NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2017: On mapmaking and fangirling


‘The plays and novels inside our heads are little unmarketed miracles, cosily ensconced in the imagination, the lighting, the sound, the production design is sublime. Inside my head for just an instant, I have a story that has never been told in quite the same way before, and it is playing out pitch perfect.’ Joanna Murray Smith’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards address – a moving speech about the trials and tribulations of the artist.

I was lucky enough last night to attend the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. It was a wonderful night – of poignant speeches and gracious winners. The talent, inspiration, dedication and craftsmanship of Australian writers always takes my breath away – and I do not envy the judges who had to choose a winner from amidst such a strong pool of short-listed entries.

So without further ado, the winners are:

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction:

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose


UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing:

Letter to Pessoa by Michelle Cahill


Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction:

Our Man Elsewhere: In Search of Alan Moorehead by Thornton McCamish


Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry:

Ghostspeaking by Peter Boyle


Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature:

One Thousand Hills by James Roy and Noël Zihabamwe


Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature:

Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall


Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting: 

The Drover’s Wife by Leah Purcell


Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting (joint winners): 

The Code, Series 2 Episode 4 by Shelley Birse

Down Under by Abe Forsythe


Multicultural NSW Award:  

The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke


NSW Premier’s Translation Prize: 

Royall Tyler


Multicultural NSW Early Career Translator Prize: 

Jan Owen


Book of the Year Award: 

The Drover’s Wife by Leah Purcell


People’s Choice Award: 

Vancouver #3 in the series Wisdom Tree by Nick Earls


For more details of the winners and shortlisted books, check out the State Library of NSW’s website here.

On a personal note, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Heather Rose during the after party, winner of not only Christina Stead prize for fiction, but also the 2017 Stella Prize. Heather was so gracious and lovely and kindly signed our books like a pro. Here I am with Robin Elizabeth and Lisa Fleetwood, having a fangirl moment:

image1 (1)

I also have to add that Heather Rose is no literary snob – she co-authored Finding Serendipity (a children’s fiction fantasy novel) the sequel of which, A Week Without Tuesday was shortlisted for the 2015 Aurealis Awards for Best Children’s Fiction. So, Heather, I’m claiming you as one of ours!

Until next time xxx


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