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Colin Roderick Award longlist 2021

June 30, 2021

I wrote about this award in a Monday Musings back in 2012, but haven’t mentioned it much since. Roderick, as I explained in that post, is a somewhat controversial character in Australian literature. However, the award is worth $20,000 and encompasses a wide range of forms and genres, both fiction and nonfiction, so, I thought it might be interesting to revisit. Awards, like the Stella, which are brand like this, make interesting lists for readers.

But, just to recap … as I explained in my Monday Musings post, the award goes to “the best book published in Australia which deals with any aspect of Australian life”. A bit like the Miles Franklin – except that it can be “any” book.

It is administered by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies (FALS) at James Cook University.

The 15 longlisted titles for 2021 are:

  • Steven Conte’s The Tolstoy Estate (historical fiction, my review coming but here’s Lisa’s)
  • Stephanie Convery’s After the count: The death of Davey Browne (nonfiction)
  • Garry Disher’s Consolation (crime fiction, a sequel to Bitter Wash Road which I reviewed recently)
  • Anna Goldsworthy’s Melting moments (fiction, my review)
  • Jane Harper’s The survivors (crime fiction, Kim’s measured review)
  • Daniel Keighran & Tony Park’s Courage under fire (nonfiction/memoir)
  • Grantlee Kieza’s Banks (nonfiction/biography)
  • Sofie Laguna’s Infinite splendours (fiction, Theresa’s and Kate’s qualified reviews)
  • Tobias McCorkell’s Everything in its right place (fiction)
  • Louise Milligan’s Witness (nonfiction)
  • Kirli Saunders’ Bindi (children’s poetry)
  • Nardi Simpson’s Song of the crocodile (fiction, to be read in July)
  • Elizabeth Tan’s Smart ovens for lonely people (short stories, on my TBR, Bill’s review)
  • Jessie Tu’s A lonely girl is a dangerous thing (fiction, Kim’s and my inaugural blog mentee Angharad’s reviews)
  • Mark Wilson’s Eureka! A story of the goldfields (children’s picture book)
Book cover

This year’s extended longlist includes nine works of fiction, four of nonfiction (including a biography and a memoir), and two children’s books. One of these is Eureka!, which, says Books + Publishing, is the first children’s picture book to be longlisted for the award.

For more information, including an excellent description of each of the longlisted books, check out the Foundation’s website.

Do any of these books interest you?

20 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2021 11:43

    Thanks for the mention, Sue:)
    It is the pick of the bunch IMO, though apart from Song of the Crocodile which I began reading last night) that’s because none of the others appeal.
    Except, I should say, for the children’s books. I think it’s great that they are included!

    • June 30, 2021 12:04

      Thanks Lisa … it’s a good book I agree. I hope to write my review of it tomorrow.

      I started one of my ILW books last night too, but that one I’ll be doing later in the month with my group.

      There are others that interest me – Laguna, the Saunders children’s book, Tan, and Tu – but it’s a broad list. I agree that it’s great seeing children’s books there.

  2. June 30, 2021 13:06

    Thanks for the link Sue. It’s an interesting longlist. I really loved The Tolstoy Estate, so I guess I’ll quietly cheer that one on.

    • June 30, 2021 22:56

      A pleasure Theresa. I don’t know enough of the books on the list but I did really like The Tolstoy estate.

  3. June 30, 2021 13:37

    Thanks for the links, Sue. Those judges will have a hard time because comparing some of those books is like comparing oranges with lemons, I don’t envy them that task!

    • June 30, 2021 22:58

      A pleasure kimbofo. I guess it’s a bit like the challenge the Stella judges face, eh?

      • July 1, 2021 11:50

        Yes, that’s true. But this one seems even more eclectic, perhaps because it includes children’s books.

        • July 1, 2021 15:54

          I wondered if you would respond that! It does increase the diversity I agree.

  4. Meg permalink
    June 30, 2021 15:52

    Hi Sue, I have read a few, and I hope Elizabeth Tan’s Smart Ovens for Lonely People (short stories) win. Though I don’t think short stories often win prizes. I loved the stories and the writing.

    • June 30, 2021 22:59

      Oh, I like that you are plumping for that one Meg …I always like it when a collection of short stories wins an award like this because, as you say, they rarely do.

  5. June 30, 2021 19:41

    I wasn’t aware of the controversy around Roderick – your earlier post was enlightening – thanks.

    • June 30, 2021 20:20

      Bron, you could read my review of his biography of Miles Franklin (and Jess White says his biog, of Rosa Praed was similar). He really was a terrible misogynist.

    • June 30, 2021 22:59

      Oh thanks Brona, for checking that old post. It was enlightening to me too at the time.

  6. June 30, 2021 20:23

    I’m with Meg, well except for the fact that Tan is the only one I’ve read. I might try Jessie Tu next.

    • June 30, 2021 23:01

      I’ve only read 2, Bill, so am not much better. I would still like to read Tan, and I am definitely going to be reading Simpson later in July.

  7. buriedinprint permalink
    July 1, 2021 08:55

    You’ll probably have guessed that I only recognize one name here (and I daren’t mention it, in case Bill is on the comments feed…not that I’ve read her books…I wouldn’t dare LOL).

    • July 1, 2021 08:59

      Haha, Buried … I had to go back to the list to see what you meant because some names just didn’t stick with me! But as soon as I looked at it I knew exactly who you meant!

      Given you like short stories I would recommend the Tan – at least Bill would (haha), as I haven’t read her yet (but I do want to).

    • July 1, 2021 09:09

      He is. And as WG says, try Tan, especially her novel, Rubik. Read the other one too – I have no idea why she gets included in awards, her writing is only so-so and her knowledge of the state/country she has chosen to live in is abysmal. But lots of people enjoy her crime mysteries.

      • July 1, 2021 09:38

        I haven’t read her as you know Bill so I really can’t comment, but I am surprised to see her on a list like this. That may just be ignorance on my part, though, as it’s not fair of me to say this without reading her. At least you’ve read her!

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