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

2009 Prime Minister’s Literary Award shortlists revealed

Media release
PG/340
18 September 2009

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Minister for the Arts Peter Garrett today announced the fiction and non-fiction shortlists for the 2009 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

“The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards recognise outstanding Australian writing, and this year the fiction and non-fiction shortlists are an impressive demonstration of the originality and talent of Australian writers,” Mr Garrett said.

“The shortlists have been recommended by the Fiction and Non-Fiction judging panels after reviewing 254 entries to the 2009 Awards. This is a strong sign that the Australian literary sector is healthy and thriving.

“The 2009 Fiction shortlist promises to give readers some great reads including thoughtprovoking and exhilarating tales of Australia and beyond. The 2009 Non-Fiction shortlist is a wide selection of works that cover biographies of key Australian figures, put Australian history under the microscope, and tackle Indigenous and contemporary issues.”

The 2009 Fiction shortlist is: The Pages, Murray Bail; People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks; Wanting, Richard Flanagan; Everything I Knew, Peter Goldsworthy; One Foot Wrong, Sofie Laguna; The Boat, Nam Le; and The Good Parents, Joan London.

The 2009 Non-Fiction shortlist is: Van Diemen's Land, James Boyce; Doing Life: A Biography of Elizabeth Jolley, Brian Dibble; Gough Whitlam: A Moment in History, Jenny Hocking; The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island, Chloe Hooper; House of Exile: The Life and Times of Heinrich Mann and Nelly Kroeger-Mann, Evelyn Juers; Drawing the Global Colour Line, Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds; The Henson Case, David Marr; and American Journeys, Don Watson.

Chair of the Fiction panel, Professor Peter Pierce said a highlight of the 2009 shortlist was the inspiring evocation of Australian scenes. It seems that Australian authors’ descriptions of Australia, past and present, rural and urban, are now extremely varied and devoid of cliché.

Chair of the Non-Fiction panel, Phillip Adams said the Non-Fiction panel was impressed by the quality and variety of biographical, autobiographical, polemical, political and historical works. The best and bravest works of 2009 have made it on the Non-Fiction shortlist.

The Fiction judging panel is comprised of Professor Peter Pierce, Dr Lyn Gallacher and Professor John Hay AC. Phillip Adams AO, Peter Rose and Professor Joan Beaumont make up the Non-Fiction judging panel.

The winners of the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories will receive Australia’s richest literary award—a prize of $100,000 each. The winners will be announced later in the year.

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