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Non-Fiction Book Award

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Winners

2017 winner y separately published work icon Saltwater : An Epic Fight for Justice in the Tropics We Come From Saltwater People Cathy McLennan , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2016 8150555 2016 single work autobiography

'When Cathy McLennan first steps into Townsville’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as a young graduate she isn’t expecting a major murder case to land on her desk. The accused are four teenage boys whose family connections stretch across the water to Palm Island.

'As she battles to prove herself in the courtroom, Cathy realises that the truth is far more complex than she first thought. She starts to question who are the criminals and who are the victims.

'Saltwater tells the compelling story of one lawyer’s fight for justice amongst the beauty and the violence of this tropical paradise.' (Publication summary)

2016 winner y separately published work icon Small Acts of Disappearance : Essays on Hunger Fiona Wright , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2015 8867320 2015 selected work essay (taught in 1 units)

Small Acts of Disappearance is a collection of ten essays that describes the author's affliction with an eating disorder which begins in high school, and escalates into life-threatening anorexia over the next ten years. Fiona Wright is a highly regarded poet and critic, and her account of her illness is informed by a keen sense of its contradictions and deceptions, and by an awareness of the empowering effects of hunger, which is unsparing in its consideration of the author's own actions and motivations. The essays offer perspectives on the eating disorder at different stages in Wright's life, at university, where she finds herself in a radically different social world to the one she grew up in, in Sri Lanka as a fledgling journalist, in Germany as a young writer, in her hospital treatments back in Sydney. They combine research, travel writing, memoir, and literary discussions of how writers like Christina Stead, Carmel Bird, Tim Winton, John Berryman and Louise Glück deal with anorexia and addiction; together with accounts of family life, and detailed and humorous views of hunger-induced situations of the kind that are so compelling in Wrights poetry. [Trove]

2015 winner y separately published work icon The Bush : Travels in the Heart of Australia Don Watson , Scoresby : Penguin , 2014 7838248 2014 single work prose travel

'Most Australians live in cities and cling to the coastal fringe, yet our sense of what an Australian is – or should be – is drawn from the vast and varied inland called the bush. But what do we mean by 'the bush', and how has it shaped us?

'Starting with his forebears' battle to drive back nature and eke a living from the land, Don Watson explores the bush as it was and as it now is: the triumphs and the ruination, the commonplace and the bizarre, the stories we like to tell about ourselves and the national character, and those we don't. Via mountain ash and mallee, the birds and the beasts, slaughter, fire, flood and drought, swagmen, sheep and their shepherds, the strange and the familiar, the tragedies and the follies, the crimes and the myths and the hope – here is a journey that only our leading writer of non-fiction could take us on.

'At once magisterial in scope and alive with telling, wry detail, The Bush lets us see our landscape and its inhabitants afresh, examining what we have made, what we have destroyed, and what we have become in the process.

'No one who reads it will look at this country the same way again. ' (Publication summary)

2013 y separately published work icon Madness : A Memoir Kate Richards , Camberwell : Viking , 2013 Z1928228 2013 single work autobiography 'It's Not Every Day You Get to Admit You're Mad.

The thing with psychosis is that when I'm sick I believe the delusional stuff to the same degree that you might know the sky is above and the earth below. And if someone were to say to me that the delusional thinking is, in fact, delusional, well that's the same as if I assure you now that we walk on the sky. Of course you wouldn't believe me, and that's why it's sometimes so hard for people who are sick like this to know that they need treatment. Psychosis and severe depression have a huge effect on how you relate to other people and how you see the world. It's a bit like being in a vacuum, or behind a wall of really thick glass . . . you lose any sense of connectedness. You're cast adrift from everyone and everything that matters.

I've lived with acute psychosis and depression for the best part of twenty years. This is the story of my journey from chaos to balance, and from limbo to meaning.' (Publisher's blurb)
2013 winner y separately published work icon Boy, Lost : A Family Memoir Kris 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 The People Smuggler : The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi, the 'Oskar Schindler of Asia' Robin De Crespigny , Camberwell : Viking , 2012 Z1863577 2012 single work biography (taught in 1 units)

'At once a non-fiction thriller and a moral maze, this is one man's epic story of trying to find a safe place in the world.

'When Ali Al Jenabi flees Saddam Hussein's torture chambers, he is forced to leave his family behind in Iraq. What follows is an incredible international odyssey through the shadow world of fake passports, crowded camps and illegal border crossings, living every day with excruciating uncertainty about what the next will bring.

'Through betrayal, triumph, misfortune - even romance and heartbreak - Ali is sustained by his fierce love of freedom and family. Continually pushed to the limits of his endurance, eventually he must confront what he has been forced to become.

'With enormous power and insight, The People Smuggler tells a story of daily heroism, bringing to life the forces that drive so many people to put their lives in unscrupulous hands. It is an utterly gripping portrait of a man cut loose from the protections of civilisation, attempting to retain his dignity and humanity while taking whatever path he can out of an impossible position.' (From the publisher's website.)

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