Australian Centre Literary Awards 2017 winners announced
The winners of the University of Melbourne’s Australian Centre Literary Awards were announced at the Melbourne Writers Festival on 26 August.
Wesley Michel Wright Prize
The Wesley Michel Wright Prize in Poetry was presented to Susan Fealy for her first full-length poetry collection Flute of Milk (UWA Publishing).
The judges described Fealy’s poems as ‘at once stylistically unified and formally differentiated’. ‘Whether redescribing a Vermeer painting in “Made in Delft” or compressing environmental ages into brief stanzas in “Lake Mungo”, Fealy handles her material with extraordinary sensitivity. Beautifully poised around moments of art and place, Fealy’s poems evince an exceptional command of lineation and cadence,’ said the judges.
Commendations were given to Judy Johnson for Dark Convicts, Bella Li for Argosy and Eddie Paterson for Redacted.
The prize, worth $4000, is presented to an author or composer of original verse or poetry.
Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize
Joel Deane was awarded the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize for his poetry collection Year of the Wasp (Hunter Publishers).
‘Deane’s poetry gives us striking and perceptive images of the world he moves through: actual local places like Melbourne’s Westgate bridge to distant locations he either visits or imagines and recreates,’ said the judges.
Commendations were given to Diane Fahey and Simon West.
The biennial award, worth $12,000, is offered alternately to enable an Australian poet to visit Ireland and an Irish poet to visit Melbourne. Deane will use the prize money to travel to Tipperary in Ireland to interview local people and ‘plant seeds for a new cycle of poetry’.
Peter Blazey Fellowship
The Peter Blazey Fellowship was awarded to Cassandra Pybus for work towards a biography of Indigenous Tasmanian woman Trugannini.
The judges said it was a ‘significant biography’ that will ‘reveal both the horrors of militant colonialism and the ability of Indigenous people to survive under great duress’.
A commendation was given to Quentin Sprague for The Stranger Artist, an ‘account of the developing creative relationship between the Gija artist Paddy Bedford and his non-Aboriginal arts advisor, Tony Oliver’.
The Peter Blazey Fellowship, worth $15,000, is awarded to further a work-in-progress in biography, autobiography or life-writing, and is named in memory of journalist, author and gay activist Peter Blazey.
Kate Challis RAKA Award
Jub Clerc was presented with the Kate Challis RAKA Award for her stage play The Fever and the Fret.
Commendations were given to Jacob Boehme for Blood on the Dance Floor and Nathan Maynard for The Season.
The award, worth $20,000, is offered annually to Indigenous artists and alternates each year between literary works, paintings, sculptures, craftwork, plays and musical compositions.
For more information about the awards and fellowships, visit the website here.