Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

Image. Advertisement:

‘1835’ wins Age Book of the Year

The winners of this year’s Age Book of the Year Awards were announced on 23 August at the opening of the Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) at Melbourne Town Hall.

1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia by James Boyce (Black Inc.) won the overall Age Book of the Year Award, worth $10,000. Boyce’s book also won the nonfiction prize, worth $2500.

Boyce accepted the awards from Age literary editor Jason Steger. Boyce thanked the Age for its support of the awards, and said he was pleased the newspaper had not ‘done a Campbell’ and scrapped the prizes, in reference to Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s decision to discontinue the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards earlier this year.

Boyce’s book is one of four titles shortlisted in the history book category of the Queensland Literary Awards—the volunteer-run awards which were established in April. 1835 is also in the running for the nonfiction prizes in this year’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and Western Australian Premier’s Literary Awards, and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History earlier this year.

Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears (A&U) won this year’s Age Book of the Year fiction prize and the poetry prize was awarded to Mal McKimmie for The Brokenness Sonnets I-III and Other Poems (Five Island Press). Both prizes are worth $2500.

A complete list of the titles shortlisted for this year’s awards is available here.

The presentation of the awards was followed by a keynote address by British actor, director and author of several biographies, Simon Callow. Callow spoke about ‘Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World’, which is also the title of his most recent book.

Callow began his address by recalling his first encounter with Dickens’ writing—being handed a copy of The Pickwick Papers by his grandmother as a child. He also spoke of the many times he has played Dickens’ characters on stage, as well as playing Dickens himself in an episode of the television series Dr Who. Callow argued that a passion for the theatrical was the driving force in Dickens’ life, and said Dickens’ willpower was both his greatest and least admirable quality.

Callow delivered his keynote address again in Ballarat in regional Victoria on Saturday 25 August. For more information about MWF events, visit the festival website here.



Category: Local news