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Featured News Top Australian literary award announced

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Wed, 19 Oct 2016

Top Australian literary award announced

The winner of one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious literary awards has been chosen by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies.

guide to berlin

This year's winner of the Colin Roderick Award and the HT Priestley Medal and a cheque for $20,000 is Gail Jones for A Guide to Berlin published by Penguin Books Australia.

A Guide to Berlin is a very Australian book, but not one parochially so,” says Colin Roderick Award Judge Dr Victoria Kuttainen. “It reconnects the Australian story to the experience of travel, to displacement, to unsettlement, and to world literature which is also the shared Australian heritage.

“Australia has a long tradition of travel and ex-patriotism: in fact one could say that travel is a key part of the Australian experience—the other side of settlement that is unsettlement. Increasingly, much ‘Australian’ literature can be read in a context of ‘world’ literature.”

Pictured: Gail Jones' daughter Kyra Giorgi gives the acceptance speech on behalf of her mother. JCU Chancellor Bill Tweddell at right.

Celebrating its 50th year, the Foundation presents the annual Colin Roderick Award and H. T. Priestley Memorial Medal. The Foundation is based at James Cook University and aims to foster the study and appreciation of Australian literature. To celebrate the Foundation’s golden anniversary the prize money has been increased to $20,000.

The award and medal are presented to the author of the book, published in Australia in 2015, which in the judges’ opinion, best deals with any aspect of Australian life.

The Award’s judges were impressed by the year’s entries stating that they were of a uniformly high standard across several genres ranging from biography and memoir, to history and social commentary, to fictional and imaginative work.

The presentation is being made at a gala dinner at the George Coates Restaurant  in Pimlico at 8pm on Wednesday 19 October.

Shortlisted books:

Collins, Christy. The End of Seeing

Harding, Leslie and Morgan, Kendrah. Modern Love

Jones, Gail. A Guide to Berlin

Kinsella, John. Crow’s Breath

Niall, Brenda. Mannix

Winton, Tim. Island Home

Blurb from the back of the winning book:

'A Guide to Berlin' is the name of a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1925, when he was a young man of 26, living in Berlin.

A group of six international travellers, two Italians, two Japanese, an American and an Australian, meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. Each is enthralled in some way to the work of Vladimir Nabokov, and each is finding their way in deep winter in a haunted city. A moment of devastating violence shatters the group, and changes the direction of everyone’s story.

Brave and brilliant, A Guide to Berlin traces the strength and fragility of our connections through biographies and secrets.


Dr Victoria Kuttainen, Board Member

(07) 4781 4296 or 0408 070 510

Hannah Cameron, Foundation Administration

(07) 4781 5404  or 0403 403 011