2015 Waverley Prize for Literature winners

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 Erik Jensen has won the 2015 Waverley Prize for Literature, known as the 'Nib'  for his book,

Acute Misfortune - The Life and Death of artist Adam Cullen .
This book was chosen from a shortlist of six books.

An unflinching portrait of talent and addiction.
In 2008 the artist Adam Cullen invited journalist Erik Jensen to stay in his spare room and write his biography.
What followed were four years of intense honesty and a relationship that became increasingly claustrophobic. At one point Cullen shot Jensen, in part to see how committed he was to the book. At another, he threw Jensen from a speeding motorbike. The book contract Cullen used to convince Jensen to stay with him never existed.
Acute Misfortune is a riveting account of the life and death of one of Australia's most celebrated artists, the man behind the Archibald Prize-winning portrait of David Wenham. Jensen follows Cullen through drug deals and periods of deep self-reflection, onwards into his court appearance for weapons possession and finally his death in 2012 at the age of forty-six. The story is by turns tender and horrifying: a spare tale of art, sex, drugs and childhood, told at close quarters and without judgement.

People's Choice Award
The Nashos' War - Australia’s National Servicemen and Vietnam by Mark Dapin
On 10 March 1965, the first nasho's birthdate was drawn from a lottery barrel at the Department of Labour and National Service in Melbourne.  Over the next seven years, a total of 63740 young Australian men would be drafted into the army and face the prospect of being sent to war.
The nashos came from all walks of life: plumbers and dentists, footballers and musicians, Christians and Jews, willing and unwilling.  Some spent their two years square-bashing in Singleton.  Others went to Vietnam to fight – and die – in Australia's bloodiest battles, including the slaughter at Long Tan.
But our ideas of national service contain strange contradictions and inaccuracies: that the draft was unpopular but militarily necessary; that the nashos in Vietnam all volunteered to go to war; and that they were met by protesters and demonstrations on their return to Australia, rather than the huge welcome-home parades reported at the time.

Anzac Centenary Literary Award
Bearing Witness by Peter Rees


Charles Bean was Australia's greatest and most famous war correspondent. He is the journalist who told Australia about the horrors of Gallipoli and the Western Front. He is the historian who did so much to create the Anzac legend and shape the emerging Australian identity in the years after Federation. He is the patriot who was central to the establishment of one of this country's most important cultural institutions, the Australian War Memorial. Yet we know so little about him as a man. Bearing Witness rectifies that omission in our national biography.


This is the first complete portrait of Charles Bean. It is the story of a boy from Bathurst and his search for truth: in the bush, on the battlefield and in the writing of the official history of Australia's involvement in World War I. But beyond this, it is a powerful and detailed exploration of his life, his accomplishments and a marriage that sustained and enriched him.




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