Six plays have been shortlisted from a field of 158 for the Sydney Theatre Company’s annual Patrick White Playwrights’ Award. The winner will be announced on 24 May, when a rehearsed reading of the winning play will be presented at Sydney's Wharf Theatre as part of the Sydney Writers' Festival.
The Award, which honours the contribution Patrick White (pictured, at left) made to Australian theatre, accepts only original, unproduced plays. The winner takes home $7,500 and the opportunity to work with one of the STC’s resident directors. Plays must be ambitious, must demonstrate skilful application of craft, and have great potential for a stage production.
This year's shortlist comprises:
- 'Dream Home' by Emilie Collyer
- 'Love Boy' by Casey Nicholls
- 'Minusonesister' by Anna Barnes
- 'Motherland' by Katherine Lyall-Watson
- 'Oranges and Lemons' by Rick Viede
- 'The Rasputin Affair', by Kate Mulvany.
The winner of the Patrick White Playwrights' Fellowship will also be announced on 24 May. The Fellowship, worth $25,000, is awarded to an established Australian playwright whose work has been produced professionally in Australia within the last four years. This year, the Fellow will be commissioned by the STC to develop a new work.
Named after Queensland poet and former UQ lecturer Val Vallis, (pictured, at left) the Val Vallis Award for Unpublished Poetry will be awarded for a poem, or suite of poems, of 100 lines. The first prize winner will receive $1,000, a week's stay at Varuna, the Writers' House and the winning poem will be published in Cordite Poetry Review. There are cash prizes for second and third place getters as well. Entrants may submit multiple entries, and entries close on 9 July. Submissions must be made on the official form and there are guidelines for entrants.
Also named in honour of a distinguished Queensland poet, the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, now in its 10th year, will be awarded for an unpublished poetry manuscript. The winning poet will receive prize money of $3,000 together with a publishing contract with the University of Queensland Press. Thomas Shapcott was born in Ipswich, Queensland and was awarded the Order of Australia for his services to literature in 1989. Entries for this award close on 11 July.
The winners of both awards will be announced on 23 August at the opening night of the Queensland Poetry Festival at the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Arts in Brisbane.
A shortlist of five has been announced for the 2012 Ashurst Business Literature Prize, with the winner to be announced on 6 June 2013. The Prize is open to a range of subjects including Australian corporate histories, analyses of corporate affairs, and biographies of business men and women. The winner will be awarded $30,000 in prize money. To be eligible, books must have been first published between 2 September, 2011 and 31 August, 2012.
The five shortlisted titles are:
- Seven Myths about Women and Work by Catherine Fox
- The Sweet Spot: How Australia Made its Own Luck - and Could Now Throw it all Away by Peter Hartcher
- The House of Hancock: The Rise and Rise of Gina Rinehart by Debi Marshall
- Icon in Crisis: The Reinvention of CSIRO by Ron Sandland and Graham Thompson
- Mine-field: The Dark Side of Australia’s Resource Rush by Paul Cleary.
Launched in 2004 by legal firm Blake Dawson and the State Library of NSW, the Blake Dawson Business Literature Prize was established to encourage the highest standards of commentary in the fields of business and finance, and to better inform the general reader about Australia’s commercial life and participants in that life. Blake Dawson combined its Asia practice with international firm Ashurst in 2012, hence the renaming of the prize.
Women outnumbered men by a ratio of 4:1 on the longlist for the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award, but the shortlist is 100% female. The five shortlisted authors and titles, three of which are debut novels, are:
- Floundering by Romy Ash
- The Beloved by Annah Faulkner
- Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser
- The Mountain by Drusilla Modjeska
- Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany
Miles Franklin (pictured, at left) always struggled to make a living as a writer, and greatly appreciated the two literary prizes she won. The name of the winner will be announced on 19 June in Canberra. Whoever wins this year will take home $60,000, up $10,000 from last year's award.
According to one of this year's judges, Mitchell Librarian Richard Neville, 'The five novels in the 2013 Miles Franklin Shortlist are at a surface level all about family - the searching for their comfort, the crises when they fail, escaping their pervasive grasp, or the despair when they do not seem possible - but more deeply these books write about the intersection of people’s lives with national, indeed international, stories and ideas. Each approaches their subject from very different perspectives, but all deliver complex, engrossing narratives which persist long after the books are closed!'
- Book of the Year for Younger Children (up to 8 years)
- Book of the Year for Older Children (8-14 years)
In the younger children category, perennial favourites Alison Lester (Sophie Scott Goes South), Mem Fox (Good Night Sleep Tight) and Graeme Base (Little Elephants) are up against a field that includes Nick Bland's The Very Hungry Bear and The Gobbledygook is Eating a Book by Arthur Baysting and former ABC Play School presenter Justine Clarke. The book was illustrated by Tom Jellett.
Books by some very familiar names - Sonya Hartnett, Morris Gleitzman, Andy Griffiths, Jacqueline Harvey - have been shortlisted in the older children category. Nick Earls and illustrator Terry Whidbourne have been nominated for The Curious Dictionary, the latest instalment of their Word Hunters series.
The winners will be announced at the Sydney Writers' Festival on 24 May.
The Australian Publishers' Association has announced the shortlists for the 2013 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA). There are 22 awards in total to be given, with the awards split between awards for publishers and awards for published books, both fiction and non-fiction. The winners will be announced in Sydney on 24 May.
Shortlisted for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2013 are Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser, Floundering by Romy Ash, The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman, Lola Bensky by Lily Brett, The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally and The Mountain by Drusilla Modjeska.
The Newcomer of the Year category has some overlaps with literary fiction, with Stedman and Ash shortlisted for both. A non-fiction book shortlisted for the newcomer award is The People Smuggler by Robin de Crespigny.
The late Bryce Courtenay has been shortlisted for the General Fiction Book of the Year for his last book, Jack of Diamonds. While Courtenay may get the sympathy vote, Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper is a very strong contender in this category.
In the Biography of the Year category, Brenda Niall's True North: The Story of Mary and Elizabeth Durack will be up against a field that includes Adele Ferguson's Gina Rinehart: The Untold Story of the Richest Person in the World and Gideon Haigh's cricketing biography, On Warne.
The Clunes Booktown Festival will run over the weekend of 4-5 May. Visitors to the town can browse for books of all kinds amid the historic streetscapes of Clunes, which the festival guide describes as 'a town where a proud gold heritage reaches out to a future being fashioned around a big idea built on books, writing and conversation.' On offer from more than 50 book traders will be thousands of new, second-hand and rare books, including small press publications.
Australian Book Review editor Peter Rose will discuss 'The Art of Reviewing', and the Wheeler Centre will present Anne Summers AO in conversation with Michael Williams. Visiting writers include Kate Grenville, who will attend both days, and be part of a panel conversation about the Stella Prize, Gary Crew, and Peter FitzSimons, while Children's Booktown will welcome Hazel Edwards and other guests. A Musical Mad Hatter's Tea Party is also on the calendar. It costs $5 for entry. You can download the festival guide and a full event schedule. News about events can also be found on Clunes Booktown's Facebook page, or you can follow @clunesbooktown on Twitter.
Clunes was declared as Australia's first International Booktown - and the first such appointment in the Southern Hemisphere - in April, 2012. Other booktowns include Hay-on-Wye in Wales and Wigtown in Scotland.
The 2013 Blake Poetry Prize is now accepting entries. Presented by the NSW Writers’ Centre and the Blake Society, the $5,000 Prize is named for visionary artist and poet William Blake. The prize was established to give Australian poets new possibilities to explore religion and spirituality in the 21st century.
The judges for the 2013 prize are Australian poets Robert Adamson, Michelle Cahill and Eileen Chong. Of the prize, Adamson said: 'Of all the prizes for poetry the Blake is the one, like its namesake, it stands for something more than its generous bounty. It vibrates with Blake’s unique vision'. Adamson won the prize himself in 2011 for Via Negativa: The Divine Dark.
Previous winners of the Blake Prize include Graham Kershaw (2012) and Mark Tredinnick (2008). To enter, applicants need to fill in the 2013 entry form and follow the submission guidelines. There is also a helpful FAQ. Entries close Friday 14 June.
Nominations for the 2013 'The Nib', Waverley Library's Award for Literature are open. The award recognises excellence in literary research, and the winning book may be in any genre, whether non-fiction or fiction. Only books published between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013 are eligible. Last year's winner was Jane Gleeson-White for Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Shaped the Modern World - and How Their Invention Could Make or Break the Planet.
This national award provides a winner's prize of $20,000 and $1,000 for each of the short-listed authors, all of whom receive the Alex Buzo Prize. Waverley Council provides primary financial support for the Award. The Friends of Waverley Library, together with Bondi Road Doctors, are also partners. The closing date for nominations is 12 July. The library's website contains the award guidelines and nomination forms.
The Australian Horror Writers Association has announced the winners of the 2012 Australian Shadows Awards. The Shadows are awarded to the stories and collections that best typify the horror genre, 'delivering a sense of "creeping dread", leaving the reader with chills and a reluctance to turn out the light.'
Despite the 2012 date, these are this year's awards, for works published during the 2012 calendar year. Kirstyn McDermott was the winner in the Novel category with her book, Perfections. The book has the publisher's tagline: 'Two sisters. One wish. Unimaginable consequences. Not all fairytales are for children.'
Kaaron Warren took out both the Long Fiction award for Sky and the Collection award for Through Splintered Walls, in which Sky appeared. Both McDermott and Warren have been nominated for Ditmar Awards. The Short Fiction category was won by Birthday Suit by Martin Livings. Craig Bezant won the Edited Publication category for Surviving the End. All Australian Shadows winners are awarded a trophy and $250.
Carrie Tiffany's novel Mateship with Birds is the inaugural winner of the Stella Prize. The prize is a major new literary award celebrating Australian women's writing. As the winner, Tiffany (pictured, at left) received $50,000 in prize money, of which she has donated $10,000 to be shared among the other five authors on the shortlist.
Mateship with Birds is Tiffany's second novel. Her first, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living, won the Dobbie Award and the Western Australian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction.
Kerryn Goldsworthy, chair of the Stella Prize judges, said: 'Mateship with Birds is a deceptively gentle-looking novel whose calm surface belies its many sharp and frank observations about the world.'
On winning, Tiffany said: 'The Stella Prize is an opportunity to fete and honour writing by Australian women. When I sit down to write I am anchored by all of the books I have read. My sentences would not have been possible without the sentences of Christina Stead, Thea Astley, Elizabeth Jolley, Beverley Farmer, Kate Grenville, Gillian Mears, Helen Garner and the many other fine Australian writers that I have read and continue to read.'
You can read an interview with Tiffany, conducted by the Stella Prize team.
The Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize is now accepting submissions. Poets have until 30 June to enter for the award, worth $2,000 this year, up from last year's $1,500. Dawe (pictured at left) is one of Australia's most acclaimed contemporary poets.
He said the decision to endow the prize 'stemmed from a belief that all universities should encourage the practice of the arts within Australian society. It is hoped that this prize will encourage established and emerging Australian poets and to recognise the important contribution they make to our culture.'
The competition closes on 30 June. The name of the winner will be announced in early October. The 2012 prize winner was John Watson for his poem 'Leaving No Wake', while the 2011 winner was Lisa A. Jacobson for her poem 'Several Ways to Fall Out of the Sky'. Watson's poem can be read online.
(Image credits for portrait of Bruce Dawe, above: Virginia Wallace-Crabbe [Portrait of Bruce Dawe taken at Canberra Writers' Week 1995] Silver gelatin on resin-coated paper. Courtesy of Digital Collections, National Library of Australia.)