The Colin Roderick Award is presented annually by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies at James Cook University to honour Colin Roderick (1911-2000), who was JCU's foundation professor of English. Among his many published works were critical and biographical studies of Henry Lawson.
The Colin Roderick Award recognises ‘the best book published in Australia which deals with any aspect of Australian life’, and is open to books published in the previous year in all fields, including works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Source: http://www.jcu.edu.au/sass/humanities/fals/JCU_128442.html Sighted: 15/11/2013.
'Amid the furious ocean there was no human sound on deck: some people standing, watching the wave, but no one capable of words.
'On the Java Ridge, skipper Isi Natoli and a group of Australian surf tourists are anchored beside an idyllic reef off the Indonesian island of Dana.
'In the Canberra office of Cassius Calvert, Minister for Border Integrity, a Federal election looms and (not coincidentally) a hardline new policy is being announced regarding maritime assistance to asylum-seeker vessels in distress.
'A few kilometres away from Dana, the Takalar is having engine trouble. Among the passengers fleeing from persecution are Roya and her mother, and Roya’s unborn sister.
'The storm now closing in on the Takalar and the Java Ridge will mean catastrophe for them all.
'With On the Java Ridge Jock Serong, bestselling author of The Rules of Backyard Cricket, brings us a literary novel with the pace and tension of a political thriller—and some of the most compelling, heartstopping writing about the sea since Patrick O’Brian.' (Publication summary)
'He hated the word ‘retirement’, but not as much as he hated the word ‘village’, as if ageing made you a peasant or a fool. Herein lives the village idiot.
'Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, world expert on concrete and connoisseur of modernist design, has quarantined himself from life by moving to a retirement village. His wife, Martha, is dead and his two adult children are lost to him in their own ways. Surrounded and obstructed by the debris of his life – objects he has collected over many years and tells himself he is keeping for his daughter – he is determined to be miserable, but is tired of his existence and of the life he has chosen.
'When a series of unfortunate incidents forces him and his neighbour, Jan, together, he begins to realise the damage done by the accumulation of a lifetime’s secrets and lies, and to comprehend his own shortcomings. Finally, Frederick Lothian has the opportunity to build something meaningful for the ones he loves.
'Humorous, poignant and galvanising by turns, Extinctions is a novel about all kinds of extinction – natural, racial, national and personal – and what we can do to prevent them.' (Publication summary)
'A Guide to Berlin” is the name of a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1925, when he was a young man of 26, living in Berlin.
'A group of six international travellers, two Italians, two Japanese, an American and an Australian, meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. Each is enthralled in some way to the work of Vladimir Nabokov, and each is finding their way in deep winter in a haunted city. A moment of devastating violence shatters the group, and changes the direction of everyone's story.
'Brave and brilliant, A Guide to Berlin traces the strength and fragility of our connections through biographies and secrets. ' (Publication summary)
'Meticulously using contemporary newspaper reports, court records, published memoirs, private letters and diaries, Michael Wilding tells the story of three troubled geniuses of Australian writing and their world of poetry and poverty, alcohol and opiates, horse-racing and theatre, journalism and publishing. Gordon shot himself, unable to pay the printer of his poems; Kendall ended up in a mental hospital after forging a cheque, and Clarke died bankrupt for a second time.' (Publication summary)
'A children’s game in an overgrown garden is the first hint of a troubling presence in the old house ‘Eldershaw’. But is the haunting a memory of the past inscribed in the stonework or a discord the occupants have brought with them?
'At the heart of Stephen Edgar’s compelling new collection are three interlinked narrative poems ranging forwards and backwards in time from the Second World War to the present day. Drawing on personal experience, reimagined and transformed through the lens of fiction, they enact those charged episodes which shape and scar the lives of several characters. From the dim rooms of ‘Eldershaw’, to the recollected infernos of war, to the uncanny waters of a seaside pool, these narratives affect us with a moving and haunting power.
'The book is completed by sixteen shorter lyrics in Edgar’s more characteristic manner, some glancing at or directly treating themes from the narratives.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.With Ashley Hay's The Railwayman's Wife.
'In 1915 sisters Naomi and Sally Durance answer a call for nurses to join the war effort. They are escaping the family dairy farm in the Macleay Valley, and they carry a secret with them. Soon they are in Egypt, where they are put to work on the Red Cross hospital ship Archimedes as it patrols the Dardanelles. On Archimedes they witness Mars in all his ferocity, as he pummels soldiers in the massive, brutal metal brawl that is Gallipoli. Yet the sisters and their newfound nursing friends, with whom they will witness undreamt-of carnage and take care of unspeakably blighted men, find themselves courageous in the face of the horror.
'Naomi, Sally and their gang are then sent to northern Europe, where Naomi nurses in the visionary Australian Voluntary Hospital run by the committed and eccentric Lady Tarlton, and Sally in a casualty clearing station next to the Western Front. Here, again, they must face the inhumanity of war in its many terrible guises - where trench warfare and gas abound. But it is here, too, that the sisters meet the remarkable men with whom they wish to spend the rest of their lives.
'Inspired by journals of Australian nursing sisters who gave their all to the Great War effort and the men they nursed, The Daughters Of Mars is vast in scope yet extraordinarily intimate. This is Keneally at the height of his storytelling powers; a stunning tour de force to join the best of First World War literature, and one that casts a fresh light on the challenges faced by the Australian men and women who voluntarily risked their lives for peace.' (From the publisher's website.)
'The sound of horses' hooves turns hollow on the farms west of Wirri. If a man can still ride, if he hasn't totally lost the use of his legs, if he hasn't died to the part of his heart that understands such things, then he should go for a gallop. At the very least he should stand at the road by the river imagining that he's pushing a horse up the steep hill that leads to the house on the farm once known as One Tree.
'Set in hardscrabble farming country and around the country show high-jumping circuit that prevailed in rural New South Wales prior to the Second World War, Foal's Bread tells the story of two generations of the Nancarrow family and their fortunes as dictated by the vicissitudes of the land.
'It is a love story of impossible beauty and sadness, a chronicle of dreams 'turned inside out', and miracles that never last, framed against a world both tender and unspeakably hard. Written in luminous prose and with an aching affinity for the landscape the book describes, Foal's Bread is the work of a born writer at the height of her considerable powers. It is a stunning work of remarkable originality and power, one that confirms Gillian Mears' reputation as one of our most exciting and acclaimed writers.' (From the publisher's website.)
'The Water Dreamers is the story of the settlement of Australia: of the scarcity of water and the need to fill an imagined silence with the sounds of civilisation. From the moment the First Fleeters stepped ashore, water determined progress. The Tank Stream that flowed through what is now the Sydney CBD provided fresh water until settlers and their livestock fouled it. Then water from a nearby swamp was piped into the growing settlement. When it ran dry sights were set further afield.
'The Water Dreamers is an illuminating account of the ways people have imagined and interpreted Australia while struggling to understand this continent and striving to conquer its obstacles. It's an environmental history and a cultural history with an unmistakable sense of how, today, we are part of that continuing story.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Joe Cashin was different once. He moved easily then; was surer and less thoughtful. But there are consequences when you've come so close to dying. For Cashin, they included a posting away from the world of Homicide to the quiet place on the coast where he grew up. Now all he has to do is play the country cop and walk the dogs. And sometimes think about how he was before.
'Then prominent local Charles Bourgoyne is bashed and left for dead. Everything seems to point to three boys from the nearby Aboriginal community; everyone seems to want it to. But Cashin is unconvinced. And as tragedy unfolds relentlessly into tragedy, he finds himself holding onto something that might be better let go.'
Source: Publisher's website (Sighted 22/8/11)
The Turning comprises seventeen overlapping stories of second thoughts and mid-life regret set in the brooding small-town world of coastal Western Australia. Here are turnings of all kinds - changes of heart, nasty surprises, slow awakenings, sudden detours - where people struggle against the terrible weight of the past and challenge the lives they've made for themselves.
These elegiac stories examine the darkness and frailty of ordinary people and celebrate the moments when the light shines through.Announced in 2005. Joint winner with Alan Wearne for The Lovemakers.
'"I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false."
'In TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semi-literate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.' (From the publisher's website.)Award is accompanied by the H. T. Priestley Medal
'A leader of the Young Ireland rebellion of 1848, Robert Devereaux is an Irish gentleman who is prepared to hazard a life of privilege in the fight for his country's freedom. transported to Van Diemen's land as a political prisoner, he enters a life that greatly changes him, falling in love with a young Irish convict woman. Through Kathleen O'Rahilly he comes to know the people he's long romanticised; but his cause, and the life he has lost, will not let him go.'
Source: Publisher's blurb (HarperCollins 2013 ed.)