The ACT Government offers the ACT Book of the Year Award annually for excellence in literature. The Award recognises quality contemporary Australian literary works including fiction, non-fiction and poetry, by ACT-based authors published in the previous calendar year.
The author may include an editor or translator who, in the opinion of the judges, has made a substantial and creative contribution to the original material from which the book is derived.
Source: http://www.arts.act.gov.au/funding/types-of-funding/act-book-of-the-year-award Sighted: 10/12/2013.
'London, 1321: In a small shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a book of hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world. In many ways, this is a story about power - it is also a novel about the place of women in the roiling and turbulent world of the early fourteenth century; what power they have, how they wield it, and just how temporary and conditional it is.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
‘When he was in gaol, he’d begun to prepare himself for the fight of his life, a showdown with the policeman, McWilliams … he’d face life with death, and see who blinked first.’
'Blackie and Rips are fresh out of prison when they set off on a road trip back to Wiradjuri country with their mate Carlos. Blackie is out for revenge against the cop who put him in prison on false grounds. He is also craving to reconnect with his grandmother’s country.
'Driven by his hunger for drugs and payback, Blackie reaches dark places of both mystery and beauty as he searches for peace. He is willing to pay for that peace with his own life.
'Part road-movie, part ‘Koori-noir’, Dancing Home announces an original and darkly funny new voice.'
[source: Publisher's website]
'There are times in your life when something happens, after which you're never the same. It may be something direct or indirect, or something someone says to you. But whatever it is, there is no going back.
'Paris: 1989. Recently retired police inspector Auguste Jovert receives a letter from a woman who claims to be his daughter. Two days later, a stranger comes knocking on his door…
'Set in France and Japan, The Snow Kimono tells the stories of Jovert, former Professor of Law Tadashi Omura, and his one-time friend the writer Katsuo Ikeda. All three have lied to themselves, and to each other. Their lies are about to catch up with them.
'A quarter of a century after the award-winning bestseller Out of the Line of Fire, Mark Henshaw returns with an intricately plotted, beautifully written novel that is both a psychological thriller and an unforgettable meditation on love and loss, memory and its deceptions, and the ties that bind us to others.' (Publication summary)
'At the stroke of midnight on 20 May 2002, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste became the first new nation of the 21st century. From that moment, those who fought for independence have faced a challenge even bigger than shaking off Indonesian occupation: running a country of their own.
Beloved Land picks up the story where world attention left off. Blending narrative history, travelogue, and personal reminiscences based on four years of living in the country, Gordon Peake shows the daunting hurdles that the people of Timor-Leste must overcome to build a nation from scratch, and how much the international community has to learn if it is to help rather than hinder the process. Family politics, squabbles, power struggles, old romances, and even older grudges are woven into life in this land of intrigue and rumours in the most remarkable ways.
Yet above all, Beloved Land is a story about the one million East Timorese who speak nearly 20 different languages, and who are exuberantly building their nation. Written with verve and deep affection, the book introduces a set of colourful Timorese and international characters, and brings them to life unforgettably.' (Publisher's blurb)
'Valley of Grace is an interwoven narrative of modern day Paris.
'Fanny and Gerard fall in love in a way that surprises even them as their lives fill with good sex and loving companionship. But they long for a child to complete their happiness. Two of Fanny's lesbian friends feel similarly driven by the need to have a child. But how to make that possible?
'Jean-Marie is an internationally regarded professor of philosophy whose adoring students are willing sexual partners fulfilling the tenets of his libertarianism. But perhaps philosophy can't bear the weight of human emotion.
'When Gerard buys a beautiful old house in the suburbs, the disturbing contents of the attic binds the stories into an intriguing and darkly disturbing knot. (Publisher's blurb)
'In May 2006, armed only with a small rucksack and a staff, Tony Kevin, an overweight, sedentary, 63-year-old former diplomat, set off on an eight-week trek across Spain. But this was not just a very long walk - it was a pilgrimage.
'From Granada, in the southeast, to Santiago de Compostela, in the far northwest, Tony followed the Via Mozarabe and the Via de la Plata, two of the many pilgrim trails that crisscross Spain and Portugal and that all lead to a single destination. In the Middle Ages, the cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela was Europe's most famous centre of pilgrimage, and in recent years it has enjoyed a remarkable revival; every day towards noon, hundreds of hot, tired, and dusty pilgrims stream into Santiago Cathedral for the daily Pilgrim's Mass.
'What, in our busy, materialistic 21st century, is this apparently anachronistic phenomenon all about? What drives tens of thousands of people of all nationalities and creeds to make long, exhausting walks across the cold mountains and hot tablelands of Spain, to take part finally in a mediaeval Christian liturgy of spiritual renewal and reconciliation with God?
'Walking the Camino beautifully captures the flavour of what it was like to walk the camino, and is filled with fascinating observations and anecdotes about the nature of contemporary Spain. And, unavoidably, because pilgrimage is such a deeply personal experience that has the potential to unlock the deepest recesses of hidden memory and conscience, it is also a profound personal meditation on the nature of modern life.' (Publisher's blurb)
'Vera. Miriam, Laura - one family, three generations - with Miriam at the centre, balancing the needs of her mother and daughter with those of her marriage and career. Vera is slipping into the darkness of Alzheimer's disease, while Laura is embroiled in teenage conflicts of identity and sexuality. In her professional life, Miriam is able to help others unlock the past through the simple power of words. So, what prevents her from doing it for those closest to her? And for herself...? The answer to this painful dilemma emerges not so much from within Miriam herself, but from the hard, raw experience of the migrant and refugee women she teaches. Their stories resonate with her own, and she finds herself sustained in her own crisis by their strength and laughter.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'She has been banished from the city to a remote area and a murdered girl lands on her doorstep ...Danielle has always been 'linked' to others so when her links were cut and she was banished from the city it was a shock in more ways than one. She no longer had fast access to information, food, friends - anything. Now she will fend for herself and she is notorious for having been part of an experimental type of linking with 3 others. They are either dead or dead to Danielle anyway. Then, soon after moving in, an injured young girl turns up on her doorstep - the girl soon dies and Danielle cannot let go of the mystery of her death. With Neil, who lives in a neighbouring commune, she begins to make enquiries at places all over the countryside and starts suspecting that someone is making illegal modifications to humans - could it be that vampirism is becoming a trait in some humans from this illegal activity? And, if so, how far has it gone - can Danielle find the source before they are all dead?'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'I should ask your department's accountant whether he's missing nine hundred thousand bucks. This is the anonymous message that will change Sandra Mahoney's life.
'When a powerful but unpopular bureaucrat is accused of theft and computer fraud, Sandra is convinced that the charge is false. But how to track down the culprit when almost anyone could be an enemy? In her search for the truth, Sandra finds herself in a battle of wits against an elusive and unscrupulous opponent, a battle in which no-one's allegiance can be taken for granted.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.First prize shared between Dorothy Johnston and Alan Gould (The Schoonermaster's Dance)
'Sarah Tilber has a passion for history. Captivated by the mysterious Charlie Tilber she embarks on a journey across the world, determined to uncover his secrets. But as she becomes more deeply involved in her project Sarah begins to lose her ties with the present, drifting away on the sea of the past. It is left to her friend, Jenn, to piece together the fragments of two lives and thereby uncover a haunting which stretches across the Tilber generations.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.First prize shared between Alan Gould and Dorothy Johnston (The Trojan Dog)
'In this witty and satirical revisiting of Australia’s heroic past, Craig Cormick rediscovers the contributions of Indigenous Australians that have always remained unrecorded and unacknowledged, Australia’s unwritten histories.'
'Drawing on original records of the time, he has turned the spotlight away from its traditional focus to illuminate those whom history has forgotten. Great explorers, teachers, warriors and dreamers, who were there when Banks first saw a Banksia or when explorers Burke and Wills staggered on from Coopers Creek, but they have vanished simply because their stories were unrecorded.' (Publication summary)