Josephine Wilson’s second novel Extinctions has won the 2017 Colin Roderick Award from the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies.
“Extinctions is a beautifully written novel, characterised by total precision, as well as harmony, in word and thought,” the judging panel announced. “There are moments of profound and incisive emotional insight; these are presented in a style that avoids conscious ‘literariness’ in favour of a distinctive mix of humour, precision, and poetry.”
The judging panel was particularly drawn to Wilson’s portrait of an ageing man, commenting that “with great subtlety, [Extinctions] entwines this suburban portrait with the larger theme of loss and destruction,” while ultimately managing to surprise the reader through its “hopeful rather than bleak portrayal of the movement from myopia to knowledge.”
Extinctions received the inaugural Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2015, and won the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award last month. Josephine Wilson currently works as a sessional academic at Curtin University, and has written for the stage to great acclaim in Perth, Sydney and London. She is currently completing her third novel.
The Colin Roderick Award is one of Australia's oldest literary awards, founded in 1967 by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies. The Foundation is based at James Cook University and aims to foster the study and appreciation of Australian literature. The award was renamed in 1991 to honour Professor Colin Roderick’s long contribution to Australian literature and to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the award.
The Foundation presents the annual award to the value of $20,000, coupled with the silver H.T. Priestley Memorial Medal. These honour the best original book, in the judges’ opinion, published in Australia in the previous calendar year. Submissions can deal with any aspect of Australian life and can be from any field or genre of writing, verse or prose.
The Award will be presented to Josephine Wilson at the Foundation’s annual awards dinner at A Touch of Salt in Townsville at 8pm on Monday 30 October.
The other shortlisted titles for the award were Carrying the World by Maxine Beneba Clark, Wisdom Tree: Five Novellas by Nick Earls, Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru by Madeline Gleeson, The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their Craft by Tom Griffiths, From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories by Mark McKenna, Saltwater by Cathy McLennan, and The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong.
Hannah Cameron – Foundation for Australian Literary Studies
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