The Barbara Ramsden Award is sponsored by the Fellowship of Australian Writers as part of the National Literary Awards. It is a major literary award for a book of quality writing in any field of literature, and it recognises the contributions by both author and editor in producing the final product.
The award, named after esteemed Melbourne editor B. M. Ramsden, started in 1971 and ran until 1992. It was revived in 2006 with the support of the Society of Editors (Victoria) Inc.
This award was cancelled in 2016.
'Craig Munro began his blue-pencil adventures at the University of Queensland Press in 1971. Over the next thirty years, he became friend, counsellor, and occasionally foil to some of the country's leading authors.
'From a champagne-fuelled telegram to Patrick White to a run-in with Xavier Herbert, Craig's editorial life was punctuated by encounters with remarkable writers. Championing the early works of Peter Carey, right up to the Booker–winning True History of the Kelly Gang, Craig also edited David Malouf's first novel, Johnno. He was teased by Murray Bail's tantalising mind games, discovered a passion for Olga Masters' fiction, and helped create UQP's acclaimed Indigenous list.
'Blending book history with memoir, Under Cover explores the invisible art of editing from an insider's perspective. Told with warmth and humour, it is a wise, entertaining tour of three audacious, intoxicating, and ultimately inspiring decades of publishing mayhem.
Jointly awarded to the author Craig Monro and his editor Julia Carlomagno.
'The much-anticipated second volume of former labor prime minister Gough Whitlam's biography.
'In the first volume acclaimed biographer Jenny Hocking illuminated Whitlam's path to power, and here she recreates the excitement of Whitlam's historic win in 1972, the forces that never accepted his ascendency and the tragedy that followed. Drawing on previously unseen archival material, extensive interviews with family and colleagues as well as exclusive interviews with the man himself, this second volume finally exposes the truth about the Whitlam years.' (Publisher's blurb)
'Each step becomes a heartbeat and I feel the distance between Omed and me closing. I remember when I first met him - when he had showed me what bravery meant. How he had stood up for what he believed. In the end that had been his undoing.
'Omed is a boy from Afghanistan. After making an enemy of the Taliban on the day the Buddhas of Bamiyan are destroyed, he undertakes a perilous journey to seek asylum in Australia. Hector is a grieving Australian boy who has given up on school and retreated into silence. Their paths meet at a candle factory where they both find work. But secrets fester behind the monotonous routine of assembling wax and wicks - secrets with terrible consequences. And, ultimately, it is up to Hector to see how the story ends.
'Omed's and Hector's beautifully told and compelling journeys will grip hold of your heart and not let go.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Night Street is the passionate story of a young painter, Clarice Beckett, who defies society's strict conventions and indifferent art critics alike and leads an intense private and professional life. With her extraordinary talent for making simple city and seascapes haunting and mysteriously revelatory, Clarice paints prolifically and lives largely, overcoming the seemingly confined existence as the spinster daughter in the parental home.
Night Street began with Thornell's first encounter with the paintings of Melbourne artist Clarice Beckett (1887-1935) at the Art Gallery of South Australia. The subtle power of Clarice's highly atmospheric, enigmatic landscapes enabled her to imagine Clarice's inner life and shape an extraordinary novel.' (Publisher's blurb)Awarded to the author, Kristel Thornell and the publisher's editor, Clara Finlay.
'On 23 May 1912, American Walter Burley Griffin was announced to the world as the winner of the international design competition for the new Australian capital to be built on a sheep paddock they called Canberra. Almost a century later, Griffin's design - but most of all its implementation - is still hotly debated. Who was this man and what was his vision? How did he come to Canberra, what happened once the Australian establishment tore him to shreds, and what was the role of his wife, helpmate, fellow architect and equal creative partner, Marion Mahony Griffin?
'In this definitive new biography of Griffin husband and wife, Alasdair McGregor delineates the role each played in the production of their greatest works - Canberra, Castlecrag, Newman College and the rest - and charts their lives, from their childhoods and meeting in Chicago in the employ of the larger than life Frank Lloyd Wright, to their battles in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, and their swansong in India.
'This is a tale of many parts. It traces the lives of two individuals of great talent and vision and their fight against mediocrity. It is the story of the birth of Canberra, one that tells us as much about the Griffins as it does about ourselves and the troubled birth of the Australian national identity. It is a portrait of a pioneering woman who achieved extraordinary things but was rarely credited with that achievement. And it is an examination of the nature of fame in a young country uncertain of its position in the world.
'The Griffins' story resonates through the years, and their fight to see their idealistic vision realised is one that goes on in Australia today.' (From the publisher's website.)Jointly awarded to the author Alasdair McGregor and the publisher's editor Nicola Young.
'Steven Muir, August Spiess and his daughter Gertrude, and Lang Tzu all acknowledge a restless sense of cultural displacement, an ambivalence in their relations with the culture of European Australia. Steven left England for Australia as a young man and his one attempt at returning is unsuccessful. August Spiess, although he speaks frequently of returning to his native Hamburg, fails to make the journey, as does his daughter Gertrude. Lang Tzu's very name defines his fate: 'two characters which in Mandarin signify the son who goes away.
'The 'game', however, does have winners. For despite their yearnings for the home of their ancestral dreams, a desire to belong somewhere that is truly their own, none of Miller's characters leaves Australia, and each in their own way comes to see that to be at home in exile may be a defining paradox of the European Australian condition: the paradox of belonging and estrangement that perhaps lies uneasily at the heart of all European cultures.'
Source: Bookseller's blurb.
'This was life: no sooner had you built yourself your little raft and felt secure than it came to pieces under you and you were swimming again.
'Born into a world without welcome, Isobel observes it as warily as an alien trying to pass for a native. Her collection of imaginary friends includes the Virgin Mary and Sherlock Holmes. Later she meets Byron, W.H. Auden and T.S. Eliot. Isobel is not so much at ease with the flesh-and-blood people she meets, and least of all with herself, until a lucky encounter and a little detective work reveal her identity and her true situation in life.' (Publication summary)
'To an Australian writer visiting Heidelberg, the brilliant young philosophy student Wolfi is a compelling character. From the start, the details of Wolfi's life are curious - from his inquisitorial father and passionate mother to the grandmother who pays for his sexual initiation with a prostitute and to his connections with the outlandish rogue Karl.
'As we are lured by Wolfi's obsession into the mysterious and erotic maze of this novel, we find nothing is as it appears.
'What in fact is fact and what in fiction is fiction?' (Publication summary)
'Stories told from the point of view of Beatie, a young girl growing up in Brisbane, (Publication summary)recreate family relationships and trace the path from adolescence to adulthood.'
'Miss Hester Harper, middle-aged and eccentric, brings Katherine into her emotionally impoverished life. Together they sew, cook gourmet dishes for two, run the farm, make music and throw dirty dishes down the well. One night, driving along the deserted track that leads to the farm, they run into a mysterious creature. They heave the body from the roo bar and dump it into the farm's deep well. But the voice of the injured intruder will not be stilled and, most disturbing of all, the closer Katherine is drawn to the edge of the well, the farther away she gets from Hester.' (From the publisher's website.)
'The back-of-beyond New South Wales hamlet of Whitey's Fall is the home of a secret, solitary boy seeking love, two young men who crave the same woman, and an earnest, bumbling, and provocative government man.' (Publisher's blurb)
'In 1918 at Compiègne, France, a group of intractable men negotiate to forge the armistice ending World War I. The Allies press for total submission; the Germans angle for compromise. So they talk on and on, while the guns roar and men die.'
A classic interpretative study of HHR's fiction and its genesis in the life and temperament of the author, and a scholarly critical study which broke new ground on its publication. It examines the psychological necessity underlying HHR's artistic creations, and provides a firm factual base from which to assess her achievement.
Includes selected bibliography and index.