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WA Premier’s Book Awards announced

The winners of the 2021 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards have been announced.

Chosen from shortlists announced in May, the winners in each category are:

Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer ($15,000)

  • Homecoming (Elfie Shiosaki, Magabala)

Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children ($15,000)

  • A Glasshouse of Stars (Shirley Marr, Puffin)

Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and YA Writing ($15,000)

  • ‘Robert Runs’ by Mariah Sweetman

Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship ($60,000)

  • Nandi Chinna, for the proposal for a collaborative, participatory and community-based poetry project, asking that we consider the responsibility of the settler poet within the Aboriginal lands and waters of Australia. ‘While local in subject, the project has global relevance. The judges were impressed by the scope and possibilities of the proposed collaborative project, and its relationship-building with Aboriginal elders. The project is exemplary and offers a model of ethical participatory art-making.’

Also at the awards, Doris Pilkington Garimara was inducted into the Western Australian Writers Hall of Fame.

Pilkington Garimara is best known for the middle book in her trilogy Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence (UQP), which was adapted for film. ‘Her profoundly Western Australian stories inspired a new generation of Indigenous writers, influencing the ways in which Western Australians view themselves through a complex history,’ said the awards in a statement. ‘In highlighting the injustices faced by the Stolen Generations through truth-telling and the beauty of her language, Doris Pilkington was an outstanding leader and positive role model. Her legacy is one of cultural understanding and transformational knowledge through literature.’

Judges Rashida Murphy, Jay Lauchlan Anderson, Liana Joy Christensen, Michelle Michau-Crawford, Ian Reid and Josephine Wilson described the Daisy Utemorrah Award winner ‘Robert Runs’ by Ugarapul woman Mariah Sweetman as ‘a proud and heartfelt work of junior fiction that follows best friends Goupong and Jonathan as they navigate growing up at Deebing Creek Mission in Coordirjar’.

The WA Premier’s Literary Awards recognise excellence in WA writing, while the Daisy Utemorrah Award is open to Indigenous writers from all states and territories.

The winners of the WA Premier’s Literary Awards were announced on Friday, 17 June at the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA). For more information on the winners, see the SLWA website.


Category: Awards Local news