The ASAL Executive appoints three judging panel conveners from among its number each year–each convener to come from a different state to the convener for the award in the previous year. Nominations for each of the awards can be made to the chair of the respective prize committee or through any member of the executive.
The ALS Gold Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding literary work in the preceding calendar year. The Medal was inaugurated by the Australian Literature Society, which was founded in Melbourne in 1899 and incorporated into the Association for the Study of Australian Literature in 1982. The winner receives a gold medal. No nominations are required, though ASAL members are invited to propose potential winners to the judging panel.
ALS Gold Medal Judging panel for 2019:
Michael Farrell (Chair): email@example.com
Megan Mooney Taylor
ALS Gold Medal 2018
Winner: Shastra Deo, The Agonist (UQP)
2018 ALS Gold Medal Judges Citation
From a formidable shortlist, the judges ultimately decided to award the ALS Gold Medal to Shastra Deo’s The Agonist. Intense, clinical, epiphanic – the language registers of Deo’s poetry seize the reader’s imagination both affectively and intellectually. The poems are spellbindingly physical and metaphysical, invoking the spirituality of Emily Dickinson, the metaphysical mastery of John Donne and the obsessive, oblique confessionals of Sylvia Plath. Taking as its title a term for an ongoing chemical interaction, with overtones of the agonizing struggle at the centre of (Greek) drama, The Agonist positions both poet and reader at various thresholds of pain, arousal, apprehension, wounding, recollection and surrender. Deo uses language both forensically and suggestively: peeling back layers of bodily, intellectual and emotional experience, juxtaposing ornithology and necromancy. The poems are formally varied, structurally tight and fascinated by a range of stimuli, such as dissection, WWI poets, a scouting manual, the different lexicons of a soldier, a fisherman, a boxer – and the slippage between Hindi and English plosives. These are startling, impressive poems – The Agonistis confronting, haunting, memorable: a worthy recipient of the ALS Gold Medal.
Peter Carey, A Long Way from Home (Penguin)
Shastra Deo, The Agonist (University of Queensland Press)
Eva Hornung, The Last Garden (Text)
Sofie Laguna, The Choke (Allen and Unwin)
Steven Lang, Hinterland (University of Queensland Press)
Gerald Murnane, Border Districts (Giramondo)
For more information about the ALS Gold Medal and its recipients click here.
To view the 2017 ALS Gold Medal Judges' Report click here
To view the 2017 citation response by Zoe Morrison click here.
To view the 2016 ALS Gold Medal Judges' Report click here.
To view the 2015 ALS Gold Medal Judges' Report click here.
To view the 2014 ALS Gold Medal Judges' Report click here.
To view the 2013 ALS Gold Medal Judges' Report click here.
To be given to the best book of literary scholarship on an Australian subject published in the preceding two calendar years. Up till 1994 for an outstanding work of literary scholarship by a young or unestablished author (usually a first book). No nominations are required, though ASAL members are invited to propose books for consideration by the judging panel.
Walter McRae Russell Judging panel for 2019:
Chair: Elizabeth Webby (Chair): firstname.lastname@example.org
The Winner for the 2017 award is Elizabeth McMahon for her monograph Islands, Identity and the Literary Imagination published by Anthem Press in 2016.
The 2017 citation can be read here.
The 2017 shortlist can be read here
The 2015 citation can be read here
To be given for the best first book of poetry published in the previous calendar year (until 2016 this was for the best first book of poetry in the previous two calendar years and until 1999 for the best first book of poetry published in the previous calendar year). After a ruling at the 2018 ASAL Annual General Meeting, from this time forward the prize is for a poet’s first book which contains 32 or more pages of poetry.
Mary Gilmore Judging Panel for 2019
Lachlan Brown (Chair): email@example.com
Mary Gilmore Award 2018
Winner: Quinn Eades, Rallying (UWA Publishing)
CITATION: Quinn Eades’ Rallying is the winner of the 2018 Mary Gilmore Prize for best first book of poetry; winner, it should be said, by a close margin from a highly-talented shortlist. Rallying was a standout for the judging panel for its ambitious combinations of form and content which are maintained to the highest standards over 133 pages of poetry. Eades’ hard-won, sure-handed artistry is the one constant in a highly-autobiographical account of shifting lives, locations, identities, knowledges and, ultimately, genders. The last of these is especially relevant in a national literature where transgender authors are still rare, though, one senses, not for long. Unrushed, deeply-read and bursting with lyric power in long lines as well as short, Rallying never rests on the uniqueness of its subject matter, instead pushing and interrogating with a deeply confident, balanced voice that allows Eades to reach into personal and imaginative dissolution and return with devastating effect (and affect). By the time Rallying concludes with ‘Tender Bodies’, a stunning response to Gertrude Stein’s masterwork Tender Buttons, the reader has been treated to the realisation and re-realisation of Eades’ lives in brilliantly wrought, adventurous lines with a heightened sensitivity to form and craft across poems, and the collection itself, as a whole. Quinn Eades is a poet of exceptional prowess and artistic vision, a worthy winner of the 2018 Mary Gilmore Award.
Mary Gilmore Award 2018 Shortlist
Shastra Deo, The Agonist (UQP)
Quinn Eades, Rallying (UWA Publishing)
Susan Fealy, Flute of Milk (UWA Publishing)
Amanda Joy, Snake Like Charms (UWA Publishing)
Nguyễn Tiên Hoàng, Captive and Temporal (Vagabond)
For more information about Mary Gilmore click here.
To view the 2017 Mary Gilmore Award click here
To view the 2016 Mary Gilmore Award click here
To view the 2014 Mary Gilmore Award Report click here.
(Image: Dame Mary Gilmore by May Moore, 1916. Courtesy of the State Library of NSW. Source.)
The National Executive of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature awards the A. A. Phillips Award as occasion merits in recognition of outstanding contributions to Australian literary scholarship. Any member of the Association may make nominations to the executive at any time.
For more information about A. A. Phillips click here.
(Image: A.A. Phillips, photographer unknown, The Age, 2 October 1946. p.25. Source.)
The Magarey Medal for biography is a biennial prize. The prize is awarded to the female author who has published the work judged to be the best biographical writing on an Australian subject in the preceding two years. The awarding of the prize is administered and judged by a panel set up by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature and the Australian Historical Association. The prize is very generously donated by Professor Emerita Susan Magarey.
The judging panel for the 2018 Magarey Medal for Biography are: Gillian Whitlock (ASAL) Chair, Chris Lee (ASAL) and Fiona Paisley (AHA).
Winner: Alexis Wright, Tracker (Giramondo, 2017).
Citation: Alexis Wright’s Tracker is a significant achievement, providing a complex historical, social and personal account of a remarkable Australian, and innovating the conventions of biography with Indigenous knowledges and perspectives. Tracker is a bespoke biography which crafts its form to fit with its individual subject, while respecting more collective responses which are important to the Indigenous life story. The author calls it ‘consensus storytelling’ and locates its conventions in the decision-making practices of indigenous community. Tracker Tilmouth was an extraordinary Australian who worked across the complex organisational networks of business, government, politics and wider society to improve the well-being of indigenous Australians – he was a tireless and influential advocate and actor who inspired people and projects. To tell such a story Wright curates a range of different perspectives from a remarkably diverse set of people who were chosen by Tracker to contribute to his story. The book artfully organises these recollections along with interviews with Tracker himself. The overlapping, re-storying, and meshing together of different perspectives on indigenous experiences and histories, and the irreverent humour that recurs throughout make a powerful statement about a life expressed as purpose, imagination, action, resilience, and connection. Not only does it provide insight into individual and collective views of a remarkable Arrente man, Tracker also provides a complex appreciation of the challenges, labours, achievements and capacities of Indigenous Australians. It is a clear and worthy winner of the Magarey medal.
Highly Commended: Judith Brett, The Enigmatic Mr Deakin (Text Publishing, 2017).
Shortlist for the 2018 Magarey Medal for Biography
We are delighted to announce the books that have been shortlisted for this year’s Magarey Medal for Biography.
The judging panel commends all the authors whose books are shortlisted this year, and both ASAL and AHA thank the judges for their work. The winner of the Magarey Medal will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday 3 July, on the opening night of the 2018 Literary Convention, at the ANU in Canberra.
For more details see http://slll.cass.anu.edu.au/
To view the 2016 Magarey Medal click here
To view the 2014 Magarey Medal Judges' Report click here.
The A.D. Hope Prize is awarded annually for the paper judged to be the best ASAL July annual conference paper delivered by a postgraduate student. The paper is to be sent to the judging panel, in publishable form, after the conference (date to be announced each year). The winning paper will receive publication in JASAL and $500.
2018 Winner: Valérie-Anne Belleflamme for “Moving on metaphorical silk roads of intellectual trade”: Chinese aesthetics in Gail Jones’s Five Bells” – from CEREP Postcolonial Research Centre, English Department, University of Liège, Belgium
Highly commended: Li Lu, for “A Study on Chinese-English Translation of Modern Poems from the Perspective of Adaptation Theory”, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics
For more information about A.D. Hope click here.
To view the 2017 A.D. Hope Prize Report click here
To view the 2016 A.D. Hope Prize Report click here
To view the 2015 A.D. Hope Prize Report click here
To view the 2014 A.D. Hope Prize Report click here.
An award for the best first book of literary scholarship by an early career researcher (ECR) on an Australian subject, published in the preceding two calendar years. Researchers are eligible for this award if their book is published within five years of the date of PhD award, or longer if combined with periods of significant career interruption. No nominations are required, though ASAL members are invited to propose books for consideration by the judging panel.
Note about the Alvie Egan Award: This award has been established in honour of Mrs Alvie Egan, a long-serving Secretary of the Australian Literature Society and grand daughter of the poet Bernard O’Dowd.
The procedure for deciding the winners of the ALS Gold Medal, the Walter McRae Russell Award, and the Mary Gilmore Award is the following: