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Western Australian Premier's Book Awards - 2010

30 September 2011 - Winners announced and Judge’s Report

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. 

Western Australian Premier's Book Awards - 2010 Winners

Premier's Prize

2011 Winner Kim Scott - That Deadman DanceKim 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.

Non Fiction

A-Three-Cornered-Life-HancockJim Davidson: A Three-Corned Life: The Historian WK Hancock
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.

WA History

Vite-ItalianeSusanna Iuliano: Vite Italiane: Italian Lives in Western Australia
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.

Scripts

Gwen-in-PurgatoryTommy Murphy: Gwen in Purgatory
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.

Young Adults

Happy-as-LarryScot Gardner: Happy as Larry
Published by Allen & 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-JonesJames Roy: Anonymity Jones
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

Children’s Books

TopplingSally Murphy and Rhian Nest James: Toppling
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.

Fiction

2011 Winner Kim Scott - That Deadman DanceKim 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.

Poetry 

Fire-DiaryMark Tredinick:  Fire Diary
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.

People's Choice Award

Utopian-ManLisa Lang: Utopian Man
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.

Digital Narrative Encouragement Award

Robin Craig Clark: The Garden
Published by Peliguin Publications