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16 September 2013 -  Extraordinary novel takes top prize in WA Premier’s Book Awards

The Honourable Minister John Day tonight announced Michelle de Krester’s Questions of Travel as winner of the 2012 Premier’s Prize worth $25,000.

  • 507 entries were received.
  • The total prize money was $120,000.

Western Australian Premier's Book Awards - 2012 Winners

Premier's Prize

Michelle-De-Kretser_Questions-of-Travel_Low-ResMichelle de Kretser
Questions of Travel
Allen & Unwin

Yet again, Michelle de Kretser delivers an extraordinary novel, possibly her best yet.  Topical in its subject matter of asylum and belonging, deft and delicate in its portrayal of tragedy, Questions of Travel has already garnered significant acclaim nationally and internationally, and deservedly so.

People's Choice Award

Deborah-Forster_The-Meaning-of-Grace_Low-ResDeborah Forster
The Meaning Of Grace
Random House Australia

A simple premise is handled with assurance by Deborah Forster in The Meaning of Grace, only her second novel.  A mother's cancer diagnosis brings together her three adult children and Forster scrapes back their relationships to the bone with both compassion and generosity but certainly no sugar-coating. The ease of the story-telling belies the skill behind the writing.

Non-fiction

Non-fiction_ExileRoger Averill
Exile: The Lives and Hopes of Werner Pelz
Transit Lounge

Written with great tenderness, this joint portrait of biographer and subject explores their relationship. Slowly building in complexity and power, Averill’s is a compelling journey of discovery into Werner Pelz’s life and the existential questions that provide it, and his own, with meaning.

Young Adult

Young-Adult_Sea-HeartsMargo Lanagan
Sea Hearts
Allen & Unwin

In an abuse of her special inherited powers, the ‘witch’ Misskaella sings forth beautiful, compliant brides from the bodies of seals for the shallow men of Rollrock Island. Recreating the legend of the selkies, Margo Lanagan in Sea Hearts weaves a tale of cruelty, revenge, greed, human frailty, filial love and redemption. Six distinct voices, spanning three generations, narrate the context and describe the consequences to nature and community life on the island. The orchestrated plot surges to a dramatic, shocking climax, before a dawn-like denouement which is just as powerful in its tranquillity and hope. Lanagan presents a fantasy that enthrals, in a language that sings and delights.

Poetry

Poetry_CumulusRobert Gray
Cumulus
John Leonard Press

Robert Gray is a long established and significant voice in Australian poetry. This collection includes work from his eight previous books – often significantly revised – as well as a new section of poems. This extensive range displays a virtuosic grasp on poetic form, revealing a lightness of touch, a luminosity of perception as well as an eye for experimentation and the intellectual. Cumulus is a compelling journey through the career of one of Australia’s leading poets.

Scripts

Scripts_The-Fremantle-CandidateIngle Knight
The Fremantle Candidate
Prickly Pear Playscripts

In this engaging play, Knight  creates a putative friendship between Western  Australia’s Mark Twain-like popular essayist (though also patrician academic), Walter Murdoch, and the Labor Party’s flawed, but soon-to-be severely tested, war-time Prime Minister, John Curtin. Their encounter is situated at a pivotal and dramatic moment of personal and political crisis.   The deceptive ease of this theatrical construction reveals a playwright at the peak of his craft.

WA History

Kurlumarniny:  We come from the Desert
Aboriginal Studies Press

This is a story about an ordinary man involved in great movements close to his people. This is his autobiography, a tale of everyday life and significant moments over sixty years in Western Australia’s Pilbara. It is also a story told in two languages, his own Nyangumarta and English, for he is a passionate advocate for indigenous languages.  His story, then, combines an absorbing narrative with a powerful political message about Aboriginal history and Aboriginal language. 

Children’s Literature

Childrens-Lit_Pookie-Aleera-is-Not-My-BoyfriendStephen Herrick
Pookie Aleera Is Not My Boyfriend
University of Queensland Press

Set in a remote outback town, this gentle and humorous verse novel is mainly narrated by the schoolchildren of class 6B.  With a deft and compassionate touch the author allows each character to emerge as a vividly drawn individual. Themes of kindness and warmth, grief and loss interweave this beautifully written story.

Childrens-Lit_Australian-Backyard-NaturalistPeter Macinnis
Australian Backyard Naturalist
National Library of Australia

This superb, comprehensive and engaging non-fiction book explores a myriad of facts about backyard creatures both obvious and obscure.  Accessible and child-friendly, with plentiful photographs and diagrams, and enriched with an extensive index, references and ideas for personal projects, this scientifically based natural history book will keep its readers both entranced and informed.

Digital Narrative

My Planets Reunion MemoirDavid P Reiter
My Planets Reunion Memoir http://ipoz.biz/myplanets

David P Reiter's provocative fictional multimedia memoir combines a textual narrative with a rich tapestry of audio, video and animation to explore the meaning of family, connectivity and identity. The planets provide both a narrative structure and a shifting series of perspectives asking not just how we understand who we are, but how that story shifts with different sets of eyes. This is a profound digital narrative which both makes the most of the various possibilities of the digital realm whilst weaving a provocative, engaging and all too human tale.

Fiction

Michelle-De-Kretser_Questions-of-Travel_Low-ResMichelle de Kretser
Questions of Travel
Allen & Unwin

Yet again, Michelle de Kretser delivers an extraordinary novel, possibly her best yet.  Topical in its subject matter of asylum and belonging, deft and delicate in its portrayal of tragedy, Questions of Travel has already garnered significant acclaim nationally and internationally, and deservedly so.


For further information about the 2012 Awards check the: