WA Premier’s Book Awards winners announced
The winners of this year’s Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards have been announced.
The winning titles in each category are:
Premier’s Prize for an emerging writer ($15,000)
- The Sky Runs Right Through Us (Reneé Pettitt-Schipp, UWAP)
Premier’s Prize for writing for children ($15,000)
- The Hole Story (Kelly Canby, Fremantle Press)
The Daisy Utemorrah Award for unpublished Indigenous junior and YA writing ($15,000)
- ‘Mother Speaks’ by Kirli Saunders
Western Australian Writing Fellowship ($60,000)
- A J Betts.
Betts will use the fellowship to work on a YA novel that focuses on a teenage band trying to record a song to enter the triple j ‘Unearthed High’ competition. The novel will ‘explore the pressures that year 12 students experience when they don’t feel ready for post-school life, and address some of the issues that concern this age group, including friendship, honesty, courage and identity’.
Saunders’ rhythmic junior verse-novel manuscript, ‘Mother Speaks’, won the inaugural Daisy Utemorrah Award, and was described by the judges as ‘a lovely, lyrical exploration of the wisdom of the earth’. The judges added: ‘The gentle rhythm of the verse speaks to the patterns and cycles of the nature, and every line holds deep meaning that can be revisited many times over—this a story that will delight adults and children alike.’ Magabala Books will publish Saunders’ winning manuscript in 2021.
Chosen from shortlists announced in June, the winners were announced on 26 July at an event at the State Library of Western Australia as part of the Disrupted Festival of Ideas.
The WA state government revealed a new format for the WA Premier’s Book Awards in January. Of the four award categories, three are open only to Western Australian authors while the Daisy Utemorrah Award is open to all Australian Indigenous writers. In 2018 it was announced that the awards would return to an annual format in 2019 after moving to a biennial format in 2015. The awards were last presented in 2016.