story of ignorance, fear and kebab-cravings unfolds, and what was meant to be a retaliation mission turns into something neither side could have imagined… Learn More
Multicultural NSW Award
The Hate Race
by Maxine Beneba Clarke
‘Against anything I had ever been told was possible, I was turning white. On the surface of my skin, a miracle was quietly brewing…’
Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing.
From one of Australia’s most exciting writers, and the author of the multi-award-winning Foreign Soil, comes The Hate Race: a powerful, funny, and at times devastating memoir about growing up black in white middle-class Australia… Learn more
The NSW Premier’s Translation Prize
From the Judges Comments:
Royall Tyler’s international reputation is based on his translations of Japan’s longest and most revered literary works, The Tale of Genji and Tales of the Heikei. Masterpieces from medieval times, they present enormous difficulties for translators, requiring fine judgment as to how and where explanations are appropriate and even necessary for non-Japanese readers. Tyler provides supporting material based on impeccable scholarship alongside a marvellously imaginative use of English.
Accolades from an internationally renowned academic describe his translation of Genji as ‘the finest literary translation ever made from Japanese’, his translation of Heike as ‘magnificent’, and his reputation as ‘the finest translator of the most important.
Multicultural NSW Early Career Translator Prize
The poems of The Flowers of Evil were written in Paris at a time of revolution and accelerating change – the beginning of mass culture, the rise of consumerism and the middle-class, the radical redevelopment of the city by Haussmann – and they provide many parallels with the malaise and uncertainties of contemporary capitalist societies. Here we find poems about love (and love-hate), birds and beasts, Paris scenes and street people; about spiritual revolt, wine, death, travel and far-away places. The poet’s voice is by turns ironical, angry and compassionate, his words charged with anguish, desire and rapture. Jan Owen’s masterly translation captures all of this in a selection that includes many of Baudelaire’s best known poems – including those banned from 1857 edition – as well as some less familiar ones, with the volume leading up to his great long poem, ‘The Voyage’, and finishing with the much-loved sonnet ‘Meditation’… Learn more
People’s Choice Award
by Nick Earls
Vancouver is the story Paul would tell if he were living in plague times a story that comforts, a story that wards of evil. His story is about the giant that influenced his life, it’s about the day the world changed, and it’s about what happens when our giants come tumbling down. Think, any one of Giovanni Boccaccio’s stories from, Decameron. Learn more
About the Contributor
Emily is Booktopia's resident eBook Merchandiser and music nerd. Obsessed with all things Harry Potter, dogs, biographical and digital; she occasionally talks too much and worked in customer service in a previous Booktopian life. When she's not obsessing over one of her many loves, she's out taking photos or trying to write self-deprecatingly witty things.