Featured News Mears collects top book award

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Mears wins top book award

Gillian Mears landmark novel Foal's Bread has won the prestigious Colin Roderick Award for Australian literature.

Oct 30, 2012: - Gillian Mears’s landmark novel Foal’s Bread has won the prestigious Colin Roderick Award for Australian literature.

Published by Allen and Unwin, the book is set in and around the country show high-jumping circuit that prevailed in rural New South Wales prior to World War II.

It has previously won the 2012 The Age Book of the Year Award Fiction
, and the 2012 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction

The Colin Roderick Award is presented each year by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies based at James Cook University for the best book – fiction and non-fiction - reflecting Australian life published in the previous year.

It carries a prize of $10,000 and the H. T. Priestley Medal and was presented to Ms Mears’ sister Ms Karin Pridgeon earlier this month as the author was unable to attend the presentation dinner in Townsville.

Gillian Mears grew up in the northern NSW towns of Grafton and Lismore and her books include Ride a Cock Horse, Fineflour, The Mint Lawn, The Grass Sister and A Map of the Gardens. More recently she has been living in the Adelaide Hills, where she wrote Foal's Bread.

Her book was chosen from a short list that also included:

  • David Brooks, The Sons of Clovis: Ern Malley, Adoré Floupette and a secret history of Australian poetry (University of Queensland Press)

  • Derelie Cherry, Alexander Macleay: from Scotland to Sydney (Paradise Publishers)

  • Cate Kennedy, The Taste of River Water (Scribe Publication)

  • Mark McKenna, An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark (Miegunyah Press)

  • Amy Mathews, End of the Night Girl (Wakefield Press)

  • Francesca Rendle-Short, Bite Your Tongue (Spinifex Press)

The judges, Professor Donat Gallagher, Professor Peter Pierce, and Associate Professor Stephen Torre, were impressed by the high quality of the titles submitted and by the wide range of modes, styles, subjects and innovative approaches in the 2011 publications.

They added that the short list was chosen from an exceptionally strong and varied field comprising poetry, prose fiction, memoir, historical biography and literary exploration.

The Colin Roderick Award is named for the Foundation Professor of English Literature at JCU, Professor Colin Roderick, who created the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies.

Past winners of the award have included such noted authors as Peter Carey, Peter Temple, Tom Keneally, Ruth Park and David Malouf.

Issued: October 30, 2012

JCU Media: Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449