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ALS Gold Medal, 2009 (announced 2010)

July 28, 2010

Since many book bloggers are posting the Booker longlist, I don’t think I need to do so here. I don’t expect to read many of them, not so much due to a lack of interest as to the fact that I’ve a pretty full reading schedule in front of me without adding these to it! I have read and reviewed Christos Tsiolkas’s The slap, and expect to read in the next few months Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America and David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. There are a couple of others I would like to read, but time will probably defeat me.

David Malouf Ransom

UK edition cover (Used by permission of the Random House Group)

However, I will instead announce – because it gets such little publicity – that David Malouf has won this year’s ALS Gold Medal for Literature with his novel, Ransom. As I wrote in my earlier post on this award, it does not come with a monetary prize and so tends to be overlooked by the media. Nonetheless it is an award well worthwhile watching (how’s that for some alliteration!) because its winners do tend to be among our more notable authors and books.

The other awards made by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature for the year are:

Congratulations to David Malouf – and the rest of the awardees. What a shame there hasn’t been a little more fanfare…

18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 1:20 am

    I loved Malouf’s earlier works. I received a review copy of Ransom and could not finish it.

    I really tried, but his retelling of the Helen of Troy story didn’t interest me.

    But, I am glad that his work is still being read.

  2. July 29, 2010 1:34 am

    How exciting for Malouf even if the prize doesn’t have money that goes with it. I really must get to Ransom sometime. I remember your review of it and I have heard good things about it elsehwere as well. but as you say, time inevitably defeats me. I’ve not read any of the Booker books though there are a couple I’d like too and will, no doubt, not get to them for a long time.

  3. July 29, 2010 2:23 am

    It’s funny isn’t it, the way there’s even a hierarchy in the world of prizes.

  4. bmpermie permalink
    July 29, 2010 8:02 am

    Thanks for bringing this award to my attention.

  5. adevotedreader permalink
    July 29, 2010 9:25 am

    Thanks for posting this Sue, I’m delighted to see Malouf and Jill Roe recognised even if the ALS awars don’t have quite the profile of the Booker!

  6. July 29, 2010 10:07 am

    Isabel: I can see where you are coming from. I didn’t find it hard to read because I love his writing – it is so graceful and gracious – but I can see why you wonder why he wanted to tell the story again. He doesn’t really tell the Helen story so much as one little aspect of it when Priam asks Achilles for the body of his son. I think Malouf wanted to “humanise” the story – I think I wanted him to humanise it more! But I loved reading it nonetheless.

    Stefanie: Yes, I expect I am more likely to read some of them later (as I did with Wolf Hall, The little stranger and others last year) than in time for the shortlist and final award announcement.

    Guy: It sure is … and it seems partly to do with money. I have to assume that the ASAL produced a media release for it but a Google search doesn’t bring it to the fore at all. I kept going back to the site every few days to look for the announcement after it was due, but then let it go for a week or so and voilà, there it was.

    bmpermie: Glad to be of assistance!

    A devoted reader: A pleasure – btw are you going slow on your blog at present?

  7. July 29, 2010 3:10 pm

    I am so glad he won this: I think Ransom is the most beautiful book I’ve read all year!
    PS I’ve done a post about this too, to add a little ‘fanfare’ LOL.

    • July 29, 2010 3:23 pm

      Yes, I saw that and have commented – and thanks for the link back. I’ve come across mentions of this award at various times over the years – most recently with Bergner who won it for Between sky and sea. The winners represent a real roll call of our significant writers I think.

      Despite my reservations which I shall cling to, I do think Ransom is a beautiful book and that he is a rather beautiful man (though a very dignified and intellectual one that would scare me if I met him!).

  8. July 29, 2010 3:39 pm

    How did you hear about it, Sue? I find it really frustrating that these awards are so difficult to track down online!

    • July 29, 2010 9:47 pm

      I think I first came across it when I was doing all that work on Australian literature in Wikipedia when I first retired in 2007 – and then when I read Hans Bergner’s Between sky and sea a month or so ago I noticed in the introduction that it had won the award and so decided to go looking again. Their website, as you’ve probably seen by now, is not very “out there” but it does have the basic information. They don’t seem to do a lot to get out there and promote do they?

  9. July 29, 2010 5:18 pm

    I don’t really follow prizes even the Booker (although perhaps the Booker is of passing interest). A prize without a prize (money!) sounds a reasonable idea – I would have thought the money prizes would only be relevant to new or struggling authors anyway not the big hitters like the Booker nominees.

    • July 29, 2010 10:12 pm

      Oh, I think the money is useful to most of them – even the big winners I think can probably do with a boost. I don’t really know a lot about the economics of an author’s life – but I thought it was really only the Dan Browns and JK Rowlings who make big money. I wonder how much a Sarah Waters, for example, makes? I did a bit of a search and the Queensland Writers Centre said last year that the median income of an Australian author is $11,700 pa. (In 2001/02, according to the Australia Council it was $4.800). A pretty vague figure I know as I’m not sure how far they spread their “author” definition. Nonetheless I suspect it means that the likes of David Malouf wouldn’t be up in the ether in terms of income?

      I probably watch prizes a bit more than you do but I don’t make it a practice to read long/short lists and make predictions, ahead of my own reading schedule. But, I do like to see who’s listed, who wins. And while I may be surprised sometimes, I don’t worry too much about whether I agree or not because it’s all so subjective isn’t it?

  10. July 29, 2010 10:11 pm

    The lack of online publicity is just like the Miles Franklin and everything else – do they twitter? Do they announce on FB? Have they heard of social media on the web? Even when I know the date and time of an impending award, no one thinks to announce it on the web as soon as the award is public. Most of them don’t even run RSS or offer an email subscription option to notify us when there’s news. Fuddy duddies!
    Lisa

    • July 29, 2010 11:52 pm

      Yes, you are so right. The Miles Franklin has some Miles Franklin Trust site doesn’t it, but no real site with their history etc (at least not last time I looked). I read that the ALS was going to be announced at the annual conference on 12 July but it took forever for them to put it on their site. Frustrating really as they miss out on useful promotion.

  11. July 30, 2010 6:39 pm

    It’s pathetic…what century do they think it is?

Trackbacks

  1. David Malouf wins the ALS Gold Medal « ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
  2. My Favorite Lit-Blog Things: July 29, 2010 « Hungry Like the Woolf

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