2010

30 September 2011 - Winners Announced

The Hon John Day, Minister for Culture and the Arts announced the winners of the 2010 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards at the State Library this evening.

The Minister presented the $25,000 Premier’s Prize to Kim Scott for his fiction novel, That Deadman Dance published by Picador Australia.  Kim Scott was present to accept the Award and to read an excerpt from his winning novel.

Mr Day said, “The Premier’s Book Awards have a long and proud history and they are evolving with a record number of entries received and two additional award categories established.”

The Minister congratulated the winners and acknowledged each shortlisted author for their contributions to the richness and diversity of our literary culture.

“The Premier’s Book Awards are a celebration of the industry’s creativity, hard work and talent,” Mr Day said.

The Judging Panel was chaired by Dr Rose Lucas with panel members Frank Palmos, Beverley Jacobson, Dr Lucy Dougan, Prof John Tonkin, Tehani Wessely, Miffy Farquharson, Judi Jagger, Prof Jan Carter, Assoc Prof Robyn McCarron, Delys Bird, Dr Jean Chetkovich and Polly Low.

 

Show Winners / Short List

Premier's Prize

Kim Scott - That Deadman Dance
Kim Scott - That Deadman Dance

Published by Picador Australia

Kim Scott has produced a powerful and poetic novel which reveals the layers of complexity surrounding first contact between indigenous and settler cultures and how these are mediated through language. Set on the south coast of Western Australia and drawing on historical and contemporary Noongar language and culture, this novel reaches out to all readers by providing multiple points of view, and offering contemporary Australia an important new perspective on its complicated colonial past.

Fiction

Kim Scott - That Deadman Dance
Kim Scott - That Deadman Dance

Published by Picador Australia

Kim Scott has produced a powerful and poetic novel which reveals the layers of complexity surrounding first contact between indigenous and settler cultures and how these are mediated through language. Set on the south coast of Western Australia and drawing on historical and contemporary Noongar language and culture, this novel reaches out to all readers by providing multiple points of view, and offering contemporary Australia an important new perspective on its complicated colonial past.

Body in the Clouds by Ashley Hay
Body in the Clouds by Ashley Hay​

Published by Allen & Unwin

This innovative novel tells interconnected layers of story across different characters and periods in Australian history. Arcing over these sometimes disparate narratives, is the image of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – in its conception, construction and its symbolic capacity to lift the gaze and the imaginations of the people around it, up into the clouds.

The English Class by Ouyang Yu​
The English Class by Ouyang Yu​

Published by Transit Lounge Publishing

This moving novel by Ouyang Yu explores the impact of learning English on the protagonist, Jing, at the end of the Cultural Revolution in China – an impact which brings him finally to Australia. The text plays with language in complex and intriguing ways, mirroring the central character’s movement between languages, place and cultures.

Indelible Ink by Fiona McGregor
Indelible Ink by Fiona McGregor

Published by Scribe Publications

McGregor’s novel, set in Sydney’s northern beaches as well as on its seamier streets, provides an insightful and sometimes painful study of an older woman’s experience at a traumatic and yet also surprisingly cathartic point in her life. The prose is gritty and sharp, the story gripping and tender in its depictions of extraordinary experiences within the ordinary flows of family and the domestic

Traitor by Stephen Daisley 
Traitor by Stephen Daisley 

Published by Text Publishing Company​

A haunting and original meditation on the complexity of loyalty and attachments as seen in the fearsome crucible of war and its long, painful aftermaths. This book represents a startling and important new voice in Australian literature.

Utopian Man by Lisa Lang
Utopian Man by Lisa Lang

Published by Allen & Unwin

Lang’s central character, E. W. Cole was the visionary owner of a fabulous book arcade in Melbourne in the 1880s. Lisa Lang's novel explores Edward Cole's complex character and the richness of his life and historical moment in Marvellous Melbourne in this insightful and captivating novel.

Non-Fiction

A Three-Corned Life: The Historian WK Hancock by Jim Davidson
A Three-Corned Life: The Historian WK Hancock by Jim Davidson

Published by UNSW Press

An absorbing and important account of our most successful and internationally acclaimed Empire-era historian WK Hancock (1898-1988), against a backdrop of Australia – UK, Commonwealth and European relations. A magisterial work of history, meticulously documented, evidencing judicious judgements. Hancock comes to life in a comprehensive way with the personal life alternating with the academic life.

Breaking News: The Golden Age of Graham Perkin by Ben Hills
Breaking News: The Golden Age of Graham Perkin by Ben Hills

Published by Scribe Publications

An impressive organisational history of the ‘golden’ period in an Australian newspaper – The Age –  its ‘golden’ editor, Graham Perkin, as well as offering an excellent account of the broader industry and the socio-political context.

Into The Woods: The Battle For Tasmania's Forests by Anna Krien
Into The Woods: The Battle For Tasmania's Forests by Anna Krien

Published by Black Inc.

Passionate, investigative journalism using meticulous data in a quest to locate the truth between wood-chipping capitalist conspiracies and tree-hugging ‘ferals. ’An absorbing account of the market and political forces behind the elimination of Tasmania’s (and by extension, Australia’s) forests.

Macquarie by Harry Dillon and Peter Butler
Macquarie by Harry Dillon and Peter Butler

Published by Random House Australia​

A lucid and absorbing biography of the ‘Father of Australia,’ tracing his provenance, personality, politics, and especially his championing of the rights and future of ex-convicts. This important study describes Macquarie’s undoing by local gentry and colonial office, as well as his legacy – our sense of the ‘fair go.’

The Quest For Justice by Ken Crispin
The Quest For Justice by Ken Crispin

Published by Scribe Publications

A fine series of enlightening essays by a recently retired Supreme Court Judge and Law Reform Commissioner who shares his instructive views on the justice system, drugs, sentencing and the War on Terror. A highly accessible account for the general reader.

Children's Literature

Toppling by Sally Murphy and Rhian Nest James
Toppling by Sally Murphy and Rhian Nest James

Published by Walker Books Australia

This is a simply powerful book. Written in blank verse, it tells the story of John, a boy who loves dominoes and spends hours of his time setting up patterns and lines. His greatest joy is to set up the line and then – by pushing one – watching the whole line topple.  He is a contented youngster with a good group of friends. Until the time that John's friend Dom falls sick and is diagnosed with cancer - then John and his friends' worlds fall apart. It is not just the dominoes that topple. In moving ways, Toppling shows how a group of friends must battle to come to terms with their friend’s illness. They have to think seriously about what is truly important for them and even find support and understanding from an unlikely source within their class, the school bully.

Henry Hoey Hobson by Christine Bongers
Henry Hoey Hobson by Christine Bongers

Published by Random House

Henry Hoey Hobson feels out of step with the world. A new boy (yet again) he discovers that he is the only boy in grade 7, in a Catholic school. Fatherless, friendless and non-Catholic, he even earns a reputation as a vampire on his first day, when ill-fitting braces make his mouth bleed. Making matters worse are his only friends, a mob of weirdos from next door. This very funny,  bittersweet novel about fitting-in brings alive the complex years at the end of Primary school.

Mirror by Jeannie Baker
Mirror by Jeannie Baker

Published by Walker Books

Written without words, except for an introduction in Arabic and English, this beautiful book is illustrated with the use of collage and offers children – and adults – wonderful visual insights into cultural diversity and shared humanity. It is unique in its format as it has been created to be read simultaneously – one from the left in the European way, the other from the right – in the Semitic tradition. One side depicts an Arab family, and the other is an Australian family. As the reader turns the pages simultaneously we see a day in the life of two very different families, one from Sydney and the other from a small, desert-bound Moroccan town. The lives of these two families are, at first glance, very different.  However, the differences are superficial. We see that in the context of strikingly different lifestyles, different countries, landscapes, differences of clothing, the families are essentially the same – loving, caring and working together. 

The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody
The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody

Published by Penguin Group Australia

The first story in a trilogy – a mix of science fiction/fantasy but also a drama and a story of survival. Two brothers Zluty and Bily live happily in their little house in the desert. Every year Zluty journeys to the great forest while Bily stays to tend their desert home. And every year Zluty returns with exciting tales of his adventures. But when a devastating red wind sweeps across the land destroying everything in its path, all that the two brothers know is changed. Zluty, the brave brother no longer knows where to go and what to do.  His timid and shy brother becomes the strong one. In addition to the resilience of the characters, the book demonstrates a love and respect for the  natural world.

Sarindi's Dragon Kite Janine M. Fraser and Illusrated by Elise Hurst
Sarindi's Dragon Kite Janine M. Fraser and Illusrated by Elise Hurst

Published by HarperCollins Australia​

Sarindi is a little boy living in Indonesia.  He longs more than anything  for a colourful Dragon Kite for his birthday. However, later that same day, a disaster strikes. An earthquake flattens the town of Bantul, where Sarindi's cousins live, and Sarindi and his father must travel there immediately to help. The town is totally destroyed and Sarindi fears that all of his family are dead. Only after they find his young cousin  do they return home. Family love and respect for one another is the underlying theme of this gently written story perfect for lower-middle primary readers.

The Three Loves of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds
The Three Loves of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds

Published by Penguin Group Australia

Whimsical and quirky, this story of a young women named Persimmon is paralleled by the story of a mouse, also looking for adventure and belonging.  Persimmon lives a solitary life, pouring her passions into the florist shop she owns in the underground railway station. Her only companion is Rose, a talking cabbage. Persimmon longs for the love of her life, but makes unfortunate choices. Very much a love story, it is also a story of fulfilment where both girl and mouse find unexpected happiness in the most unlikely of places.

Poetry

Fire Diary by Mark Tredinick
Fire Diary by Mark Tredinick

Published by Puncher & Wattmann

This impressive book offers a range of poems which are both intellectually challenging and emotionally compelling. The open lyricism of Tredinick’s style weaves a satisfying and generous web between the self, the domestic world and political realities, bringing us a voice which is philosophical, quietly observant and yet bold. An important contribution to Australian poetry.

Burning Bright by Caroline Caddy​
Burning Bright by Caroline Caddy​

Published by Fremantle Press

Caddy’s thoughtful poems bring a heightened sense of space and place – from the expanses and small towns of West Australia to far-flung China. An engaging and insightful collection which offers moments of sustained incandescent writing.

Colombine, New & Selected Poems by Jennifer Harrison
Colombine, New & Selected Poems by Jennifer Harrison

Published by Black Pepper​

A major contribution to Australian poetry which demonstrates Harrison’s evolving career and mastery. Its depth of intellectual and emotional registers, in addition to its sustained craft, makes this poetry demanding yet also immensely rewarding and enjoyable

Phantom Limb by David Musgrave​
Phantom Limb by David Musgrave​

Published by John Leonard Press

In his impressive first collection, Musgrave demonstrates both a beautiful and complex use of language and a degree of intelligence and insight which engages the reader. This is a well-crafted collection, structured around a recurring preoccupation with water – the element itself and our human relationship with it.

Pirate Rain by Jennifer Maiden
Pirate Rain by Jennifer Maiden

Published by Giramondo Publishing

In humorous, sharp and clever poems, Maiden offers us imaginatively engaging and very readably commentaries on current ideas and events and, more generally, the contemporary western human condition.

Selected Poems of Dorothy Hewett  Edited by Kate Lilley
Selected Poems of Dorothy Hewett  Edited by Kate Lilley

Published by UWA Publishing

This is an important book, as it brings together an edited collection of one of the major Australian poets of the twentieth century for a new generation of readers. This selection, from Hewett’s daughter Lilley, gives us some of her best poems as well as offering a breadth of the poet’s abiding concerns: female sexuality, love, motherhood, politics and private life, and the vocation of the writer.

WA History 

Vite Italiane: Italian Lives in Western Australia by Susanna Iuliano​
Vite Italiane: Italian Lives in Western Australia by Susanna Iuliano​

Published by UWA Publishing

A very readable, comprehensive, lively yet scholarly history of Italians in Western Australia. Wide ranging in scope and true to its title, it captures the lives of Italians in Western Australia over the last 100 years.

The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840-1861 by Phyllis Barnes & Dr James Cameron 
The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840-1861 by Phyllis Barnes & Dr James Cameron 

Published by Hesperian Press

The painstaking task of careful editing and reproducing Marshall Clifton's voluminous journals combined with a scholarly and informative introduction has been a great gift to those interested in  Western Australia's colonial history.

The Forgotten Explorers: pioneer geologists of Western Australia, 1826-1926 by Dr J. J. E. Glover and Jenny Bevan​
The Forgotten Explorers: Pioneer Geologists of Western Australia, 1826-1926 by Dr J. J. E. Glover and Jenny Bevan​

Published by Hesperian Press

A well-written and well-illustrated book which pays fitting tribute to these often unknown heroes who helped to open up the state which has built its fortune on mineral riches..

From the Barracks to the Burrup: The National Trust in Western Australia by Prof Andrea Whitcomb & Dr Kate Gregory 
From the Barracks to the Burrup: The National Trust in Western Australia by Prof Andrea Whitcomb & Dr Kate Gregory 

Published by UNSW Press

This is a book for Western Australians today. Beautifully presented, the unfolding of the National Trust story is an unfolding of the changing attitudes of the people of the state to its history and heritage and the growing awareness that there is a precious heritage which deserve preservation.

Till the Stream Runs Dry: A History of Hydrography in West Australia by ​Bill Bunbury
Till the Stream Runs Dry: A History of Hydrography in West Australia by ​Bill Bunbury

Department of Water

This book, which shows a masterly use of oral history, captures the passion of the men (and later women) involved with the arcane sounding science of hydrography and makes the reader wonder why hydrography isn't the pre-eminent science studied, practised and funded in Western Australia.

Young Adults (Jointly Awarded)

Happy as Larry by Scot Gardner​
Happy as Larry by Scot Gardner​

Published by Allen and Unwin

This is an ambitious, original and compelling novel with complex, philosophical themes. Every character in the story comes alive on the page, and the conclusion, while ‘happy,’ is still complex and challenging, and in perfect accord with the rest of the book.

Anonymity Jones by James Roy
Anonymity Jones by James Roy

Published by Random House Australia​

An engaging book with wry narration and gripping dialogue. The main character is flawed but very likeable, and her growing realisation that she won’t be taken for a fool any longer gives her power and, to the reader, a very satisfactory resolution. Some important themes well disguised in a highly readable story.

The FitzOsbornes in Exile: The Montmaray Journals 2 by Michelle Cooper
The FitzOsbornes in Exile: The Montmaray Journals 2 by Michelle Cooper

Published by Random House​

Readers are immediately drawn into this complex world with the narrator Sophie’s engaging voice. This novel contains strong women, a gay brother – who, just is, without any fuss - and has historical elements woven seamlessly throughout the fictional aspects. The dialogue is appealing and although it is part of a series, it also works effectively as a self-contained book.

The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett
The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett

Published by Penguin Group Australia

A beautifully written allegorical tale. Using a magical realist style, this is an original and challenging meditation on war and the resilience of the imagination.

This Is Shyness​ by Leanne Hall
This Is Shyness​ by Leanne Hall

Published by Text Publishing Company

Haunting, original and memorable, the world of this novel is well-established – if magical –and the characters believable. The use of the present tense gives an urgency to the narration, which covers intense events of just a few hours.

Xn by Carol Jenkins
Wavelength by A.J. Betts

Published by Fremantle Press

Selfish and confused, Oliver grows on the reader as the book progresses and the narrative is peopled with other well-drawn characters, with a rare intergenerational mix. Containing both humour and important themes, this is one of those books that leaves you wanting more of the characters and more of the story.

Scripts

Gwen in Purgatory by Tommy Murphy 
Gwen in Purgatory by Tommy Murphy 

Published by Currency Press

Gwen’s new home, isolated in the desert of a new estate, is filled with incomprehensible modern devices. Here, a barrage of well-intentioned ‘organisation’ bears down upon her from family determined to look after the aging matriarch as well as claim her treasures. The simple mix of dialogue and action work a wonderful magic, pulling the reader (and ultimately, the audience) into a vortex that holds them long beyond the final fade of lights.

Do Not Go Gentle by Patricia Cornelius
Do Not Go Gentle by Patricia Cornelius

HLA Management

Using the metaphor of Scott’s Antarctic expedition, this play compassionately explores the challenges faced by six opinionated characters as they approach the end of their lives.

Life Without Me by Daniel Keene
Life Without Me by Daniel Keene

Currency Press

In what could be a Hotel California (without the music!) Keene brings us a drama that is not quite a Kafkaesque nightmare, but an existential work portraying a character unable to escape his established life’s patterns.

Love Me Tender by Tom Holloway
Love Me Tender by Tom Holloway

HLA Management

A play of intense suburban domesticity that explores the challenges of modern familial relationships, employing surprising leaps into metaphor and echoes of Greek tragedy. This is a fast-paced roller-coaster ride on dangerous ground.

Quack by Ian Wilding
Quack by Ian Wilding

Currency Press

An allegorical journey through societal attitudes in this frighteningly gory, zombie-filled satire. You’ll need to be prepared for a night of blood and mayhem in a provincial town described as ‘a cesspit of moral bankruptcy.’

Songs for Nobodies by Joanna Murray-Smith
Songs for Nobodies by Joanna Murray-Smith

Currency Press

A charming exploration of five unknown women, each with a tenuous connection to one or other of five famous singers of the twentieth century. This script offers delightful, well-scripted vignettes and an opportunity for a tour-de-force performance.

Digital Narrative Encouragement Award

The Garden by Robin Craig Clark

Published by Peliguin Publications

Only a small number of entries were received for the Digital Narrative category and there will not be a shortlist. An encouragement award will be announced at the Award presentation ceremony.

People's Choice Award
Utopian Man by Lisa Lang
Utopian Man by Lisa Lang

Published by Allen & Unwin

Lang’s central character, E. W. Cole was the visionary owner of a fabulous book arcade in Melbourne in the 1880s. Lisa Lang's novel explores Edward Cole's complex character and the richness of his life and historical moment in Marvellous Melbourne in this insightful and captivating novel.

Last updated on: 17 December 2019