What do a monster, a witch, an assassin, and an owl have in common?
They are all nominated for the 2023 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards. This year an eclectic mix of gothic literature, personal stories and eloquent poetry represents the best in WA writing.
The Minister for Culture and the Arts, David Templeman, announced the 2023 WA Premier’s Book Awards shortlist. For the first time, a self-published book, Acacia House, has made the shortlist shining a light on three palliative care nurses who learn that humour and kindness are universal. The Emerging Writer shortlist is filled with stories about people who fight for love, life, and dignity. The Children’s Book of the Year category is a menagerie of captivating animal tales. The brand-new category Premier’s Prize for Book of the Year, sponsored by Writing WA, is a powerful mix of genres.
Without further ado... drum roll please!
The Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer ($15,000)
- Acacia House by Vivien Stuart (self-published)
- Banjawarn by Josh Kemp (UWA Publishing)
- Bone Picker by Thomas Simpson (Ginninderra Press)
- T by Alan Fyfe (Transit Lounge)
- The Assassin Thief by Madeline Te Whiu (New Dawn Publishing)
The Premier’s Prize for Children’s Book of the Year ($15,000)
- Lion is that You by Moira Court (Fremantle Press)
- Nenek Tata and the Mangrove Menace by Judith Vun Price and Jacqui Vun (Crotchet Quaver)
- Owl and Star by Helen Milroy (Fremantle Press)
- The Raven’s Song by Zana Fraillon and Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)
- Wild Australian Life written by Leonard Cronin and illustrated by Chris Nixon (Allen & Unwin)
The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and YA Fiction ($15,000 and a publishing contract with Magabala Books)
- Getting Dusty by Jared Thomas
- The Ultimate AGD by Kim Morrison
- A Queen’s Glory by Kristie Harris
The Premier’s Prize for Book of the Year, sponsored by Writing WA ($15,000)
- Clean by Scott-Patrick Mitchell (Upswell Publishing)
- Nimblefoot by Robert Drewe (Penguin Random House)
- The Red Witch: A Biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard by Nathan Hobby (Melbourne University Publishing)
- The Shield and the Spear: The Kimberley Land Council by Joe Fox (Magabala Books)
- Thistledown Seed: A Memoir by Louise Helfgott (Brandl & Schlesinger)
The Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship ($60,000)
- Carolyn Wadley Dowley
- Madison Godfrey
- Michael Trant
- Norman Jorgensen
- Tracy Ryan
The awards support, develop and recognise excellence in writing. The $60,000 Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship is one of the most valuable awards in Australian arts. The brand-new category Premier’s Prize for Book of the Year, sponsored by Writing WA, was open to any style or genre of book. The awards are open to primarily Western Australian authors except for the Daisy Utemorrah Award, open Australia wide.
The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and Young Adult Fiction is open to Indigenous writers across Australia. Broome-based Indigenous publisher Magabala Books administer this award with support from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
The winners will be revealed at an award ceremony at the State Library of Western Australia in June 2023. The awards will be Auslan interpreted and live streamed on the State Library of WA YouTube channel.