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The Calibre Prize
or Calibre Essay Prize
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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History

First awarded in 2007, the Calibre Prize for an Outstanding Essay is given by Australian Book Review. The prize is the key Australian award for an original essay.

The Calibre Prize is intended 'to generate brilliant new essays and to foster new insights into culture, society, and the human condition'. Essays from leading authors, commentators, and emerging writers are welcomed, and all non-fiction subjects are eligible.

Source: https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/prizes/calibre-prize Sighted: 3/12/2013.

Winners

2019 winner Grace Karskens for 'Nah Doongh’s Song'
2018 winner 'We Three Hundred' Lucas Grainger-Brown , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 400 2018; (p. 45-51)

'I signed away ten years of my life at high school. Three hundred or so teenagers did likewise around the country; from Sydney and Melbourne to the wind-rustle quiet of burnt umber townships. We had similar reasons – wanting to be heroes and leaders, chasing self-respect, escaping loose ends, following Simpson and his donkey.' (Introduction)

2017 winner Salt Blood Michael Adams , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , June-July no. 392 2017; The Best Australian Essays 2017 2017; (p. 215-230)
'It is quiet and cool and dark blue. At this depth the pressure on my body is double what it is at the surface: my heartbeat has slowed, blood has started to withdraw from my extremities and move into the space my compressed lungs have created. I am ten metres underwater on a breath-hold dive, suspended at the point of neutral buoyancy where the weight of the water above cancels my body’s natural flotation. I turn head down, straighten my body, kick gently, and begin to fall with the unimpeded gravitational pull to the heart of the Earth.' (Introduction)
2016 winner The Great Red Whale Michael Winkler , 2016 single work prose
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , June-July no. 382 2016; (p. 31-38)
2015 winner 'Staying with the Trouble' Sophie Cunningham , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 371 2015; (p. 24-29) The Best Australian Essays 2015 2015;
'Percy Grainger walked to avoid self-flagellation. David Sedaris walked to placate his Fitbit. Virginia Woolf walked the streets of London, and later the South Downs, endlessly: because she loved it, because she was walking her dogs, because she needed to think clearly. For Henry Thoreau, every walk was a sort of 'crusade'. Sarah Marquis, who walked 16,000 kilometres over three years, sought a return to an essential self 'You become what nature needs you to be: this wild thing.'I Will Self began walking after he gave up heroin, though in his novel Walking to Hollywood (2010) the protagonist walks not to escape addiction but because he fears he has Alzheimer's. This feels familiar. My brother jokes about starting a group called Running Away from Dementia. Sometimes, catching sight of my reflected posture on a walk, I wonder if I am doing the same thing, walking away from fate. If so, could one ever walk fast enough?' (Publication abstract)
2014 winner Unearthing the Past Christine Piper , 2014 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 360 2014; (p. 32-42)
Christine Piper dedicated the award 'to the activists who have spent years campaigning and raising awareness about this dark chapter of Japan’s past.’
2013 winner Martin Thomas for the essay 'Because It’s Your Country'
2012 winner Body and Soul : Copyright Law and Enforcement in the Age of the Electronic Book Matt Rubinstein , 2012 2012 single work essay
— Appears in: Hermano Cerdo 2006-;

— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 344 2012; (p. 33-34, 36-38, 40-41)
2011 joint winner Who Killed Matilda? Moira McKinnon , 2011 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , July-August no. 333 2011; (p. 21-30)
'An Indigenous story drawn from Moira McKinnon's years working as a government adviser on communicable diseases.' Source: www.ehealthspace.org/ (Sighted 15/07/2011).
Joint winner with Dean Biron for 'The Death of A Writer.'
2011 joint winner The Death of the Writer Dean Biron , 2011 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 331 2011; (p. 36-44)
Joint winner with Moira McKinnon for 'Who Killed Matilda?'
2010 joint winner Seeing Truganini David Hansen , 2010 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 321 2010; (p. 45-53)

David Hansen discusses 'the recent abortive sale of Benjamin Law's busts of Truganini and Woureddy and ... the controversy surrounding the promulgation of historical artefacts depicting Tasmanian Aborigines. Dr Hansen deplores the stigma surrounding such works, and is critical of academic and curatorial timidity and silence.'

Source: Australian Book Review, 'Advances', May 2010

Joint winner with Lorna Hallahan for 'On Being Odd'.
2010 joint winner On Being Odd Lorna Hallahan , 2010 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 321 2010; (p. 24-29) The Best Australian Essays 2010 2010; (p. 287-299)

'In "On Being Odd", Lorna Hallahan ... writes about a different form of stigmatisation: the marginalisation of the different, the disabled, the supposedly "odd" or "grotesque".'

Source: Australian Book Review, 'Advances', May 2010

Joint winner with David Hansen for 'Seeing Truganini'.
2009 joint winner What're Yer Lookin' at Yer Fuckin' Dog? : Violence and Fear in Zizek's Post-Political Neighbourhood Kevin Brophy , 2009 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 310 2009; (p. 26-33) The Best Australian Essays 2009 2009; (p. 79-99)
2009 joint winner Footprints Jane R. Goodall , 2009 2009 single work essay
— Appears in: Hermano Cerdo 2006-;

— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 310 2009; (p. 37-46)
'"Footprints" is all about connections, starting with the strange ways that stories have of cross-linking their themes and images, even across great distances of space, time and culture. Ultimately, it's about the connection between the earth and the human foot.' (Author's note, included in an Australian Book Review media release, 17 March 2009)
2008 joint winner A Storm and a Teacup Mark Tredinnick , 2008 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , February no. 298 2008; (p. 27-31)
Fom his base at a farmhouse near the Wingecarribbee River, New South Wales, Mark Tredinnick draws on Zen philosophy to find a way to live harmoniously with his environment.
Joint winner with Rachel Robertson's 'Reaching One Thousand'.
2008 joint winner Reaching One Thousand Rachel Robertson , 2008 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , February no. 298 2008; (p. 32-38)
Joint with Mark Tredinnick's 'A Storm and a Teacup'
2007 inaugural winner An die Nachgeborenen : For Those Who Come After Elisabeth Holdsworth , 2007 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , February no. 288 2007; (p. 19-29)
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