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Nita May Dobbie Award
Subcategory of Kibble Literary Awards Kibble Literary Awards Nita Kibble Literary Award
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History

The Nita May Dobbie Literary Award recognises a first published work from an Australian woman writer. Established in 1994 under the will of Nita May Dobbie, the Dobbie is one of a pair of awards – the Nita B. Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers. Both awards recognise female writers who have published fiction or non-fiction classified as 'life writing'. This includes novels, autobiographies, biographies, literature and any writing with a strong personal element.

The award was not awarded in 2020, due to a review of the funding trust and the award processes.

Source: http://www.perpetual.com.au/kibble/awards.htm Sighted: 15/11/2013.

Winners

2018 winner y separately published work icon The Trauma Cleaner The Trauma Cleaner : One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster Sarah Krasnostein , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 11873511 2017 single work biography

'I call my dad from the car and ask him about his morning, tell him about mine.

'‘What kind of hoarder was she?’ he asks.

'‘Books and cats, mainly,’ I tell the man who loves his cats and who I know is now actively considering his extensive book collection.

'‘What’s the difference between a private library and a book hoarder?’ he wonders.

'We are both silent before we laugh and answer in unison: ‘Faeces.’

'But the difference is this phone call. And the others like it I could make—and how strong we are when we are loved.

'Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife…

'But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

'A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his loungeroom. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

'Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead—and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2016 winner y separately published work icon Salt Creek Lucy Treloar , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2015 8775071 2015 single work novel historical fiction

'Salt Creek is set in the Coorong in the 1850s: a remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region in the new province of South Australia, which has been opened to graziers willing to chance their luck. Among them are Stanton Finch and his family, including sixteen-year-old Hester Finch.

'Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the travellers passing along the nearby stock route - among them a young artist, Charles - and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Hester witnesses the destruction of their subtle culture and begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2015 winner y separately published work icon Heat and Light Ellen van Neerven , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2014 7667260 2014 selected work short story fantasy (taught in 1 units)

'In this award-winning work of fiction, Ellen van Neerven takes her readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.'

'Over three parts, she takes traditional storytelling and gives it a unique, contemporary twist. In ‘Heat’, we meet several generations of the Kresinger family and the legacy left by the mysterious Pearl. In ‘Water’, a futuristic world is imagined and the fate of a people threatened. In ‘Light’, familial ties are challenged and characters are caught between a desire for freedom and a sense of belonging.'

'Heat and Light presents an intriguing collection while heralding the arrival of an exciting new talent in Australian writing.' (Publication summary)

2014 winner 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 (First published author) y separately published work icon Toyo : A Memoir Lily Chan , Collingwood : Black Inc. , 2012 Z1885758 2012 single work biography

'Toyo learned to ask nothing, to wait and count the days. But they passed and passed and still the doorway remained empty of his deep voice, calling out her name.

'Blending the intimacy of memoir with an artist's vision, Toyo is the story of a remarkable woman, a vivid picture of Japan before and after war, and an unpredictable tale of courage and change in today's Australia.

'Born into the traditional world of pre-war Osaka, Toyo must always protect the secret of her parents' true relationship. Her father lives in China with his wife; her unmarried mother runs a café. Toyo and her mother are beautiful and polite, keeping themselves in society's good graces.

'Then comes the rain of American bombs. Toyo's life is uprooted again and again. With each sharp change and painful loss, she becomes more herself and more aware of where she has come from. She finds family and belief, but still clings to her parents' secret.

'In Toyo, Lily Chan has pieced together the unconventional shape of her grandmother's story. Vibrant and ultimately heart-rending, Toyo is the chronicle of an extraordinary life, infused with a granddaughter's love.' (Publisher's blurb)

2012 winner y separately published work icon Past the Shallows Favel Parrett , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2011 Z1763990 2011 single work novel 'Harry and Miles live with their father, an abalone fisherman, on the south-east coast of Tasmania. With their mum dead, they are left to look after themselves. When Miles isn't helping out on the boat they explore the coast and Miles and his older brother, Joe, love to surf. Harry is afraid of the water. Everyday their dad battles the unpredictable ocean to make a living. He is a hard man, a bitter drinker who harbours a devastating secret that is destroying him. Unlike Joe, Harry and Miles are too young to leave home and so are forced to live under the dark cloud of their father's mood, trying to stay as invisible as possible whenever he is home. Harry, the youngest, is the most vulnerable and it seems he bears the brunt of his father's anger.' (From the publisher's website.)
2011 winner y separately published work icon Night Street Kristel Thornell , 2009 Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2010 Z1624125 2009 single work novel historical fiction

'Night Street is the passionate story of a young painter, Clarice Beckett, who defies society's strict conventions and indifferent art critics alike and leads an intense private and professional life. With her extraordinary talent for making simple city and seascapes haunting and mysteriously revelatory, Clarice paints prolifically and lives largely, overcoming the seemingly confined existence as the spinster daughter in the parental home.

Night Street began with Thornell's first encounter with the paintings of Melbourne artist Clarice Beckett (1887-1935) at the Art Gallery of South Australia. The subtle power of Clarice's highly atmospheric, enigmatic landscapes enabled her to imagine Clarice's inner life and shape an extraordinary novel.' (Publisher's blurb)

2010 winner y separately published work icon The Book of Emmett Deborah Forster , North Sydney : Random House Australia , 2009 Z1564571 2009 single work novel

'Emmett Brown is as dark as Heathcliff, and as unpredictable. Sometimes he's an inspiration, but not often. He's a man of booze and obsessions: one of them is his "System", an attempt to bend the laws of probability. But when the lottery numbers and horses fail him, so do love and reason, and he becomes an ogre to his wife and children.

'For the innocents - Louisa, Rob, Peter, Daniel and Jessie - the bonds formed hiding in hedges at the end of the street, waiting for the maelstroms to pass, are complex and unbreakable. Over the years, the consequences of Emmett's rages shape both their spirits and psyches, but as he lies dying they discover that love - however imperfect - is the best defence against pain.' (Publisher's blurb)

2009 winner y separately published work icon Fugitive Blue Claire Thomas , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2008 Z1515932 2008 single work novel

'A beautiful, beguiling and multi-layered novel, Fugitive Blue tells the story of a young art conservator and her work on an unusual panel painting in striking ultramarine. As she restores the fragile artwork, she begins to speculate on its provenance - its controversial creation in Renaissance Venice and reappearance three hundred years later during a young nobleman's Grand Tour of Europe, passing through nineteenth-century Paris before its eventual arrival in Australia as one of the scarce possessions of a post-war Greek migrant family.

'Threaded through the painting's progress is the story of the young conservator's own life in contemporary Melbourne, her developing passion for her work and the demise of her relationship with an actor named Mark.' (Publisher's blurb)

2008 winner y separately published work icon The Anatomy of Wings Karen Foxlee , 2006 St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2007 Z1307226 2006 single work novel 'Ten-year-old Jennifer day lives in a small mining town full of secrets. trying to make sense of the sudden death of her teenage sister Beth, she looks to the adult world around her for answers.' - back cover
2007 winner y separately published work icon Swallow the Air Dust on Waterglass Tara June Winch , 2003 St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2006 Z1265164 2003 selected work short story (taught in 33 units)

Swallow the Air follows the life of 15-year-old May Gibson, an Aboriginal girl from New South Wales whose mother commits suicide. May and her brother go to live with their aunt, but eventually May travels further afield, first to Redfern's Block in Sydney, then to the Northern Territory, and finally into central New South Wales. She travels to escape, but also in pursuit of a sense of her own history, family, and identity.

2006 winner y separately published work icon Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living The Cultivator Carrie Tiffany , 2003 Sydney : Picador , 2005 Z1080450 2003 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 6 units)
2005 winner y separately published work icon The Secret World of Annette Robinson : A Novel Paulette Gittins , Pymble : HarperCollins Australia , 2004 Z1108696 2004 single work novel
2004 winner y separately published work icon The Alphabet of Light and Dark Danielle Wood , 2002 Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2003 Z980994 2002 single work novel

'A tiny coin found inside a Cloudy Bay oyster, a postcard of a white-haired child leaning against a beached dinghy and a coconut peeled and carved once upon a time on the Batavian coast. These trinkets, found in a sea chest, and the fragmented memories of her grandfather's tall tales are all Essie Lewis has left of her family history.

'After her grandfather's death, Essie returns to Bruny Island, Tasmania and to the lighthouse where her great-great-grandfather kept watch for nearly 40 years. Beneath the lighthouse, she begins to write the stories of her ancestors. But the island is also home to Pete Shelverton, a sculptor who hunts feral cats to make his own peace with the past. And as Essie writes, she finds that Pete is a part of the history she can never escape.' (Synopsis)

2003 winner y separately published work icon The Bean Patch : a memoir Shirley Painter , Pymble : Flamingo , 2002 Z978580 2002 single work autobiography
1999 winner y separately published work icon Hiam Eva Sallis , St Leonards : Allen and Unwin , 1998 Z804000 1998 single work novel (taught in 4 units)
1998 winner y separately published work icon Steam Pigs Melissa Lucashenko , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1997 Z399534 1997 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

'I haven't got a 'boyfriend', Mum." "Fine way to be carrying on then, out all Sat'dy night with a strange fella..." "Muuum. " "Don't you marm me, my girl. When I was your age I wasn't out running around with any stray bloke with a flash car and the gift of the gab. "And when I'm your age, thought Sue maliciously, I won't be ringing up my kids to scab money and make their lives a misery into the bargain. Sue Wilson, young and Aboriginal, escapes her "too-large, too-poor family in a too-small" north Queensland town for Logan City's frontier sprawl. Entering "the mythic world of Work" she discovers that the view from behind the bar is less than glamorous, but pays the rent. When she meets Roger the good times begin to roll until she finds herself starring in a feature with medium level violence. Melissa Lucashenko's first novel makes no apologies. With direct and gutsy language, her characters live their lives in the shadows cast by indifferent affluence.' (Source: UQP website: www.uqp.uq.edu.au)

1997 winner y separately published work icon Listening for Small Sounds Penelope Trevor , St Leonards : Allen and Unwin , 1996 Z448428 1996 single work novel
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