The full program has been announced for the 2018 Perth Festival Writers Week, running from 19-25 February.

Events at the festival include Kim Scott and Helen Garner in a discussion on ‘why literature matters’; a preview of Tim Winton’s forthcoming novel The Shepherd’s Hut (Hamish Hamilton); breakfast with Miles Franklin-winners Josephine Wilson, Michelle de Kretser and Sofie Laguna and lunch with UK writer Alan Hollinghurst.

Children’s events include mural activities with Indian small press Tara Books; family activities in the ‘Paper Bird Kombi’; and the ‘Curated by Kids’ program, a series of sessions staged with the involvement of 10 guest curators aged 10-12.

The 2018 program is curated by West Australian literary editor William Yeoman and has been extended from four days to a full week. It will be based in a new hub located at the University Club of Western Australia, as well as extending to libraries and bars in Perth.

To see the program, click here.

Australian independent booksellers have announced their Shortlist for the Indie Book Awards 2018, for the best Australian books published in 2017.

Now in its tenth year, the Indie Book Awards recognise and celebrate this country’s incredible talent and the role independent booksellers play in supporting and nurturing Australian writing.

 

 

FICTION SHORTLIST:

Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia)
The Choke by Sofie Laguna (Allen & Unwin)
On the Java Ridge by Jock Serong (Text Publishing)
City of Crows by Chris Womersley (Pan Macmillan Australia)

NON-FICTION SHORTLIST:

Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes (HarperCollins Australia)
The Museum of Words by Georgia Blain (Scribe Publications)
Saga Land by Richard Fidler & Kári Gíslason (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)
The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein (Text Publishing)

DEBUT FICTION SHORTLIST:

Wimmera by Mark Brandi (Hachette Australia)
Australia Day by Melanie Cheng (Text Publishing)
The Last Man in Europe by Dennis Glover (Black Inc.)
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (Hachette Australia)

ILLUSTRATED NON-FICTION SHORTLIST:

Maggie’s Recipe For Life by Maggie Beer with Professor Ralph Martins (Simon & Schuster Australia)
Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles by Alex Elliott-Howery & Sabine Spindler (Murdoch Books)
Native: Art & Design with Australian Plants by Kate Herd & Jela Ivankovic-Waters (Thames & Hudson Australia)
Beyond the Rock by Janelle McCulloch (Bonnier Publishing Australia)

CHILDREN’S SHORTLIST:

Pig the Star by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic Australia)
I’m Australian Too by Mem Fox & Ronojoy Ghosh (Illus) (Scholastic Australia)
Polly and Buster: The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster by Sally Rippin (Hardie Grant Egmont)
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Hachette Australia)

YOUNG ADULT SHORTLIST:

Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian (Text Publishing)
Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Fiona Wood & Simmone Howell (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Untidy Towns by Kate O’Donnell (University of Queensland Press)
Wilder Country by Mark Smith (Text Publishing)

The twenty-four shortlisted books will be vying for the top spot as the Overall Indie ‘Book of the Year’ for 2018 as judged by a panel of all indie booksellers and avid readers. Winners will be chosen in the six book categories – Fiction, Debut Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s books (up to 12yo), Young Adult (12+) and Illustrated Non-Fiction (new for 2018). Independent booksellers from around the country will then vote to select their favourite book of the year from the six category winners.

The Category Winners and the Overall ‘Book of the Year’ Winner will be announced on Monday 26 March, 2018.

 

Australian writer Ineke Chen-Meyer has been announced as one of two recipients of the 2017 Tiptree Fellowship.

An Australian by way of Malaysia and New Zealand, Chen-Meyer is currently finishing her first novel, She Who Became the Sun, which she describes as “a genderbending alt-history that takes male-centered, male-authored Chinese imperial history and makes it defiantly queer.”

Chen-Meyer writes: “First and foremost, I wrote this book for myself and people like me. It is a story for members of the English-speaking Chinese diaspora who so rarely see respectful portrayals of themselves in Western-published speculative fiction. It is for queer audiences who have been denied queerness in the global phenomenon of East Asian TV dramas. And it is for Western audiences who might only have experienced the Asian crossdressing trope in Disney’s Mulan, but are compelled by the thought of the epic rise to power of a queer protagonist.”

Chen-Meyer will use her fellowship to access formal language studies to gain a strong understanding of Chinese grammar to inform the dialogue in her work.

The Tiptree Fellowship program, now in its third year, is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today. Each Fellow will receive $500. The work produced as a result of this support will be recognized and promoted by the Tiptree Award.

For more information.

Nine out of the top 10 bestselling literary fiction authors in 2017 were women writers, reports Books+Publishing.

Margaret Atwood topped the list, benefiting from the TV adaptations of The Handmaid’s Tale (Vintage) and Alias, Grace (Virago), which were both released last year.

Haruki Murakami was the only male writer to make the top 10 in sixth spot, with Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and 2017 Nobel Prize-winner Kazuo Ishiguro all placing outside the top 10.

Results were drawn from Nielsen BookScan sales data, with the Bookseller admitting it was making ‘somewhat arbitrary value judgments about what is “literary”’ by limiting the selection to ‘those who have been major award winners and/or shortlistees’.

Despite dominating the literary fiction author chart, just three women writers made the overall top 10 authors chart in 2017: J K Rowling, Julia Donaldson and Fiona Watt. David Walliams was the number-one bestselling author, followed by Rowling and Donaldson.

 

American poet Ocean Vuong has won the 2017 T S Eliot Prize for poetry.

Vuong won the prize for his debut collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Jonathan Cape), making him only the second debut poet to win the award.

The T. S. Eliot Prize, which former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has described as “the Prize most poets want to win”, is an annual prize for the best new poetry collection published in the UK or Ireland.

After months of reading and deliberation, Judges Bill Herbert (Chair), James Lasdun and Helen Mort chose the winner from a strong shortlist of four women and six men.

Chair Bill Herbert said: “Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds deals with the aftermath of war and migration over three generations. It is a compellingly assured debut, the definitive arrival of a significant voice.”

For more information.

Picture: T. S.Eliot Trustee Clare Reihill and Ocean Vuong

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Eight Australian writers have been shortlisted for the 2018 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship worth $15,000. The fellowship is open to writers of biography from around Australia.

“It’s exciting to see such a wide range of writing proposals coming to us from around Australia, said Della Rowley, sister of biographer Hazel Rowley. “This year we reached a record number of applications and the quality and calibre of proposals has been outstanding”.

 

The shortlist reflects a diverse range of proposed biographies with topics including political history, science, memoir, Aboriginal land rights, music and art.

The shortlisted writers are:

  • Judith White (New South Wales) writing about Colin Lanceley: The artist’s world
  • Jacqueline Kent (New South Wales) for a biography on Vida Goldstein
  • Clem Gorman (New South Wales) for an authorised biography of Australian artist David Rankin
  • Drusilla Modjeska (New South Wales) for her proposed memoir, First Half Second: Volume 2
  • Jillian Graham (Victoria) writing about Australian composer, Margaret Sutherland
  • Andrew Ramsey (South Australia) for a biography of Mark Oliphant and Ernest Rutherford
  • Diana James (New South Wales) for her proposal Open Hearted Country: Nganyinytja’s Story
  • Catherine Bishop (New South Wales) for her proposal on Annie Lock: A Challenging Woman

The winner of the 2018 Fellowship will be announced at a special event at the Wheeler Centre on Thursday 8 March at 6.15pm. This follows the Hazel Rowley Memorial lecture to be given by award-winning biographer, Professor Jenny Hocking. Professor Hocking will talk about ‘The Politics of Biography: Gough Whitlam, the Dismissal and Hidden History’.

The 2018 Fellowship will be judged by biographers Jenny Hocking and Arnold Zable, along with Della Rowley and Lynn Buchanan, Hazel’s close friend.

Before her death in 2011, Hazel Rowley wrote four critically acclaimed biographies: Christina Stead: A Biography (1993), Richard Wright: The Life and Times (2001), Tête-à-Tête: The Lives and Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre (2005) and Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage (2010). Erudite and accessible, these studies brought fresh attention to the lives and works of significant figures both nationally and internationally.

“My books are about people who had the courage to break out of their confined world and help others to do the same” – Hazel Rowley.

For more information.

Queensland Writers Centre (QWC) has announced the winners of its inaugural Flash Fiction Prize, which saw almost 200 entries competing for the first-ever writing competition offered by the state’s leading organisation for writers and writing.

Marina Bryne’s Flies that Big took out first prize with second prize going to The Fish by Tony Pritchard.

The prize was judged by Kylie Chan, the best-selling author of the Dark Heavens, Journey to Wudang and Celestial Battle trilogies, and Jan Andrew Henderson, award-winning author of over twenty books including the young adult novels, Bunker 10, Crash and Colony, as well as historical non-fiction.

The judges praised the quality of the shortlisted submissions, saying: “There were a huge number of stories, of every type and genre, each a pleasure to read.  So many were contenders for the top spots, that choosing only two was torture!”

The Flash Fiction Prize was open to anyone aged 15 and over with winners receiving $500 and $250 respectively, as well as publication in the March edition of QWC’s membership magazine, WQ.

To read the winning entries as well as the shortlisted submissions, click here.

About the winners:

Marina Byrne is from Brisbane’s North, where she lives with her young son and her two cats. A writer since she had her first win at 11 or 12 years of age, when her Mother’s Day poem was published in the local newspaper. She’s been scribbling and typing away ever since, with a hard drive full of manuscripts, pieces of prose and short stories.

Tony Pritchard is a retired teacher who has written two books, visited 17 countries and done 13 trips on the Darling River (alone in a canoe and around 500 kms each time). Born in Dubbo in NSW, he now lives in Brisbane’s west with his wife and his chooks.

The Stella Prize, Australia’s leading literary organisation celebrating Australian women’s writing, has launched its advocacy and fundraising campaign, Stella Sparks, for its third year.

To launch the 2018 prize cycle, Stella encourages readers to share their ‘Stella Spark’ – their favourite book by an Australian woman that they read in the past year. A Stella Spark is the book by an Australian woman that lights a spark: that keeps readers up at night, brings comfort, challenges, changes perspectives or opens up new worlds.

The Stella Sparks campaign speaks to the imperative and timely public conversation about how we need to listen to and value women’s voices and stories in Australia and the world.

More information about the Stella Sparks event and longlist announcement, click here.

Writer and events producer Kylie Maslen has been named the winner of the 2018 Kill Your Darlings New Critic Award.

The award includes the publication of five works of original literary criticism, $3000 prize money and a mentorship with senior KYD editorial staff.

Based in Adelaide, Kylie is a writer and events producer whose criticism, commentary and essays have been published in KYD, Junkee, The Wheeler Centre, Metro Magazine and fine print. As KYD’s New Critic, Kylie’s literary criticism will explore Australian and international fiction and non-fiction, with a particular interest in Australian literature from outside of Melbourne and Sydney. The first of these essays will appear in March.

On her win, Kylie says: I am so honoured to be named the recipient of the 2018 KYD New Critic Award. Kill Your Darlings has been an integral part of my development as a writer, both as the home to some of my early work and as a reader of their insightful and entertaining publishing.

This Award gives me an unrivalled opportunity to expand and deepen my critical practice. Having an ongoing and sustainable publishing schedule is a dream for any writer, but particularly as an emerging one it is a privilege I don’t take lightly. Benefiting from KYD’s experienced editorial support, I am really excited to develop my practice and contribute to a broader cultural conversation in Australia.

The 2018 New Critic Award saw 40 entries from emerging writers all over Australia. The judges were KYD Editor Alan Vaarwerk and writer, critic and Stella Prize co-founder Louise Swinn.

Entries for the 2019 KYD New Critic Award will open later this year. For more information

Xoum Publishing has announced the shortlist for the 2017 XO Romance Prize for an unpublished manuscript.

The shortlisted works and their authors are:

L. Francis for Legally Bound, a ‘heartwarming story about a bank worker sent to a country town to issue loan-default notices, and the dairy farmer who refuses to be beaten’.

E. Ackers for Life for Rent, a ‘mesmeric story of love, loss, friendship, and the beauty that can be found in things remade’.

P. Janu for On the Same Page, about ‘a writer desperate to keep her identity hidden, and the man determined to expose her’.

E. Dean for Side Effect, a ‘passionate’ novel about ‘forbidden love and its dangerous repercussions’.

The winner will be announced in late January and will be published later in the year under Xoum’s romance and women’s fiction imprint, XO Romance.

For more information.

Kerryn Goldsworthy has been as the winner of the $15,000 Horne Prize 2017 for her essay, The Limit of the World.

The essay is described as ‘a poignant, knowing work about [Goldsworthy’s] father’s experience of dementia and the state of elder care in Australia’.

The Horne Prize is named for the late Donald Horne AO, in honour of his exceptional contribution to Australian letters. The 2017 prize was presented for an essay of up to 3000 words, addressing some part of the theme ‘Australian life’ – shining light on a particular aspect of who we are, from a contemporary perspective.

The essay was published in the Saturday Paper on 23 December 2017 and will be available on the Aesop website and as a standalone publication in Aesop’s Australian stores in mid-January 2018.

For more information about the Horne Prize, click here.

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