Showing all posts tagged: Australian literature

The 2024 Stella Prize for Australian literature shortlist

12 April 2024

And talking of Australian fiction, the shortlist for the 2024 Stella Prize, the Australian literary award that recognises the work of Australian women and non-binary writers, was unveiled last week. The following six titles were selected:

I’m a big fan of literary prize lists, be they long or short, given they’re always a great source of reading ideas, since I only sometimes have my finger on the pulse of literary happenings. In the same way Triple J’s Hottest 100 is great for new music discovery, for those unable to listen to music 24/7.

Good to see Melbourne based author Katherine Brabon listed with her latest novel. I really enjoyed her 2021 novel, The Shut-ins. I highly recommend adding it your TBR list, if you’ve not yet read it.

And for reference, here is the Stella’s longlist, which was published in early March. The 2024 winner of the Stella Prize will be named on Thursday 2 May 2024.

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So Close to Home, debut novel of Mick Cummins, has been published

6 December 2023

So Close to Home by Mick Cummins bookcover

Mick Cummins, the Melbourne based former social worker and screenwriter, who won the unpublished manuscript award in the 2023 Victorian Premiers Literary Awards, has had his debut work, So Close to Home, published by Affirm Press.

The manuscript was originally titled One Divine Night. Cummins said a number of publishers contacted him after winning the unpublished manuscript prize earlier this year.

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The 2023 ARA Historical Novel Prize shortlists

27 September 2023

The shortlists for the 2023 ARA Historical Novel Prize were announced earlier today. The award is presented in two categories, Adult, and Children and Young Adult. The three finalists in each category are as follows:

Adult

Children and Young Adult

Presented in association with the ARA Group, the ARA Historical Novel Prize, which is awarded annually, recognises excellence in historical fiction writing by Australian and New Zealand authors. The winners of both award categories will be named on Thursday 19 October 2023.

This year’s shortlist also marks the second year in a row that Katrina Nannestad has featured on the shortlists. Nannestad went on to win the Children and Young Adult category in 2022 with her book Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief. Will it be two a row for her this year?

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Islands of Secrets by Stefanie Koens wins 2023 Banjo Prize for unpublished Australian fiction

26 September 2023

Stefanie Koens has been named winner of the 2023 Banjo Prize for unpublished Australian fiction, with her manuscript titled Islands of Secrets, a work of historic fiction that spans several decades:

Shortly before Christmas in 2018, schoolteacher Tess McCarthy flies to Western Australia’s remote Abrolhos Islands in search of answers — both to the infamous Batavia shipwreck and her personal family crises. In 1628, Saskia, a young Dutchwoman, boards Batavia with her family, bound for a new life in the East Indies — only for her world to first collide with Aris Jansz, the ship’s reluctant under surgeon. Tess, Saskia and Aris carry the baggage of past losses and the uncertainty of their futures. And, in the most unlikely circumstances, they find qualities that span centuries: faith, acceptance, and love.

As part of the prize, Koens will be awarded a publishing contract from HarperCollins Publishers for Islands of Secrets.

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Tilda Cobham-Hervey cast as Esme in The Dictionary of Lost Words play

19 September 2023

The Dictionary Of Lost Words show poster

Adelaide based Australian actor Tilda Cobham-Hervey will take the lead role of Esme, in the stage adaptation of The Dictionary of Lost Words, based on the 2020 novel of the same name, written by Australian author Pip Williams.

Set at the beginning of the twentieth century in the British city of Oxford, The Dictionary of Lost Words is a fictionalised recounting of the story behind the publication of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Spanning several decades, the story is narrated by Esme, the daughter of one of the dictionary’s lexicographers.

Last November, the State Theatre Company of South Australia announced they were working with Jessica Arthur to bring Williams’ novel to the stage, which opens on Friday 22 September 2023, in the South Australian capital. After a three week season, the show moves to Sydney, for a season of about seven weeks at Sydney Opera House, from Thursday 26 October 2023.

Cobham-Hervey is both a screen and stage actor. Past film credits include 52 Tuesdays, Hotel Mumbai, and I Am Woman, while previous stage roles include Things I Know to Be True and Vale.

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Kinky History, a book by Esme Louise James

19 September 2023

Kinky History by Esme Louise James, book cover

Book cover of Kinky History, by Esmé Louise James.

Tuesday 3 October 2023 promises to be a red letter day for devotees of kinks, fetishes, and spicy sex, for that is the day Kinky History, by Melbourne based Australian writer Esmé Louise James will be published. For those thinking Kinky History has a familiar ring to it, James’ book takes its title from the well kown series of the same name that she presents on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Kinky History draws on Esmé Louise James’s phenomenally successful series on TikTok, which explores scandalous stories in the ancient world and the saucy secrets of famous figures. Teaming up with her statistician mother, Dr Susan James, the pair have surveyed the nation for all of your intimate secrets — and the results are in. By placing the past in conversation with the present, we’ll explore five ‘kinks’ that challenge our thinking about sex. How has the idea of sin shaped our sex lives? Why is masturbation so taboo? Where are our hidden queer histories? How do kinks and fetishes play with the idea of sex? And why does pornography have so much power over us?

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Alexis Wright wins 2023 Lifetime Achievement in Literature Award

18 September 2023

Australian author Alexis Wright, a past winner of both the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and the Stella Prize, has been awarded the 2023 Creative Australia (formerly the Australia Council) Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature:

Alexis is an author of ground-breaking works across a number of literary genres. She is a highly decorated and awarded author who writes extraordinarily important work that sits in your consciousness. Her novels interpret the past, present, and future tense and challenge the readers’ comprehension. She has changed how we think about the meaning of storytelling and time.

Creative Australia awards were also presented for music, dance, emerging and experimental arts, visual arts, theatre, and community arts and cultural development.

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Looking After Country With Fire wins 2023 Karajira Award

8 September 2023

Looking After Country With Fire, book cover

Book cover of Looking After Country With Fire, by Victor Steffensen.

Looking After Country With Fire, published by Hardie Grant in 2022, written by Indigenous Australian writer and filmmaker Victor Steffensen, and illustrated by Far North Queensland based visual arts teacher Sandra Steffensen, has won the 2023 Karajira Award for Children’s Literature.

Presented by the Wilderness Society, the Karajira Award celebrates excellence in children’s literature by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island authors and/or illustrators, who honour connection to Country and tell stories exploring land, community, culture, and language.

Looking After Country With Fire explores methods and systems of fire management used by Indigenous Australians, over thousands of years, to manage, and regenerate the land:

Mother Nature has a language. If we listen, and read the signs in the land, we can understand it. For thousands of years, First Nations people have listened and responded to the land and made friends with fire, using this knowledge to encourage plants and seeds to flourish, and creating beautiful places for both animals and people to live.

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The 2023 Banjo Prize shortlist for unpublished Australian fiction

7 September 2023

The shortlist for the 2023 Banjo Prize, for unpublished Australian fiction, was announced on Tuesday 5 September 2023, and includes the manuscripts of five writers:

The winner of the prize, which is presented annually by HarperCollins Australia, will have the opportunity to see their work published. The winner will be named on Tuesday 26 September 2023.

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The Conversion, a new book by Amanda Lohrey, past Miles Franklin winner

6 September 2023

The Conversion by Amanda Lohrey, book cover

Book cover of The Conversion, by Amanda Lohrey.

Tasmanian based Australian author, and winner of the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Amanda Lohrey, has written a new novel, The Conversion, which will be published by Text Publishing, in October 2023. The story follows a couple, Zoe and Nick, who set about converting a deconsecrated church into a home:

The conversion was Nick’s idea, but it’s Zoe who’s here now, in a valley of old coalmines and new vineyards, working out how to live in a deconsecrated church. What to do with all that vertical space, those oppressive stained-glass windows? Can a church become a home or, even with all its vestiges removed, will it remain forever what it was intended to be?

To date, The Labyrinth, winner of the aforementioned Miles Franklin prize, is the only of Lohrey’s books I’ve read. It was an utterly compelling read though, and I’m looking forward to The Conversion, and possibly even seeing it among nominations for the 2024 Miles Franklin.

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