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‘Taboo’ and ‘The Book of Dirt’ dominate NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

Two works of fiction that draw on and draw attention to horrifying historical events events have dominated Australia’s New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, announced on 30 April. Book of the year Taboo by award-winning author Kim Scott (Picador) tells the story of a group of Noongar people from Western Australia who revisit, for the first time in many decades, the site of a massacre. Taboo was awarded the $30,000 Indigenous Writers’ Prize as well as the $10,000 Book of the Year award. Bram Presser’s The Book of Dirt (Text Publishing) is part fiction, part family history, and tells the story of Presser’s grandparents Jakub Rand and Dasa Roubickova, who lived in Prague during Nazi occupation. The book won the $40,000 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the $5000 Glenda Adams Award for New Writing and the People’s Choice Award.

The full list of adult fiction and nonfiction winners is:

Book of the Year ($10,000)

  • Taboo (Kim Scott, Picador)

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction ($40,000)

  • The Book of Dirt (Bram Presser, Text)

Douglas Stewart Prize for Nonfiction ($40,000)

Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry ($30,000)

  • Argosy (Bella Li, Vagabond Press)

Indigenous Writers’ Prize ($30,000, offered biennially)

  • Taboo (Kim Scott, Picador)

Multicultural NSW Award ($20,000)

UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing ($5000)

  • The Book of Dirt (Bram Presser, Text)

People’s Choice Award

  • The Book of Dirt (Bram Presser, Text)

In other awards news Mile Franklin winner Alexis Wright has won the 2018 Stella Prize, worth $50,000, for her ‘collective memoir’ Tracker (Giramondo), a biography of Aboriginal leader, thinker and entrepreneur Tracker Tilmouth that incorporates interviews with family, friends, foes and Tilmouth himself. Judging panel chair Fiona Stager called it an ‘extraordinary, majestic book’. ‘It is one man’s story told by many voices, almost operatic in scale. With a tight narrative structure, compelling real-life characters, the book sings with insight and Tracker’s characteristic humour. Wright has crafted an epic that is a truly rewarding read.’ The Stella Prize is presented for the best work of fiction or nonfiction by an Australian woman published in the previous calendar year and was inspired by the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The Australian Book Industry Awards were also announced recently with Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend (Lothian) taking out book of the year. See the full list of publisher and book winners here. 


Category: Think Australian newsletter Think Australian newsletter Award-winners