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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Judges for 2009 Prime Minister's literary awards

Media Release
15 May 2009

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Six distinguished Australians will form the judging panel for this year's Prime Minister's Literary Awards. The awards recognise Australian authors who published in 2008.

Arts Minister Peter Garrett said the awards are Australia's richest and most prestigious literary prizes with winners of both the fiction and non-fiction category each receiving $100,000 tax free.

"The judging panel is made up of experts who will provide the Prime Minister with a shortlist and a recommendation for the winner in each category," Mr Garrett said.

"Australian author and academic Professor Peter Pierce is chairing the judging panel for the fiction category for the second year. He will be joined on the panel by ABC Radio National Executive Producer of Artworks, Dr Lyn Gallacher and academic Professor John Hay AC.

"The non-fiction panel is chaired by broadcaster, writer and filmmaker Phillip Adams AO. Author and editor of Australian Book Review Peter Rose and historian Professor Joan Beaumont FASSA are the other panel members.

"The Prime Minister's Literary Awards recognise exceptional work and provide authors with an opportunity to extend their readership and advance their literary careers.

"2008 was a great year for Australian literature with some excellent books being published. The judges have a difficult task ahead of them.

"These six judges bring a wealth of life experience, knowledge of Australian heritage and culture, and a love of books to the 2009 Awards."

Entries for the awards have now closed, and the panel will consider 93 fiction and 161 non-fiction entries.

The fiction and non-fiction shortlist will be announced later in 2009. This will be followed by an announcement of the winners at an Awards event.

Further details on the Prime Minister's Literary Awards judges are attached. For more information on the awards visit: 

Judging panels for the 2009 Prime Minister's Literary Awards

Fiction panel


Professor Peter Pierce returns as chair of the Fiction judging panel. He is Honorary Research Fellow and Professor at the National Centre for Australian Studies, Monash University. Besides writing extensively for the national press, he edited The Oxford Literary Guide to Australia and is the author of Australian Melodramas: Thomas Keneally's Fiction and The Country of Lost Children: An Australian Anxiety. Most recently he edited The Cambridge History of Australian Literature which will be published in September.

Professor John A. Hay AC is a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland and Deakin University. He has developed major new initiatives in teaching and research, including establishing science and research institutes at the University of Queensland. His contribution to advancing higher education was recognised when he was made a Companion in the Order of Australia in the 2004 Australia Day Honours list. Professor Hay also has a keen interest in the arts, having established the Mayne Art Centre Gallery and is a member of a number of committees across a range of disciplines, including the Council of the National Library of Australia.

Dr Lyn Gallacher is the Executive Producer of Artworks on ABC Radio National. She has been a Creative Fellow at the State Library of Victoria, where she studied the Magic Collection. Dr Gallacher is involved in setting up the Australian Literary Compendium which so far features five radio programs on classic Australian Poems and will soon include classic Australian novels, all to be broadcast on ABC Radio National's Bookshow program. In her spare time Lyn is working to re-forest a paddock in South Gippsland, and reads books for literary awards.

Non-Fiction Panel


Phillip Adams AO is a broadcaster, filmmaker, author and social commentator. Phillip Adams has been awarded two Orders of Australia and many other awards recognising his contribution to Australian life through his ABC Radio National program Late Night Live, his many books, and iconic film features such as The Adventures of Barry McKenzie and Don's Party. As a consultant to Prime Ministers and Premiers, he played a key role in the establishment of the Australia Council, the Australian Film Development Corporation, the Australian Film Commission, the South Australian Film Corporation and the Australian Film Finance Corporation. Phillip Adams also writes for The Australian newspaper.

Peter Rose has been Editor of Australian Book Review since 2001. Throughout the 1990s he was a publisher at Oxford University Press where he was responsible for a major expansion of the Australian reference list. He is the author of four collections of poetry and one novel, A Case of Knives (2005). His family memoir, Rose Boys (2001), won the National Biography Award in 2003. He has judged several prizes, including the Miles Franklin Award (1996-2001). He spends part of his time at Flinders University where he is Editor and Writer in Residence.

Professor Joan Beaumont FASSA is Director of the Faculty of Arts, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University and formerly Dean of Arts and Education, Deakin University. She is an internationally recognised historian of Australia during the two world wars, Australian defence and foreign policy, prisoners of war, and the memory and heritage of war. Her publications include Ministers, Mandarins and Diplomats: Australian Foreign Policy Making 1941-69 (ed.); Australia's War, 1939-45 (ed.); Australia's War, 1914-18 (ed.); Gull Force: Survival and Leadership in Captivity, 1941-1945; and Comrades in Arms: British Aid to Russia, 1941-45. Professor Beaumont is a recipient of an Australian Red Cross Service Award, for exceptional and continuous service.

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