NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2016

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 The winners of the NSW Premier's Literary Awards were announced last night! Congratulations to all the winners.

Book of the Year
Dark Emu/ Bruce Pascoe
Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the 'hunter-gatherer' tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required.

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
Locust Girl, A Lovesong/ Merlinda Bobis
Most everything has dried up: water, the womb, even the love among lovers. Hunger is rife, except across the border. One night, a village is bombed after its men attempt to cross the border. Nine-year old Amedea is buried underground and sleeps to survive. Ten years later, she wakes with a locust embedded in her brow. This political fable is a girl’s magical journey through the border. The border has cut the human heart. Can she repair it with the story of a small life? This is the Locust Girl’s dream, her lovesong—
For those walking to the border for dear life
And those guarding the border for dear life

UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing 
An Astronaut’s Life/ Sonja Dechian
In sparkling prose, Sonja Dechian’s profound, moving and wry stories speak to our deepest yearning for connection and the inevitability of our isolation.

From a terrorist cell of cyber-bullying victims working to annihilate the digital memory of their humiliation to a pandemic that leaves grieving parents battling for the media spotlight, these affecting tales invite us to examine our inability to control the world around us—and our own desires.

Douglas Stewart Prize for Non‐fiction
Reckoning: A Memoir/ Magda Szubanski
Heartbreaking, joyous, traumatic, intimate and revelatory, Reckoning is the book where Magda Szubanski, one of Australia’s most beloved performers, tells her story.

In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father’s espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on.

Indigenous Writers Prize  (NEW PRIZE)

JOINT WINNERS:
                                                           Heat and Light/Ellen van Neerven  
In this award-winning work of fiction, Ellen van Neerven takes her readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.

Over three parts, she takes traditional storytelling and gives it a unique, contemporary twist. In 'Heat', we meet several generations of the Kresinger family and the legacy left by the mysterious Pearl. In 'Water', van Neerven offers a futuristic imagining of a people whose existence is under threat. While in 'Light', familial ties are challenged and characters are caught between a desire for freedom and a sense of belonging.



Dark Emu/ Bruce Pascoe
Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the 'hunter-gatherer' tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required.

People’s Choice Award
The Life of Houses/ Lisa Gorton
The Life of Houses explores, with a poet's eye for detail, the hidden tensions in one of Australia's establishment families.These tensions come to the surface during a week in summer when Anna sends her daughter Kit to stay with her parents,and the unmarried sister who cares for them, in their old and decaying house by the sea. Kit barely knows her grandparents; her mother is estranged from the family and has not taken her to visit them or the house in which she grew up. Recently separated from her husband, Anna sends Kit to them now so she can pursue a new love affair.

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature
Teacup/ Rebecca Young & Matt Ottley
Once there was a boy who had to leave home... and find another. In his bag he carried a book, a bottle and a blanket. In his teacup he held some earth from where he used to play. This is one boy's story of leaving his homeland, surviving a long journey by sea... and finding a safe, new place to call home..


Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature
Laurinda/ Alice Pung
Laurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its secret core is the Cabinet, a trio of girls who wield power over their classmates - and some of their teachers. Entering this world of wealth and secrets is Lucy Lam, a scholarship girl with sharp eyes and a shaky sense of self. As she watches the Cabinet at work, and is courted by them, Lucy finds herself in a battle for her identity and integrity.

Multicultural NSW Award
Good Muslim Boy/ Osamah Sami
Good Muslim Boy is Osamah Sami's true depiction of his life as a young Muslim man. From his early life with his family in Iran during the Iran/Iraq war, to their migration to Australia, his tale is in turns comic and tragic, and explores the universal truths of growing up, falling in love and marriage, family and following one's dream.

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