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Monday musings on Australian literature: Mid-year awards round-up

July 17, 2017

As is my wont, I have not been posting this year on all the awards that have been announced  – on their longlists, shortlists or even their winners – though I have done some. It can become a bit overwhelming. Instead, I’ve decided that a mid-year recap might be a useful way to go – so, since we have now passed the year’s halfway mark, that time has come. I’ll mention the awards I’ve chosen to do, in chronological order of their announcement.

Stella Prize

Heather Rose, The museum of modern loveThe Stella Prize is now one of the first awards to be announced in the year, and I did post on the longlist.  From this longlist, a shortlist of six books were chosen:

  • Between a wolf and a dog, by Georgia Blain
  • The hate race, by Maxine Beneba Clarke (my review)
  • Poum and Alexandre, by Catherine de Saint Phalle
  • An isolated incident, by Emily Maguire (my review)
  • The museum of modern love, by Heather Rose
  • Dying: A memoir, by Cory Taylor

And the winner, announced in early March, was Heather Rose’s The museum of modern love, which I will be reading with my reading group later this year.

Indie Book Awards

Helen Garner, Everywhere I lookThe winners of these awards, which are run by Australian independent booksellers, were announced in late March. Several awards are made, which you can check out on their site but those most relevant to my blog are:

  • FictionThe last painting of Sarah De Vos, by Dominic Smith
  • Non-fiction: Everywhere I look, by Helen Garner (my review)

The New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards

These awards are multipronged and far too complex for me to report on in detail here. You can see the full list of winners, which were announced in late May, on Wikipedia. However, those of most relevance to me were:

  • Christina Stead Prize for FictionThe museum of modern love, by Heather Rose
  • UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing: Letter to Pessoa, by Michelle Cahill

ABIA, or the Australian Book Industry Awards

These awards, announced in late May, only a few days after the NSW Premier’s awards, are also multipronged. You can read the full list on the ABIA website, so again I’ll just share the most-reelvant-to-me award here, the  Literary fiction of the year award, which went to The last painting of Sarah De Vos, by Dominic Smith.

I should add that the hugely popular bestselling Australian author Di Morrissey was inducted into the ABIA Hall of Fame, and also that, for the first time this year, an award was made for Audiobook of the year, which nicely recognises the popularity and value of this form of “reading”.

Oh, and interestingly, the overall winner, Jane Harper’s The dry, was also the overall winner at the Indie Book Awards earlier in the year. So, the overall winner and the literary winner of both these awards were the same. The shortlists at both are judged by independent panels.

Miles Franklin Shortlist

While the Miles Franklin Award won’t be announced until later this year, it’s such a significant award in Australia that I’m going to share the shortlist here which was announced in June. The shortlist is:

  • Emily McGuire’s An isolated incident (Picador) (my review)
  • Mark O’Flynn’s The last Days of Ava Langdon (UQP)
  • Ryan O’Neill’s Their brilliant careers (Black Inc Books)
  • Philip Salom’s Waiting (Puncher and Wattman)
  • Josephine Wilson’s Extinctions (UWAP)

Nice to see a gender mix, and good representation from smaller publishers, including two university presses!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2017 6:25 pm

    Amen to all this, it’s impossible to keep up!

  2. Karen Viggers permalink
    July 18, 2017 7:45 am

    You will really enjoy The Museum of Modern Love. I found it an amazing book that really moved me and was a fascinating insight into art, the muse and the way art speaks to people in different walks of life.

  3. July 18, 2017 8:34 am

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

  4. July 18, 2017 8:51 am

    How wonderful that Dominic Smith and Helen Garner won the Indie Book Awards. Both The Last Painting of Sara de Vos and Everywhere I Look were reviewed earlier this year in my blog, http://www.margaretannspence.com. I usually review books by lesser known women authors, but Smith’s book offers amazing insights into the minds of two female protagonists, centuries apart, and Garner is of course one of Australia’s literary treasures. Thanks for alerting us to these deserved accolades for these writers.

    • July 18, 2017 4:05 pm

      Thanks Margaret, I’ll check out your reviews when I get back home. Am on limited internet time while travelling!

  5. July 18, 2017 9:17 am

    Thanks for these lists, WG! I’ve lots to explore. Can’t believe half year’s gone. I’m curious to see what’s good in the latter half in books and films. But as we’re celebrating Jane Austen’s Bicentenary here in NA and I’m sure in your motherland and in the UK of course, allow me to wish you a fantastic JA celebration! 🙂

    • July 18, 2017 4:07 pm

      Thanks Arti. Back to you too. I am posting on the 200th anniversary of her death tomorrow, but unfortunately missed my group’s wake on the weekend as we are here in the USA.

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