WA Premier’s Book Awards Winners 2016

Western Australian Premier's Book Awards

The Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards winners were announced Tuesday October 4 2016.

The 2016 Awards are the first WA Premier’s Book Awards in its new biennial format after a year’s break because of State Budget cuts and had 792 entries, up by 61 per cent from the 492 entries in 2014.

The upswing in entries reflects the backlog since Richard Flanagan won the $25,000 Premier’s Prize with his celebrated novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North in 2014.

This year’s $15,000 Fiction Award was won by WA author Joan London for her novel The Golden Age, set largely in a children’s polio convalescent home in 1950s Leederville.

Full List of Winners:

Fiction

London, Joan The Golden Age

The Golden Age by Joan London

(Published by Vintage, 2014)

London tells the story of Frank Gold who is alone on two counts, first his polio, which sets him apart from ‘normal’ children and second his status as a ‘reffo’ from wartime Hungary. Already celebrated as the winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award (2015), The Golden Age is a beautifully written novel which takes up a little examined aspect of Australian life, during a polio epidemic.

Non-fiction

Garner, Helen This House of Grief

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

(Published by Text Publishing, 2014)

Garner, by exposing her own emotions and reactions to the evidence presented during the court cases against Robert Farquharson, challenges the reader to do the same. Masterfully written, this is a deeply mesmerising and honest book.

Children’s Books

Millard, Glenda The Duck and the Darklings

The Duck and the Darklings by Glenda Millard, illustrated by Stephen Michael King

(Published by Allen & Unwin, 2014)

Millard’s poetic, alliterative text instantly engages, intrigues and captivates. The whimsical illustrations extend and perfectly reflect the warm poignancy of the story. An outstanding and enriching book.

Poetry

Dougan, Lucy The Guardians

The Guardians by Lucy Dougan

(Published by Giramondo Poets, 2015)

Seemingly simple, actually very dense poetry, Dougan’s elliptical work hints at a life that hovers just beyond our comprehension; in dreams, tales, the past, in the imagination of the poet. This other world surrounds even the most domestic of the poems. Often funny as well as serious, the work is mysterious and haunting.

State Library of WA Western Australian History

Morgan, Ruth A. Running Out? Water in Western Australia

Running Out? Water in WA by Ruth A. Morgan

(Published by UWA Publishing, 2015)

Morgan’s subject is topical and most relevant to Western Australian readers, but it also has a wider appeal. It presents impeccable research and referencing, while Morgan’s wit and humour is engaging. This is a pioneering study of value to other scholars, and the seriously interested reader.

Young Adult

Zorn, Claire The Protected

The Protected by Claire Zorn

(Published by University of Queensland Press, 2014)

A powerful yet sensitively written book, this story follows protagonist, Hannah, through a difficult period of her life. Examining themes of loss, grief and bullying, Zorn manages not to overwhelm the reader with ‘issues’, but rather carefully unpacks Hannah’s journey in a realistic, heart-breaking but ultimately hopeful story. With immaculately paced tension and potent emotional punch, leavened with genuine humour and warmth, The Protected is a superb example of a contemporary young adult novel.

Western Australian Emerging Writers Award

Davis, Brooke Lost and Found

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis

(Published by Hachette Australia, 2014)

This is a charming story of three quirky characters on a journey of search and discovery who, on a road trip across Australia, find much more. Davis explores love, death, and friendship through the whimsy and wisdom of her child protagonist. Her unique voice delivers a compassionate story.

Scripts

Dust by Suzie Miller

Dust by Suzie Miller

(Commissioned by Black Swan Theatre Company WA for 2014 Mainstage season)

Intriguing stage drama pushing Australian naturalism into an effective surreal realm employing the potent core metaphor  of red dust. Ostensibly that element evokes a dystopian, end-time sci-fi trope but the greater appeal of this strategy is that the playwright – who has an admirable grasp of this performance material and a most effective application of stage design possibilities and mechanics – delivers the audience to wider concerns in our antipodean culture through the shifting structure of the character elements. Risk taking evident in this well-crafted and challenging creation.

Digital Narrative

Timelord Dreaming by David P. Reiter

Timelord Dreaming by David P. Reiter

(Published by IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd), 2014)

This intriguing electronic book is written in short sections the author describes as ‘tweetems’, which give a sense of the sometimes confusing world experienced by a patient in hospital. Acting as memory snippets, the fragments build a story; each short narrative segment being enhanced by links to web-based content that enlarges on the ‘tweetem’ text. The reader is taken on a surreal journey, and can choose when to follow links for more information and when to move on to the next piece of the narrative.

People’s Choice Award sponsored and presented by The West Australian

Allinson, Miles Fever of Animals

Fever of Animals by Miles Allinson

(Published by Scribe Publications, 2015)

From the beginning of this atmospheric and painterly journey, Allinson carries readers with him as he explores themes of surrealism, doomed love and growing up. In a highly original faux autobiographical narrative, Allinson is not afraid to leave questions open. The novel is both aesthetically appealing and moving.

Premier’s Prize

Garner, Helen This House of Grief

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

(Published by Text Publishing, 2014)

Garner, by exposing her own emotions and reactions to the evidence presented during the court cases against Robert Farquharson, challenges the reader to do the same. Masterfully written, this is a deeply mesmerising and honest book.

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