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National Book Council Award for Australian Literature
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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History

The National Book Council Award for Australian Literature was financed by the Literature Board of the Australia Council and later by The Book Printer. The prizes were shared between the writer and publisher. The criteria included  that each entry must have high literary merit and make an important contribution to Australian literature.

Winners

1987 winner y separately published work icon The Nightmarkets : A Novel Alan Wearne , Ringwood : Penguin , 1986 Z431157 1986 sequence novel
1985 winner y separately published work icon Illywhacker Peter Carey , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1985 Z359598 1985 single work novel (taught in 2 units) In Australian slang, an illywhacker is a country fair con man, an unprincipled seller of fake diamonds and dubious tonics. And Herbert Badgery, may be the king of them all. Vagabond and charlatan, aviator and car salesman, seducer and patriarch, Badgery is a walking embodiment of the Australian national character. (Source: Trove)
1984 winner y separately published work icon The Boy Adeodatus : The Portrait of a Lucky Young Bastard Bernard Smith , Ringwood : Allen Lane , 1984 Z130461 1984 single work autobiography
1983 winner y separately published work icon The Observatory : Selected Poems of Dimitris Tsaloumas Dimitris Tsaloumas , ( trans. Philip Grundy et. al.agent )expression St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1983 Z497455 1983 selected work poetry
1982 winner y separately published work icon A History of Australia Manning Clark , Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 1962-1987 Z1039986 1962-1987 single work non-fiction

'In 1962, the first volume of Manning Clark's "A History of Australia" appeared. For the next two-and-a-half decades Clark unfolded his tragic celebration of white Australian history. Today, the six-volume history is one of the masterpieces of Australian literature. It is also one of the most passionately debated visions of Australian history. Clark's Australians are men and women of lively goodwill and deep sinfulness, of generous idealism and unthinking brutality. He dramatizes the motivating forces of Australian life - cowardice and vision, cruelty and defiance, greatness of spirit and the spiritual vacuity of the suburbs - all of them locked in the unceasing struggle which builds a nation. Michael Cathcart has re-orchestrated Clark's epic narrative in this single volume. Every page of this abridgement rings with Manning Clark's voice. Here, at last, the general reader can encounter the deep resonances, pessimism and passion of Manning Clark - Australian historian and prophet. Michael Cathcart is co-author of "Mission to the South Seas: the Voyage of the Duff" and author of "Defending the National Tuckshop", a study of conservative responses to the Great Depression.' (Publication summary)

Awarded for vol. 5.
1982 winner y separately published work icon John Monash Geoffrey Serle , Melbourne : Melbourne University Press , 1982 Z1065873 1982 single work biography
1981 winner y separately published work icon Moonlite David Foster , South Melbourne : Macmillan , 1981 Z96357 1981 single work novel satire
1980 winner y separately published work icon Homesickness Murray Bail , South Melbourne : Macmillan , 1980 Z108653 1980 single work novel humour (taught in 1 units)

'It could almost have been their own country: these sections with the gums briefly framed like a traditional oil painting by the slowly passing window. The colours were as brown and parched; that chaff-coloured grass, Ah, this dun-coloured realism. Any minute now the cry of the crow or a cockatoo; but no.

'Thirteen men and women travel the world on a package tour but wherever they go nothing is as it seems.

'Challenged by the unexpected, by differences and subtleties, Bail’s tourists are in turn repelled and attracted—and all are altered.' (Publication summary)

1979 winner y separately published work icon The Year of Living Dangerously Christopher Koch , West Melbourne : Nelson , 1978 Z493822 1978 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

'The charismatic god-king Sukarno has brought Indonesia to the edge of chaos - to an abortive revolution that will leave half a million dead. For the Western correspondents here, this gathering apocalypse is their story and their drug, while the sufferings of the Indonesian people are scarcely real: a shadow play. Working at the eye of the storm are television correspondent Guy Hamilton and his eccentric cameraman Billy Kwan. In Kwan's secret fantasy life, both Sukarno and Hamilton are heroes. But his heroes betray him, and Billy is driven to desperate action. As the Indonesian shadow play erupts into terrible reality, a complex personal tragedy of love, obsession and betrayal comes to its climax.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1978 joint winner y separately published work icon Living Black : Blacks Talk to Kevin Gilbert Kevin Gilbert (editor), London Ringwood : Allen Lane , 1977 Z100458 1977 single work interview

'Interviews with urban and tribal Aborigines; first hand accounts by Aborigines of their experiences in Australia today.'

1978 joint winner y separately published work icon Monkey Grip Helen Garner , Melbourne : McPhee Gribble , 1977 Z115661 1977 single work novel (taught in 12 units)

Set in inner suburban 1970s Melbourne, Monkey Grip describes the fluid relationships of a community of friends who are living and loving in new ways. Single parent Nora falls in love with Javo, a heroin addict, and together they try to make sense of their lives and the choices they have made.

1977 winner y separately published work icon An Eyewitness History of Australia Harry Gordon , Adelaide : Rigby , 1976 Z1181066 1976 single work non-fiction For the 1976 edition.
1976 winner y separately published work icon Cape Solitary Ray Ericksen , Melbourne : Heinemann , 1975 Z1181354 1975 single work autobiography Ray Ericksen lived a hermit life on Cape Otway on the sounthern coast of Victoria for a time. This is the story of his experiences.
1975 joint winner y separately published work icon The Odd Angry Shot William Nagle , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1975 Z305662 1975 single work novel war literature

'The Odd Angry Shot is the seminal account of Australian soldiers in the Vietnam War.

'Brief and bracing, tragic yet darkly funny, it portrays a close-knit group of knockabout SAS fighters: their mateship, homesickness and fears; their practical jokes, drinking and fighting. The enemy is not just the Vietcong they’ve been sent to fight, but their superiors, the mud and torrential rain, and boredom.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

1975 joint winner y separately published work icon Without Map or Compass : a novel F. B. Vickers , Sydney : Australasian Book Society , 1974 Z537265 1974 single work autobiography novel
1975 joint winner y separately published work icon The Electrical Experience : A Discontinuous Narrative Frank Moorhouse , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1974 Z397167 1974 selected work short story satire (taught in 5 units)
1975 joint winner y separately published work icon Lunch and Counter Lunch Les Murray , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1974 Z305074 1974 selected work poetry
1975 joint winner y separately published work icon A Collapsible Man Laurie Clancy , Melbourne : Outback Press , 1975 Z172200 1975 single work novel
1974 winner y separately published work icon The Drift of Things : An Autobiography 1914-52 Roland Robinson , Melbourne : Macmillan Australia , 1973 Z425159 1973 single work autobiography
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