Showing all posts tagged: literary awards

Cutters End by Margaret Hickey wins 2022 Danger Prize

10 September 2022
Cutters End by Margaret Hickey book cover

Cutters End, by Victorian based author and playwright Margaret Hickey, was named winner of the 2022 Danger Prize for crime and justice writing with an Australian setting, at the Bad Sydney Crime Festival, yesterday evening.

Published by Penguin Books Australia in July 2022, Cutters End has a synopsis that’s sure to draw in fans of crime writing:

New Year’s Eve, 1989. Eighteen-year-old Ingrid Mathers is hitchhiking her way to Alice Springs. Bored, hungover and separated from her friend Joanne, she accepts a lift to the remote town of Cutters End.

July 2021. Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti is seconded to a recently reopened case, one in which he has a personal connection. Three decades ago, a burnt and broken body was discovered in scrub off the Stuart Highway, 300km south of Cutters End. Though ultimately ruled an accidental death, many people — including a high-profile celebrity — are convinced it was murder.

When Mark’s interviews with the witnesses in the old case files go nowhere, he has no choice but to make the long journey up the highway to Cutters End. And with the help of local Senior Constable Jagdeep Kaur, he soon learns that this death isn’t the only unsolved case that hangs over the town…

Incidentally, Cutters End was shortlisted in the Ned Kelly awards for crime writing, the winners of which I’ve also written about today.

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The 2022 Ned Kelly Australian crime writing award winners

10 September 2022

The winners of the 2022 Ned Kelly awards for crime writing were announced a couple of weeks ago, with a total of one hundred and thirty-five entries vying for the top spot in four award categories.

The Chase by Candice Fox won Best Crime Fiction, Banquet: The Untold Story of Adelaide’s Family Murders by Debi Marshall won Best True Crime, while Banjawarn by Josh Kemp won Best Debut Crime Fiction.

Going offshore, Toronto, Canada, based author Nita Prose took out the award for Best International Crime Fiction published in Australia, with The Maid.

Named for notorious nineteenth century Australian bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly, the awards have celebrated the best Australian crime writing since their inception in 1996.

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Alice Pung named chair of judges for the 2023 Stella Prize

9 September 2022

Melbourne based author and lawyer Alice Pung was named chair of judges for the 2023 Stella Prize last month. The prize, which recognises the work of women and non-binary writers, is one of Australia’s most prestigious literary awards.

I recently read Pung’s 2021 novel One Hundred Days, which was shortlisted in both the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award, and the 2022 Australian Book Industry Awards. The story centres on sixteen year Kuruna, and her fraught — to put it mildly — relationship with her overbearing mother, which becomes all the more strained after Kuruna falls pregnant. Not an easy read, if I’m honest.

On the subject of the 2023 Stella Prize, entries are presently being accepted until Wednesday 12 October 2022.

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The Age Book of the Year prize 2022 winners announced

9 September 2022

In Moonland by Melbourne based Australian author Miles Allinson, which I’ve written about previously, has won the fiction prize in The Age Book of the Year prize 2022.

Meanwhile Leaping into Waterfalls by Sydney based writer and literary critic Bernadette Brennan — a biography of late Australian short story writer and novelist Gillian Mears — has taken out the award for non-fiction.

The winners of the prize, which was re-booted last year after a nine year hiatus, were announced on the opening night of the Melbourne Writers Festival.

The Dinny O’Hearn Poetry Prize was in the past awarded to works of — you guessed it — poetry, but this doesn’t appear to have been presented since 2012.

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The winners of the 2022 Davitt Awards for crime writing

3 September 2022

Somehow I missed this earlier in the week, but the winners of the 2022 Davitt Awards for crime writing by Australian women, were announced last week, on Saturday 27 August.

Charlotte McConaghy’s environmental thriller, Once There Were Wolves (Penguin Random House Australia), won the award for Best Adult Novel. The Best Young Adult Novel prize went to Leanne Hall for The Gaps (Text Publishing) while the Best Children’s Novel Award was won by Nicki Greenberg (Melbourne, Victoria) for The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel (Affirm Press).

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Kylie Moore-Gilbert: the difficult return to a normal life

15 August 2022

Kylie Moore-Gilbert is an Australian academic who spent over two years in Iranian jails after being accused of spying, despite no evidence backing up the claims ever being published. Last week Moore-Gilbert wrote about being incarcerated, and the challenges of rebuilding her life, on returning to Melbourne in November 2020.

I am a 35-year-old childless divorcee with a criminal record. It was never meant to be this way, of course. A few years ago I was on track to achieving that comfortable middle-class existence of husband, dream job and a mortgage on a house in the suburbs. I was driven, I was hard-working, I was ambitious. After years of juggling full-time study with multiple part-time jobs I had finally gained an unsteady foothold on the precarious academic ladder. I was working on my first book, an adaptation of my PhD. I taught undergraduate and masters courses, and supervised research students. I used to think I had life more or less figured out, and myself too for that matter.

Incidentally, Moore-Gilbert’s memoir My 804 Days in an Iranian Prison, is among shortlisted titles for the 2022 The Age book of the year award. Winners will be announced when the Melbourne Writers Festival opens on Thursday 8 September 2022.

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The 2022 Booker Prize longlist

27 July 2022

The 2022 Booker Prize longlist was announced overnight, Australian time. Thirteen authors including Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet, and Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout, are among those included.

It includes the youngest and oldest authors ever to be nominated, as well as the shortest book, three debuts and two new publishers receiving their first ever nominations. Chair of the judges Neil MacGregor said ‘The list offers story, fable and parable, fantasy, mystery, meditation and thriller’.

The shortlist for the Booker Prize, which celebrates English language novels published in Ireland and the UK each year, will be unveiled on Tuesday 6 September 2022.

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Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down wins the 2022 Miles Franklin literary award

20 July 2022
Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down bookcover

It’s a red letter day in Australian literature, with Bodies of Light, by Jennifer Down being named winner of the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Here’s the book trailer for Bodies of Light, followed by an outline of the premise.

So by the grace of a photograph that had inexplicably gone viral, Tony had found me. Or: he’d found Maggie. I had no way of knowing whether he was nuts or not; whether he might go to the cops. Maybe that sounds paranoid, but I don’t think it’s so ridiculous. People have gone to prison for much lesser things than accusations of child-killing.A quiet, small-town existence. An unexpected Facebook message, jolting her back to the past. A history she’s reluctant to revisit: dark memories and unspoken trauma, warning knocks on bedroom walls, unfathomable loss. She became a new person a long time ago. What happens when buried stories are dragged into the light?

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Going blue for Miles Franklin week 2022

18 July 2022
disassociated Miles Franklin week logo

The winner of the 2022 Miles Franklin literary prize will be announced on Wednesday 20 July 2022, and to mark the momentous occasion I’ve remixed the disassociated logo with the Miles Franklin hues of blue for this week.

I’m a big fan of literary awards, as they’re great places to find quality reading suggestions. Of the six titles on the 2021 shortlist, I’ve so far read The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey, the 2021 winner, plus Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos, The Inland Sea by Madeleine Watts, and The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott.

To date I’ve not been disappointed. But for more recent reading ideas, check out the 2022 Miles Franklin longlist, announced in May, and the shortlist from last month.

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The 2022 Ned Kelly Awards shortlists

6 July 2022

The 2022 Ned Kelly Awards shortlists have been announced by the Australian Crime Writers Association. This year the work of nineteen writers has been shortlisted in four categories.

Best debut crime fiction

  • Sweet Jimmy, by Bryan Brown
  • Shadow Over Edmund Street, by Suzanne Frankham
  • Cutters End, by Margaret Hickey
  • Banjawarn, by Josh Kemp

Best true crime

  • The Mother Wound, by Amani Haydar
  • Larrimah, by Caroline Graham and Kylie Stevenson
  • Banquet: The untold story of Adelaide’s family murders, by Debi Marshall
  • A Witness of Fact, by Drew Rooke

Best international crime fiction

  • Case Study, by Graeme Macrae Burnet
  • The Heron’s Cry, by Ann Cleeves
  • The Maid, by Nita Prose
  • Cry Wolf, by Hans Rosenfeldt

Best crime fiction

  • The Enemy Within, by Tim Ayliffe
  • The Others, by Mark Brandi
  • You Had it Coming, by B M Carroll
  • The Chase, by Candice Fox
  • Kill Your Brother, by Jack Heath
  • The Family Doctor, by Debra Oswald
  • The Deep, by Kyle Perry

The winners will be announced in early August 2022.

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2022 Environment Award for Children’s Literature shortlist

4 July 2022

A total of twenty-one books, in four categories, including the inaugural Karijia Award, have been named on the 2022 Environment Award for Children’s Literature shortlist, a literary award which is hosted by the Wilderness Society.

Notable among those included on the shortlist is retired Australian Football League player Adam Goodes, whose book, Somebody’s Land: Welcome to Our Country, co-written with Ellie Laing, has been named on the Karijia Award shortlist, a prize which recognises the best in First Nations storytelling for children.

Picture Fiction:

  • The Accidental Penguin Hotel, by Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Dean Jones
  • 9 things to remember (and one to forget), written and illustrated by Alison Binks
  • Sharing, by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson, illustrated by Leanne Mulgo Watson
  • One Potoroo: A Story of Survival, by Penny Jaye, illustrated by Alicia Rogerson
  • The River, by Sally Morgan, illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr
  • Saving Seal. The Plastic Predicament, by Diane Jackson Hill, illustrated by Craig Smith

Non-fiction:

  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Peculiar Pairs in Nature, by Sami Bayly
  • The Australian Climate Change Book, by Polly Marsden, illustrated by Chris Nixon
  • The Way of the Weedy Seadragon, by Anne Morgan, illustrated by Lois Bury
  • The Gentle Genius of Trees, written and illustrated by Philip Bunting

Fiction:

  • Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo, written and illustrated by Kylie Howarth
  • Bailey Finch Takes a Stand, by Ingrid Laguna
  • The Good Times of Pelican Rise: Save the Joeys, by Samone Amba

The Karijia Award for Children’s Literature:

  • Sea Country, by Aunty Patsy Cameron, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
  • Sharing, by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson, illustrated by Leanne Mulgo Watson
  • Warna-Manda Baby Earth Walk, by Susan Betts, illustrated by Mandy Foot and Susan Betts
  • Wiradjuri Country, by Larry Brandy
  • Somebody’s Land: Welcome to Our Country, by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, illustrated by David Hardy
  • The Story Doctors, by Boori Monty Pryor, illustrated by Rita Sinclair
  • The River, by Sally Morgan, illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr
  • Walking in Gagudju Country: Exploring the Monsoon Forest, by Diane Lucas and Ben Tyler, illustrated by Emma Long

The winners will announced during Nature Book Week, which takes place from Monday 5 September 2022 through to Sunday 11 September.

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The 2022 Miles Franklin shortlist

23 June 2022

The 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist was unveiled this evening, with the following five novels making the cut:

Awesome to see Grimmish by Michael Winkler, on the list, now the first self-published novel to reach the Miles Franklin shortlist.

The winner will be named on Wednesday 20 July 2022.

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Megan Williams wins 2022 Text Prize for unpublished manuscripts

23 June 2022

Brisbane based former employment lawyer Megan Williams has been named winner of the 2022 Text Prize, with her debut unpublished novel manuscript Let’s Never Speak of this Again.

Having won the prize for young adult and children’s fiction though, Let’s Never Speak of this Again will not remain unpublished for too much longer.

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Grimmish Michael Winkler’s self-published Miles Franklin entry

22 June 2022
Grimmish by Michael Winkler, book cover

Grimmish by Michael Winkler — along with the other books on this year’s Miles Franklin longlist — has somewhat found itself in the shadows as a consequence of the plagiarism controversy surrounding John Hughes’ novel The Dogs, which has since been removed from the longlist.

This could have been unfortunate as the 2021 title by the Melbourne based Australian author has an historic claim to fame. Grimmish is the first ever self-published novel to be included on the longlist of the long running Australian literary prize.

Variously described as “exploded nonfiction“, and an “experimental historical novel“, Grimmish recounts the story of Italian American boxer Joe Grim, and his tour of Australia in 1908 and 1909. Grim who fought in over one-hundred-and-fifty bouts, only prevailed on twenty-four occasions. That didn’t prevent him from developing a reputation for his showmanship and extraordinary physical resilience, and earning the moniker of the “the human punching bag” in the process.

But Grim isn’t the only player in this story with tenacity. Like many authors, Winkler struggled to find a publisher interested in looking at his manuscript. But that was only the beginning. He was also subjected to numerous taunts and sneers, being told Grimmish, with its unconventional format, was “wearisome”, and “repellent.” Publishing houses, it seemed, did not want to take a punt on a book they felt certain would not sell.

At that point Winkler decided to self-publish. But self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted. In addition to writing a novel, an author is required to take on all the functions of a publishing house, editing, printing, marketing, and distribution, among them. An abundance of resolve and stamina — matching that, I dare say, of a champion boxer — is required.

The Miles Franklin shortlist will be announced tomorrow, Thursday 23 June 2022, and Grimmish has more than a few fans gunning for its inclusion. Rave reviews aside — the novel has garnered a respectable 4.25 out of five rating on Goodreads, Grimmish is almost deserving of a shortlist place purely on account of Winkler’s drive and determination in getting his book published.

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Be sure to read the small print of writing competitions

14 June 2022

Writing contests are a great way for an emerging writer to get their work in front of a wider audience, possibly take home a modest cash prize, and maybe even pick up a publishing deal.

But carefully reading the terms and conditions each time you submit your work to one is essential, as you may end up signing away far more than you realise, when ticking the “I have read and understood the terms and conditions of entry.”

For example, some competitions place restrictions on your ability to submit your entry to other competitions, some require the first option to publish the entries of the winners and runners-up, and some unscrupulous players may even require you to assign your copyright to them.

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2022 Text Prize shortlist for unpublished manuscripts

9 June 2022

Seven middle-grade and young adult writers have been named on the 2022 Text Prize shortlist for unpublished manuscripts.

  • Bellamy Jones and the Lost Treeheart, by Emily Beck
  • How to be Normal by, Ange Crawford
  • One Thing You Can Feel, by Robbie Taylor Hunt
  • Year of the Dog, by Kate McCabe
  • Finding Liminas: The Sudden Tree, by Bria McCarthy
  • The Collector of Gifts, by Jamie Ramjan
  • Let’s Never Speak of this Again, by Megan Williams

The winner of the 2022 Text Prize, along with the recipient of the Steph Bowe Mentorship for Young Writers, will be named in late June.

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Small independent publishers dominate Miles Franklin longlist

31 May 2022

Six of the titles named on the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist were published by members of the Small Press Network, a Melbourne based organisation representing more than two hundred and fifty small and independent publishers across Australia, and include one self-published title.

In much the same way small businesses are a vital component of the Australian economy, so too are small and independent publishers to Australian literature.

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Still Alive by Safdar Ahmed wins NSW’s Book of the Year 2022

30 May 2022
Still Alive by Safdar Ahmed, bookcover

Sydney based Australian artist, writer, and refugee advocate Safdar Ahmed was named winner of the Book of the Year award in the 2022 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, for his graphic novel Still Alive (published by Twelve Panels Press, April 2021), which explores the experiences of asylum seekers in Australia’s Immigration detention system.

Those seeking asylum in Australia due to war, strife and violence in their home countries face extraordinary challenges both during their journey and upon arrival. Ahmed’s book focuses on people who arrive in Australia by boat. For these people, a long, perilous journey ends with the often equally perilous obstacles they face when dealing with Australia’s legal processes, with the privations of onshore and offshore detention centres, and with inadequate health and psychological support.

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Kathryn Barker’s Waking Romeo wins Aurealis best sci-fi novel

28 May 2022
Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker, bookcover

Waking Romeo (published by Allen & Unwin, March 2021), by Sydney based Australian author Kathryn Barker, has been named winner of the Best Science Fiction Novel, in the 2021 Aurealis Awards.

It’s the end of the world. Literally. Time travel is possible, but only forwards. And only a handful of families choose to remain in the ‘now’, living off the scraps that were left behind. Among these are eighteen-year-old Juliet and the love of her life, Romeo. But things are far from rosy for Jules. Romeo is in a coma and she’s estranged from her friends and family, dealing with the very real fallout of their wild romance. Then a handsome time traveller, Ellis, arrives with an important mission that makes Jules question everything she knows about life and love. Can Jules wake Romeo and rewrite her future?

The Aurealis Awards have been honouring Australian science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers since 1995. The full list of winners in the 2021 awards can be seen here.

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Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree wins International Booker Prize

27 May 2022
Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, bookcover

Tomb of Sand (published by Penguin Random House India, March 2022) by New Delhi based Indian author Geetanjali Shree, and translated by Daisy Rockwell, has been named winner of the 2022 International Booker Prize.

In northern India, an eighty-year-old woman slips into a deep depression after the death of her husband, and then resurfaces to gain a new lease on life. Her determination to fly in the face of convention – including striking up a friendship with a transgender person – confuses her bohemian daughter, who is used to thinking of herself as the more ‘modern’ of the two. To her family’s consternation, Ma insists on travelling to Pakistan, simultaneously confronting the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of Partition, and re-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, a feminist.

Frank Wynne, Booker Prize judges chair, described Tomb of Sand, also the first novel originally written in any Indian language, and the first book translated from Hindi, to win the award, thusly:

This is a luminous novel of India and partition, but one whose spellbinding brio and fierce compassion weaves youth and age, male and female, family and nation into a kaleidoscopic whole.

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