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Western Australian Premier's Book Awards - 2011

17 September 2012 - Work of history takes top prize in WA Premier’s Book Awards

Premier Colin Barnett tonight announced Fiona Skyring’s Justice: A History of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia as winner of the 2011 Premier’s Prize worth $25,000.

  • A record number of 596 entries were received.
  • Twenty-two publishers were represented, including six from Western Australia. 
  • Fourteen Western Australian born authors were shortlisted across the categories.
  • The total prize money was $120,000.

Highly acclaimed Western Australian author Tim Winton was also inducted into the State Library of Western Australia’s Hall of Fame of notable and prolific WA writers.

Western Australian Premier's Book Awards - 2011 Winners

Premier's Prize

FSkyringJusticeJustice: A History of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia.
Fiona Skyring

UWA Publishing
In this history, Skyring provides one of the most comprehensive and challenging investigations of the political and legal vicissitudes indigenous Australians have confronted in Western Australia since European settlement. This elegantly written, painstakingly researched and profoundly relevant publication is a ‘must read’ for all Western Australians as, knowingly or not, all are inextricably involved in this story.

WA History

FSkyringJusticeFiona Skyring
Justice: A History of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia.
UWA Publishing

In this history, Skyring provides one of the most comprehensive and challenging investigations of the political and legal vicissitudes indigenous Australians have confronted in Western Australia since European settlement. This elegantly written, painstakingly researched and profoundly relevant publication is a ‘must read’ for all Western Australians as, knowingly or not, all are inextricably involved in this story.

Children’s Literature

-Michelle-Gillespie.Sam-Grace-and-the-ShipwreckMichelle Gillespie, illustrated by Sonia Martinez
Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck
Fremantle Press

Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck tells the story of Sam Isaacs and Grace Bussell, who rescued crew and passengers from the wreck of the Georgette at Calgardup Bay, WA, in 1876. The clear writing and the bold, striking illustrations combine to creating an exciting retelling of this true-life adventure.

Fiction

Anna-Funder-All-That-I-AmAnna Funder
All That I Am
Penguin

Funder combines meticulous historical research with a story of power, tension and discomfort. Weaving together the narratives of interrelated characters and told from the cohering vantage point of an old woman dying in Sydney, Funder tracks the changing world in Germany throughout the thirties, the impossible mires of deceit, betrayal, compromise and the difficulty of love in the face of such emerging violence. A powerful and important new voice in Australian fiction.

Scripts

TWintonCloudstreetTim Winton & Ellen Fontana
Cloudstreet - Three-part TV miniseries adaptation
Penguin

This powerful screenplay uses sustained screen structure and timing, living performance writing and consistently creative visual/aural realization in order to transform the prose narrative of a much loved Australian novel.  Standing as a significant achievement in its own right, the script has already resulted in a major and acclaimed television production.

Non-Fiction

Alice-Pung-Her-Fathers-daughterAlice Pung
Her Father’s Daughter
Black Inc.

Memorable and moving, Alice Pung’s memoir works on several levels. As she relates her struggle to establish her independent adult life in the face of her parents’, especially her father’s, wish to keep her safe at home, she gradually unravels the source of his fears for his childrens’ safety in his past. Shifting between Melbourne, China and Cambodia, this beautifully written narrative is significant both on a personal level and also for its story of refugee parents and first generation Australian children and the place of those stories in contemporary Australian culture.

Young Adult Fiction

Penni-Russon.Only-Ever-AlwaysPenni Russon
Only Ever Always
Allen and Unwin

Mysterious, complex and challenging, Only Ever Always is a beautifully written story of parallel lives where Claire in the now, and Clara in a dystopian, timeless world, each face similar difficulties. Is one the dreamer, the other the dream, and if so, which? Changing voices, points of view and place make this a very satisfying novel for a reader willing to give it the close attention it deserves.

Poetry

Tracy-Ryan-The-ArgumentTracy Ryan
The Argument
Fremantle Press

Ryan’s collection of poems demonstrates a poet at the height of her powers. Eloquent and insightful, this argument achieves poetry’s great task and wrests the beauty and the vulnerability of life’s experience from the inevitability of death, the eventual onset of silence.

Digital Narrative

MaxBarry-machine-manMax Barry
Machine Man
Scribe

Max Barry’s Machine Man is the best of both worlds both in terms of creation and the story itself. Originally released online, a page at a time, Barry’s ideas were scrutinised and celebrated by daily readers whose input helped shape the resulting novel. The story itself is a wonderfully dark look at cybernetics, prosthetics and commodification, begging some difficult questions about the line between people and machines. Enjoyed either episodically, or in one sitting in the final novel format, this is a witty, riveting and sometimes chilling tale. The fact that the initial day-at-a-time version remains available online for new readers, and can still be enjoyed as daily emails, leaves Machine Man as a tale dancing between the traditional paperback form and the emerging realm of networked digital storytelling.

People's Choice Award

Anna-Funder-All-That-I-AmAnna Funder
All That I Am
Penguin

Funder combines meticulous historical research with a story of power, tension and discomfort. Weaving together the narratives of interrelated characters and told from the cohering vantage point of an old woman dying in Sydney, Funder tracks the changing world in Germany throughout the thirties, the impossible mires of deceit, betrayal, compromise and the difficulty of love in the face of such emerging violence. A powerful and important new voice in Australian fiction.

For further information about the 2011 Awards check the: