AustLit logo
Australia Book Prize
or CHASS Australia Book Prize
Subcategory of CHASS Australia Prizes
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

History

Run by the Council for the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS), the Australia Book Prize is part of the CHASS Australia Prizes program, which aims to draw international attention to Australia’s achievements in the humanities, arts and social sciences.

Winners

2019 winner y separately published work icon The Bible in Australia : A Cultural History Meredith Lake , Sydney : NewSouth Publishing , 2018 13958032 2018 multi chapter work criticism

'The revelatory story of the Bible in Australia, from the convict era to the Mabo land rights campaign, Nick Cave, the Bra Boys, and beyond. Thought to be everything from the word of God to a resented imposition, the Bible has been debated, painted, rejected, translated, read, gossiped about, preached, and tattooed.

'At a time when public discussion of religion is deeply polarised, Meredith Lake reveals the Bible’s dynamic influence in Australia and offers an innovative new perspective on Christianity and its changing role in our society. In the hands of writers, artists, wowsers, Bible-bashers, immigrants, suffragists, evangelists, unionists, Indigenous activists, and many more – the Bible has played a defining and contested role in Australia.

'A must-read for sceptics, the curious, the lapsed, the devout, the believer, and non-believer. ' (Publication summary)

2018 winner y separately published work icon A Writing Life : Helen Garner and Her Work Bernadette Brennan , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 10604838 2017 single work biography

'Helen Garner is one of Australia’s most important and most admired writers. She is revered for her fearless honesty in the pursuit of her craft.

'But Garner also courts controversy, not least because she refuses to be constrained by the rules of literary form. She has never been afraid to write herself into her nonfiction, and many of her own experiences help to shape her fiction. But who is the ‘I’ in Helen Garner’s work?

'Bernadette Brennan’s A Writing Life is the first full-length study of Garner’s forty years of work, a literary portrait that maps all of her books against the different stages of her life.

'Brennan has had access to previously unavailable papers in Garner’s archive, and she provides a lively and rigorous reading of the books, journals and correspondence of one of Australia’s most beloved women of letters.' (Publication summary)

2017 winner y separately published work icon Atomic Thunder : The Maralinga Story Elizabeth Tynan , Sydney : NewSouth Publishing , 2016 10253557 2016 single work prose

'In September 2016 it will be 60 years since the first British mushroom cloud rose above the plain at Maralinga in South Australia. The atomic weapons test series wreaked havoc on Indigenous communities and turned the land into a radioactive wasteland.

In 1950 Australian prime minister Robert Menzies blithely agreed to atomic tests that offered no benefit to Australia and relinquished control over them – and left the public completely in the dark. This book reveals the devastating consequences of that decision. After earlier tests at Monte Bello and Emu Field, in 1956 Australia dutifully provided 3200 square kilometres of South Australian desert to the British Government, along with logistics and personnel.

How could a democracy such as Australia host another country’s nuclear program in the midst of the Cold War? In this meticulously researched and shocking work, journalist and academic Elizabeth Tynan reveals how Australia allowed itself to be duped. Maralinga was born in secret atomic business, and has continued to be shrouded in mystery decades after the atomic thunder stopped rolling across the South Australian test site. This book is the most comprehensive account of the whole saga, from the time that the explosive potential of splitting uranium atoms was discovered, to the uncovering of the extensive secrecy around the British tests in Australia many years after the British had departed, leaving an unholy mess behind.' (Publisher's blurb)

2016 winner Klaus Neumann

for Across the Seas: Australia's Response to Refugees.

X