Winners of 2012 Literary Awards

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Winners of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards announced

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Arts Minister Simon Crean today announced the winners of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards at a ceremony at the National Library of Australia.

Gillian Mears won the fiction award for her novel Foal’s Bread while the award for poetry went to Luke Davies for Interferon Psalms.

The young adult fiction category was won by Robert Newton for When We Were Two and the children’s fiction award went to author Frances Watts and illustrator Judy Watson for Goodnight, Mice!

Mark McKenna won the non-fiction award for his book An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark and the Prize for Australian History was awarded to Bill Gammage for The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia.

Here’s what our judges said about the winning books:

Fiction winner Foal’s Bread is “written in transfixing prose and with an, at times, aching affinity for the harsh landscape the book describes.”

Poetry winner Interferon Psalms “encompasses not only the meditative intensities of the dark night of the soul but a tragicomic vision which is by turns dramatic, alarming and luminous in its formal expression.”

Young adult fiction winner When We Were Two is “faultlessly constructed and told with brilliantly understated, tragi-comic dialogue… This is historical fiction of rare accomplishment.”

Unanimously recommended by the judges as the children’s fiction winner Goodnight, Mice! is “an almost perfect bedtime book.”

Non-fiction winner An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark is “essential reading for all Australians seeking to understand the transformation of Australian cultural nationalism in the second half of the twentieth century.”

Winner of the Australian History Prize The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia “demonstrates a rare capacity to open a fresh horizon, capturing both history and his reader.”

Now in its fifth year, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards recognise and reward excellence in Australian literature and history.

In 2012 the winner of each category was awarded $80,000 and each shortlisted author received $5000.

For more information and to read samples of all the shortlisted books visit www.arts.gov.au/pmliteraryawards

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