Tom Hungerford died peacefully in Perth on 20 June, aged 96. A veteran of World War II, T. A. G. Hungerford subsequently pursued a career as a journalist and public servant. From the late 1940s, he wrote or edited a number of books that drew on his experiences in battle. Hungerford's books are praised for their depiction of warfare, particularly the jungle warfare of New Guinea. His writing also examines the mistreatment of Japanese by Australian occupying forces and, postwar, the deplorable conditions experienced by European migrants.
Hungerford's work has been recognised with a number of literary prizes, including the ALS Gold Medal and the Patrick White Award. His support of West Australian writing has always been strong and was formalised in 1998 with the T. A. G. Hungerford Award which encourages new writers from Western Australia who have not previously published in book form.
Kim Scott has won the 2011 Miles Franklin Award for his novel That Deadman Dance, which explores black-white co-operation in early colonial Western Australia. Scott, a descendant of southeast Western Australia's Noongar people, was previously joint winner of the 2000 Miles Franklin Award for his last novel, Benang.
Of his win, Scott (quoted in the Australian) said, 'I hope my win tonight helps put a spotlight on such issues as preserving aboriginal [sic] languages'.
The novel, described as a 'post-reconciliation novel', showcases Scott's belief that (as he told the Australian), 'There's been such a quick movement from denigration to celebration (of indigenous [sic] people) but a lot of consolidation needs to be done.'
The judges described That Deadman Dance as 'a powerful and innovative fiction that shifts our sense of what an historical novel can achieve.'
That Deadman Dance has previously won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, South East Asia and Pacific Region, Best Book (2011) and been shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards (Fiction, 2011), the Indie Awards (Fiction, 2011), the West Australian Premier's Book Awards (Fiction, 2011) and the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal (2010).
Several Australian writers have appeared in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours, in recognition of their service to various fields of literature.
Peter FitzSimons, Order of Australia, Member of the Order of Australia (AM). (For service to literature as a biographer, sports journalist and commentator, and to the community through contributions to conservation, disability care, social welfare and sporting organisations.)
Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Order of Australia, Member of the Order of Australia (AM). (For service to the arts as a leading poet, critic and educator, and as an ambassador and advocate for the humanities both nationally and internationally, and through support for emerging writers.)
Susanne Gervay, Order of Australia, Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). (For service to children's literature, and to professional organisations.)
Roland Perry, Order of Australia, Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). (For service to literature as an author.)
Singer-songwriter Archie Roach has won the 2011 $50,000 Red Ochre Award, which honours an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist who, throughout their lifetime, has made outstanding contributions to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, at both national and international levels.
'A member of the Stolen Generations, Roach - together with his long-time partner Ruby Hunter who died last year - went on to a successful career giving a voice to his people through music.'
'His 1990 song "Took The Children Away" won a Human Rights Achievement Award and he has also been recognised as a crucial figure for young performers by giving opportunities to new and emerging talent.'