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Winners

2016 winner y separately published work icon This House of Grief Helen Garner , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2014 7674634 2014 single work non-fiction (taught in 3 units)

'Anyone can see the place where the children died. You take the Princes Highway past Geelong, and keep going west in the direction of Colac. Late in August 2006, soon after I had watched a magistrate commit Robert Farquharson to stand trial before a jury on three charges of murder, I headed out that way on a Sunday morning, across the great volcanic plain.

'On the evening of 4 September 2005, Father’s Day, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother, Cindy, when his car left the road and plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven and two, drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garner’s obsession. She followed it on its protracted course until the final verdict.

'In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. She presents the theatre of the courtroom with its actors and audience, all gathered for the purpose of bearing witness to the truth, players in the extraordinary and unpredictable drama of the quest for justice.

'This House of Grief is a heartbreaking and unputdownable book by one of Australia’s most admired writers.' (Publication summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon Boy, Lost : A Family Memoir Kristina Olsson , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2013 Z1923431 2013 single work biography (taught in 2 units)

'Kristina Olsson's mother lost her infant son, Peter, when he was snatched from her arms as she boarded a train in the hot summer of 1950. She was young and frightened, trying to escape a brutal marriage, but despite the violence and cruelty she'd endured, she was not prepared for this final blow, this breathtaking punishment. Yvonne would not see her son again for nearly 40 years.

Kristina was the first child of her mother's subsequent, much gentler marriage and, like her siblings, grew up unaware of the reasons behind her mother's sorrow, though Peter's absence resounded through the family, marking each one. Yvonne dreamt of her son by day and by night, while Peter grew up a thousand miles and a lifetime away, dreaming of his missing mother.

Boy, Lost tells how their lives proceeded from that shattering moment, the grief and shame that stalked them, what they lost and what they salvaged. But it is also the story of a family, the cascade of grief and guilt through generations, and the endurance of memory and faith.' (Publisher's blurb)

2012 winner y separately published work icon Exile : The Lives and Hopes of Werner Pelz Roger Averill , Yarraville : Transit Lounge , 2012 Z1881236 2012 single work biography

'Like the best true life adventures, the story of Werner Pelz is stranger than fiction. Forced to flee Nazi Germany for being Jewish, he was then interned in England for being German. Shipped to Australia on the notorious HMT Dunera, he spent two years in internment camps in Hay and Tatura. After returning to Britain, his life evolved into a spiritual quest that led him to become an Anglican vicar, to author popular books (including God Is No More), to frequently appear on the BBC, and to become a Guardian columnist. Decades after his wartime Australian exile, he returned to teach Sociology at La Trobe University, continuing his search for a new way of thinking, a new mythology.

'In the mid-1980s, a young university student, Roger Averill, was taught by this quietly charismatic man. The two developed an unlikely friendship, one that was to last until Werner's death, after which Roger's research unexpectedly revealed a deeper dimension —a personal life filled with familial drama, pain and poignancy.

'Both memoir and biography, Exile: The Lives and Hopes of Werner Pelz is a compelling account of a remarkable man's life-long search for a truth unbound by orthodoxy. It is also a lyrical evocation of an abiding friendship in which a teacher and a student share the lessons of love and loss, discovering that while the questions they ask have no answers, the act of asking them creates a meaning of its own.' (From the publisher's website.)

2011 winner y separately published work icon Her Father's Daughter Alice Pung , Collingwood : Black Inc. , 2011 Z1799964 2011 single work autobiography 'At twenty-something, Alice is eager for the milestones of adulthood: leaving home, choosing a career, finding friendship and love on her own terms. But with each step she takes she feels the sharp tug of invisible threads: the love and worry of her parents, who want more than anything to keep her from harm. Her father fears for her safety to an extraordinary degree - but why?

'As she digs further into her father's story, Alice embarks on a journey of painful discovery: of memories lost and found, of her own fears for the future, of history and how it echoes down the years. Set in Melbourne, China and Cambodia, Her Father's Daughter captures a father-daughter relationship in a moving and astonishingly powerful way.' (From the publisher's website.)
2010 winner y separately published work icon A Three-Cornered Life : The Historian W. K. Hancock Jim Davidson , Sydney : University of New South Wales Press , 2010 Z1704878 2010 single work biography 'While W.K. Hancock may no longer be described as 'Australia's most distinguished historian', he has some enduring claims to our attention. No other Australian historian - and few elsewhere - can match his 'span', to use one of his watchwords. Hancock was a major historian in four or five fields, who himself made history by going on a mission to Uganda for the British government in 1954 to mediate the future of Buganda after its ruler had been exiled. He was also, from a room in the Cabinet Office in Whitehall, the editor of a vast historical project: the writing of a series of accounts of British mobilisation on the home front during the Second World War. In addition, Hancock was a founder of the Australian National University, while his Australia (1930) remains one of the classic accounts of this country' (Publishers website).
2008 winner y separately published work icon The Tall Man : Death and Life on Palm Island Chloe Hooper , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2008 Z1483259 2008 single work prose (taught in 11 units) In November 2004, in the small township of Palm Island in the far north of Queensland, Detective Hurley arrested Cameron Doomadgee for swearing at him. Doomadgee was drunk. A few hours later he died in a watch-house cell. According to the inquest, his liver was so badly damaged it was almost severed. (Source: Trove)
2007 winner y separately published work icon A Matter of Conscience : Sir Ronald Wilson Antonio Buti , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2007 Z1434611 2007 single work biography 'The first comprehensive biography of former High Court Justice, President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Chancellor of Murdoch University, W.A. Inc. Royal Commissioner and President of the Uniting Church of Australia, the late Sir Ronald Wilson. A Matter of Conscience: Sir Ronald Wilson makes an important contribution to legal and political biography, one that will be of immense public significance and interest, containing, as it does, great insights into this highly complex, thoughtful and talented Australian.' (Publisher's blurb)
2006 joint winner y separately published work icon Rob Riley : An Aboriginal Leader's Quest for Justice Quentin Beresford , Canberra : Aboriginal Studies Press , 2006 Z1269165 2006 single work biography (taught in 3 units) 'Explores Riley's political and personal life as a key Aboriginal activist. A member of the Stolen Generation, he was a major contributor to national politics. Riley's success was based on his charismatic personality and advocacy skills. Centre stage in the fight for land rights, he was closely involved in the establishment of ATSIC, Deaths in Custody and the Stolen Generations and the WA Aboriginal Legal Service.' (Publisher blurb)
2006 joint winner y separately published work icon Arthur Tange : Last of the Mandarins Peter Edwards , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2006 Z1243353 2006 single work biography
2003 joint winner y separately published work icon Shadow Lines Stephen Kinnane , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 2003 Z1051216 2003 single work biography (taught in 5 units) 'The story of Jessie Argyle, born in the remote East Kimberley and taken from her Aboriginal family at the age of five, and Edward Smith, a young Englishman escaping the rigid structures of London. In a society deeply divided on racial lines, Edward and Jessie met, fell in love and, against strong opposition, eventually married. Despite unrelenting surveillance and harassment the Smith home was a centre for Aboriginal cultural and social life for over thirty years.' (Source: back cover, 2003 edition)
2002 joint winner y separately published work icon Out of the Desert : Stories from the Walmajarri Exodus Eirlys Richards (editor), Pat Lowe (editor), Joyce Hudson (editor), Broome : Magabala Books , 2002 Z995900 2002 anthology autobiography short story Indigenous story

This work reveals the stories behind the historic exodus of the Walmajarri people from the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia. Seventeen Walmajarri storytellers give insights into their lives which straddled both the traditional and modern worlds.

2000 joint winner y separately published work icon The Shark Net : Memories and Murder Robert Drewe , Ringwood : Penguin , 2000 Z266419 2000 single work autobiography

'Written with the same lyrical intensity and spellbinding prose that has won Robert Drewe's fiction international acclaim, The Shark Net is set in the 1950s in a city haunted by the menace of an elusive serial killer. Drewe's youth in the middle-class seaside suburb of Perth, Australia—often described as the most isolated city in the world—takes a sinister turn when a social outcast (who turns out to be an employee of Drewe's father) embarks on a five-year murder spree. This unusual memoir brilliantly evokes the confluence of adolescent innocence and sexual awakening while a hare-lipped killer who eventually murders eight people, including one of Drewe's friends, lurks in the shadows.' (Publication summary).

2000 joint winner y separately published work icon Into the Wadi Michèle Drouart , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 2000 Z842221 2000 single work autobiography
1985 joint winner y separately published work icon Reading the Country : Introduction to Nomadology Stephen Muecke , Paddy Roe , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1984 Z841102 1984 anthology prose Indigenous story (taught in 4 units)

'Reading the Country is a journey into Roebuck Plains, near Broome in Australia's far north-west; it is an exploration of the meaning of place, an attempt to chart the relationships between people and those specific places in which they must find a place to live. It is a journey through landscape into language and ideas, and personal and cultural location.' (Source: Publisher's Blurb, 1996 Revised Edition)

1984 joint winner Robert Pascoe
1984 joint winner Hugh Edwards
1982 winner y separately published work icon Nothing to Spare : Recollections of Australian Pioneering Women Jan Carter (editor), Ringwood : Penguin , 1981 8228290 1981 anthology single work autobiography
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