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Prime Minister's Literary Awards

2016 Winners Announced

The winners of the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Awards have been announced, with joint winners in the Fiction, Non-fiction, and Prize for Australian History awards.

Fiction Winners

The Life of Houses
by Lisa Gorton

From the publisher:

"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.

"The Life of Houses is a novel about mothers and daughters, and coming of age. It is also about property, and how people's feelings for the places that they inhabit can shape their lives.

"The Life of Houses is written in a uniquely expressive and dramatic style that makes use of the close focus and unexpected perspectives that Gor ton has mastered so effectively in her poetry. It is a style reminiscent of Henry James and Patrick White, a high style perfectly suited to the portrayal of the desires and inhibitions of her characters."

Check out our catalogue to borrow or reserve a copy of this award winning title.

The Natural Way of Things
by Charlotte Wood

From the publisher:

"Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of nowhere. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a 'nurse'. The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world? Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl's past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue -- but when the food starts running out it becomes clear that the jailers have also become the jailed. The girls can only rescue themselves."

Check out our catalogue or BorrowBox to borrow or reserve a copy of this award winning title.

Poetry Winner

The Hazards
by Sarah Holland-Batt

From the publisher:

"Charged with fierce imagination and swift lyricism, Holland-Batt's cosmopolitan poems reflect a predatory world rife with hazards both real and imagined. Opening with a vision of a leveret's agonising death by myxomatosis and closing with a lover disappearing into dangerous waters, this collection careens through diverse geographical territory - from haunted post-colonial landscapes in Australia to brutal animal hierarchies in the cloud forests of Nicaragua.

"Engaging everywhere with questions of violence and loss, erasure and extinction, The Hazards inhabits unsettling terrain, unafraid to veer straight into turbulence."

Non-fiction Winners

On Stalin's Team: the Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics
by Sheila Fitzpatrick

From the publisher:

"Joseph Stalin was the unchallenged dictator of the Soviet Union for so long that most historians have dismissed the officials surrounding him as mere yes-men. On Stalin's Team overturns this view, revealing that behind Stalin were a dozen or so loyal and competent men who formed a remarkably effective team from the late 1920s until his death in 1953, when they accomplished a brilliant transition as a reforming 'collective leadership'.

"Drawing on extensive original research, Sheila Fitzpatrick provides the first in-depth account of Stalin's dedicated comrades-in-arms, who not only worked closely with their leader, but constituted his social circle. Key team members were Stalin's number-two man, Molotov; the military leader Voroshilov, the charismatic and entrepreneurial Ordzhonikidze; the wily security chief Beria; and the deceptively simple Khrushchev, who finally disbanded the team in 1957 to become sole leader of the Soviet Union."

Thea Astley: Inventing her own Weather
by Karen Lamb

From the publisher:

"Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather is the long-overdue biography of Australian author Thea Astley (1925-2004). Over a fifty-year writing career, Astley published more than a dozen novels and short story collections, including The Acolyte, The Slow Natives and, finally, Drylands in 1999. She was the first person to win multiple Miles Franklin awards - four in total. With many of her works published internationally, Astley was a trailblazer for women writers.

"In her personal life, she was renowned for her dry wit, eccentricity and compassion. Although a loving mother and wife, she rose above the domestic limitations imposed on women at the time to carve out a professional life true to her creative drive."

Check out our catalogue or BorrowBox to borrow or reserve a copy of this award winning title.

Prize for Australian History Winners

The Story of Australia's People. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia
by Geoffrey Blainey

From the publisher:

"The vast continent of Australia was settled in two main streams, far apart in time and origin.

"The first came ashore some 50,000 years ago when the islands of Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea were one. The second began to arrive from Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. Each had to come to terms with the land they found, and each had to make sense of the other.

"The long Aboriginal occupation of Australia witnessed spectacular changes. The rising of the seas isolated the continent and preserved a nomadic way of life, while agriculture was revolutionising other parts of the world. Over millennia, the Aboriginal people mastered the land's climates, seasons and resources...."

Check out our catalogue to borrow or reserve a copy of this award winning title.

Let My People Go: the Untold Story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89
by Sam Lipski AM and Suzanne D Rutland

From the publisher:

"For 50 years, until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Soviet Union ran a campaign of repression, imprisonment, political trials and terror against its 3 million Jews. In Australia, political leaders and the Jewish community contributed significantly to the international protest movement which eventually triumphed over Moscow's tyranny and led to the modern Exodus of Soviet Jews to Israel and other countries.

"Lipski and Rutland make this largely unknown Australian story come alive with a combination of passion, personal experience and ground-breaking research."

Young Adult Fiction Winner

A Single Stone
by Meg McKinlay

From the publisher:

"Every girl dreams of being part of the line - the chosen seven who tunnel deep into the mountain to find the harvest. No work is more important. Jena is the leader of the line - strong, respected, reliable. And - as all girls must be - she is small; her years of training have seen to that. It is not always easy but it is the way of the things. And so a girl must wrap her limbs, lie still, deny herself a second bowl of stew. Or a first. But what happens when one tiny discovery makes Jena question everything she has ever known? What happens when moving a single stone changes everything?"

Check out our catalogue to borrow or reserve a copy of this award winning title.

Children's Fiction Winner

Sister Heart
by Sally Morgan

From the publisher:

"A young Aboriginal girl is taken from the north of Australia and sent to an institution in the distant south. There, she slowly makes a new life for herself and, in the face of tragedy, finds strength in new friendships.

"Poignantly told from the child's perspective, Sister Heart affirms the power of family and kinship."

Check out our catalogue or BorrowBox to borrow or reserve a copy of this award winning title.

2016 Shortlists Announced

These awards recognize and award excellence in Australian literature and history. Categories include fiction, poetry, Australian History, non-fiction, young adult fiction, and children's fiction.

Find out more about the Prime Minister's Literary Awards and the nominated titles by clicking here, or see below for copies available in our catalogue, both print and digital, to borrow!

Fiction Shortlist
2016

Forever Young
by Steven Carroll
View in Catalogue
View on BorrowBox

The Life of Houses
by Lisa Gorton
View in Catalogue

The World Repair Video Game
by David Ireland
Not in catalogue

Quicksand
by Steve Toltz
View in Catalogue

The Natural Way of Things
by Charlotte Wood
View in Catalogue
View on BorrowBox

 

Poetry Shortlist
2016

Net Needle
by Robert Adamson
Not in catalogue

Cocky's Joy
by Michael Farrell
Not in catalogue

The Hazards
by Sarah Holland-Batt
Not in catalogue

Waiting for the Past
by Les Murray
View in Catalogue
View on BorrowBox

The Ladder
by Simon West
Not in catalogue

 

Non-fiction Shortlist
2016

Tom Roberts and the Art of Portraiture
by Julie Cotter
Not in catalogue

On Stalin's Team: the Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics
by Sheila Fitzpatrick
Not in catalogue

Thea Astley: Inventing her own Weather
by Karen Lamb
View in Catalogue
View on BorrowBox

Second Half First
by Drusilla Modjeska
View in Catalogue

Island Home
by Tim Winton
View in Catalogue
Listen on BorrowBox

 

Prize for Australian History Shortlist
2016

The Story of Australia's People. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia
by Geoffrey Blainey
View in Catalogue

Let My People Go: the Untold Story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89
by Sam Lipski and Suzanne D Rutland
Not in catalogue

Red Professor: the Cold War Life of Fred Rose
by Peter Monteath and Valerie Munt
Not in catalogue

Ned Kelly: A Lawless Life
by Doug Morrissey
Not in catalogue

The War with Germany: Volume III-The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War
by Robert Stevenson
Not in catalogue

 

Young Adult Fiction Shortlist
2016

Becoming Kirrali Lewis
by Jane Harrison
View in Catalogue

Illuminae
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
View in Catalogue
View on BorrowBox

A Single Stone
by Meg McKinlay
View in Catalogue

Inbetween Days
by Vikki Wakefield
View in Catalogue

Green Valentine
by Lili Wilkinson
View in Catalogue
View on BorrowBox

 

Children's Fiction Shortlist
2016

Adelaide's Secret World
by Elise Hurst
View in Catalogue
View on BorrowBox

Sister Heart
by Sally Morgan
View in Catalogue
View on BorrowBox

Perfect
by Danny Parker and illustrated by Freya Blackwood
View in Catalogue

The Greatest Gatsby: A Visual Book of Grammar
by Tohby Riddle
View in Catalogue

Mr Huff
by Anna Walker
View in Catalogue
View on BorrowBox