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ALS Gold Medal (and 2009 award shortlist)

June 21, 2010

My recent review of Herz Bergner’s Between sky and sea reminded me of a rather ignored Australian literary award, the ALS Gold Medal, that I’d come across a few years ago but have let slip beneath my radar. It is time, methinks, to bring it to the fore. It was initially awarded by the Australian Literary Society (ALS) – hence its name – but this society was incorporated, in 1982, into the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) and they now make the award. I suspect it does not receive the exposure that other awards do because there is no money attached, just – obviously – a gold medal, and oh, the glory, though perhaps there’s not much glory if no-one knows about it! There is a judging panel convened by an ASAL member from a state different to that of the previous year’s convenor and comprising other ASAL members.

The Gold Medal, just one of several awards they make, is awarded to “an outstanding literary work in the preceding calendar year”. They identify the award by the year for which the award is made and not in which it is announced and so last year’s winner, Christos Tsiolkas’ The slap, was announced in 2009, as the 2008 winner. This year’s award will be announced in July after ASAL’s annual conference, but the shortlist is out. It is:

While I haven’t read all of these, they are by respected writers who have won and/or been shortlisted for other significant Australian awards. It is therefore an award worth watching, if only because it represents another contribution to our assessment of Australian literature. I will keep you posted…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2010 16:57

    David Malouf is someone I have never read – and must correct this state of affairs before too long. Perhaps Ransom would be a good place to start.

    • June 22, 2010 18:41

      Yes, I think you should! Ransom is good. The one I often suggest as a great one to start with is Fly away Peter, set in WW1. But, really, most of his books are well worth reading. His first, Johnno, is semi-autobiographical, and a good read.

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