Currowan by Bronwyn Adcock wins 2022 Walkley Book Award
17 November 2022
Currowan, by NSW based Australian journalist and writer Bronwyn Adcock, has been named winner of the 2022 Walkley Book Award. Published by Black Inc., Currowan is a harrowing personal account of a bush fire that burnt for seventy-four days on the NSW south coast in 2019.
The Currowan fire — ignited by a lightning strike in a remote forest and growing to engulf the New South Wales South Coast — was one of the most terrifying episodes of Australia’s Black Summer. It burnt for seventy-four days, consuming nearly 5000 square kilometres of land, destroying well over 500 homes and leaving many people shattered.
Bronwyn Adcock fled the inferno with her children. Her husband, fighting at the front, rang with a plea for help before his phone went dead, leaving her to fear — will he make it out alive?
In Currowan, Bronwyn tells her story and those of many others — what they saw, thought and felt as they battled a blaze of never-before-seen intensity. In the aftermath, there were questions — why were resources so few that many faced the flames alone? Why was there back-burning on a day of extreme fire danger? Why weren’t we better prepared?
Currowan is a portrait of tragedy, survival and the power of community. Set against the backdrop of a nation in the grip of an intensifying crisis, this immersive account of a region facing disaster is a powerful glimpse into a new, more dangerous world — and how we build resilience.
The Walkley Awards, which are presented annually, recognise excellence in Australian journalism.