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The National Year of Reading 2012 Our Story Collection
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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The National Year of Reading campaign was initiated by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) in 2012. The purpose was to help build a nation of readers, augmenting and adding to the wealth of ongoing reading initiatives across Australia.

The Our Story program was aimed at an adult audience and it set out to identify a set of eight books representing the remote, regional, suburban and metropolitan aspects of Australia, which could be collated as the National Year of Reading 2012 collection.

(Source and more information :


  • An initiative by Australia's National Year of Reading 2012 to chose a collection of eight books, one for each state and territory, 'which, read together, describe the Australian experience'. The state and territory shortlists, chosen by independent panels of readers, were announced in 2011 and the list of eight winning titles announced 14 February, 2012, at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

    Source: National Year of Reading 2012 website, (sighted : 21/02/2012)

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2012

winner (Australian Capital Territory) y separately published work icon Smoke and Mirrors : A Brad Chen Novel Kel Robertson , Port Adelaide : Ginninderra Press , 2008 Z1533116 2008 single work novel crime detective

'Ace detective Brad Chen is lured back to work by the double murder of a Whitlam government minister and the editor of his political memoirs. The body count rises as Chen uncovers the deadly secret behind the most momentous events in Australian political history.'

Source: Ginninderra Press website, (Sighted 30/09/2008)

See NYOR Our Story winners.
winner (New South Wales) y separately published work icon The Idea of Home : Autobiographical Essays John Hughes , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2004 Z1157549 2004 selected work autobiography See NYOR Our Story winners.
winner (Northern Territory) y separately published work icon Listening to Country : A Journey to the Heart of What It Means to Belong Ros Moriarty , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2010 Z1705968 2010 single work autobiography

'Ros Moriarty is a white woman married to an Aboriginal man. Over the course of many visits to her husband's family, she was fascinated to discover that the older tribal women had a deep sense of happiness and purpose that transcended the abject material poverty, illness and increasing violence of their community - a happiness that she feels is related to an essential 'warmth of heart' that these women say has gone missing in today's world.

'In May 2006, she had the chance to spend time in the Tanami Desert in northern central Australia with 200 Aboriginal women, performing women's Law ceremonies. Listening to Country is the story of that trip and her friendship with these women, as she tells their stories and passes on their wisdom and understanding.

'Offering a privileged window into the spiritual and emotional world of Aboriginal women, this book is a moving story of common human experience, the getting and passing on of wisdom, and the deep friendship and bonds between women. It carries a moving and profound sense of optimism in the fundamental humanity we all share.' (From the publisher's website.)

See NYOR Our Story winners.
winner (Queensland) y separately published work icon The White Earth Andrew McGahan , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2004 Z1113518 2004 single work novel (taught in 14 units)

'His father dead by fire and his mother plagued by demons of her own, William is cast upon the charity of his unknown uncle - an embittered old man encamped in the ruins of a once great station homestead, Kuran House. It's a baffling and sinister new world for the boy, a place of decay and secret histories. His uncle is obsessed by a long life of decline and by a dark quest for revival, his mother is desperate for a wealth and security she has never known, and all their hopes it seems come to rest upon William's young shoulders. But as the past and present of Kuran Station unravel and merge together, the price of that inheritance may prove to be the downfall of them all. The White Earth is a haunting, disturbing and cautionary tale.' (publisher's website)

See NYOR Our Story winners.
winner (South Australia) y separately published work icon Time's Long Ruin : A Novel The Second Fouling Mark Stephen Orr , 2008 Kent Town : Wakefield Press , 2009 Z1665396 2008 single work novel 'Nine-year-old Henry Page is a club-footed, deep-thinking loner, spending his summer holidays reading, roaming the melting streets of his suburb, playing with his best friend Janice, and her younger brother and sister. Until one day Janice asks Henry to spend the day at the beach with them. He declines, a decision that will stay with him forever. Time's Long Ruin is based loosely on the disappearance of the Beaumont children from Glenelg beach on Australia Day, 1966. It's a novel about friendship, love and loss; a story about those left behind, and how they carry on.' (Publisher's blurb) See NYOR Our Story winners.
winner (Tasmania) y separately published work icon Wanting Richard Flanagan , North Sydney : Knopf Australia , 2008 Z1534034 2008 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 5 units)

'It is 1839. A young Aboriginal girl, Mathinna, is running through the long wet grass of an island at the end of the world to get help for her dying father, an Aboriginal chieftain. Twenty years later, on an island at the centre of the world, the most famous novelist of the day, Charles Dickens, realises he is about to abandon his wife, risk his name, and forever after be altered because of his inability any longer to control his intense passion.

'Connecting the two events are the most celebrated explorer of the age, Sir John Franklin - then governor of Van Diemen's Land - and his wife, Lady Jane, who adopt Mathinna, seen as one of the last of a dying race, as an experiment. Lady Jane believes the distance between savagery and civilisation is the learned capacity to control wanting. The experiment fails, the Franklins throw the child onto the streets and into a life of prostitution and alcoholism. A few years later Mathinna is found dead in a puddle. She is nineteen years old. By then Sir John too is dead, lost in the blue ice of the Arctic seeking the North West Passage. A decade later evidence emerges that in its final agony, Franklin's expedition resorted to the level and practice of savages: cannibalism. Lady Jane enlists Dickens's aid to put an end to such scandalous suggestions.

'Dickens becomes ever more entranced in the story of men entombed in ice, recognising in its terrible image his own frozen inner life. He produces and stars in a play inspired by Franklin's fate to give story to his central belief: that discipline and will can conquer desire. And yet the play will bring him to the point where he is finally no longer able to control his own wanting and the consequences it brings.

'Based on historic events, Wanting is a novel about art, love, and the way in which life is finally determined never by reason, but only ever by wanting.' (Provided by publisher.)

See NYOR Our Story winners.
winner (Victoria) y separately published work icon Well Done, Those Men : Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran Barry Heard , Melbourne : Scribe , 2005 Z1188305 2005 single work autobiography

'Australian Vietnam vet Barry Heard draws on his own experiences as a young conscript, along with those of his comrades, to look back at life before, during, and after the Vietnam War. The result is a sympathetic vision of a group of young men who were sent off to war completely unprepared for the emotional and psychological impact it would have on them. It is also a vivid and searingly honest portrayal of the author's post-war, slow-motion breakdown, and how he dealt with it. Well Done, Those Men attempts to make sense of what Vietnam did to the soldiers who fought there. It deals with the comic absurdity of their military training and the horror of the war they fought, and is unforgettably moving in recounting what happened to Barry and his comrades when they returned home. As we now know, most Vietnam vets had to deal with a community that shunned them, and with their own depression, trauma, and guilt. Barry Heard's sensitive account of his long journey home from Vietnam is a tribute to his mates, and an inspiring story of a life reclaimed.' (Publication summary)

See NYOR Our Story winners.
winner (Western Australia) y separately published work icon Jasper Jones Craig Silvey , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2009 Z1571013 2009 single work novel

'Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress.

'Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu.

'And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.' (Publisher's blurb)

See NYOR Our Story winners.

Works About this Award

Our Stories 2012 selected work extract
— Appears in: Writing Queensland , October no. 223 2012; (p. 6-7)
A Novel Based on the 1966 Disappearance of the Beaumont Children Deborah Bogle , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 14 February 2012; (p. 22)