Premier’s Book Award winners announced

  • $60,000 Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship won by bestselling author and frequent State Library researcher Amanda Curtin
  • $15,000 Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer won by Holden Sheppard for Invisible Boys (Fremantle Press)
  • $15,000 Premiers Prize for Writing for Children won by Meg McKinlay for Catch a Falling Star (Walker Books Australia)
  • Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and Young Adult Fiction won by Teela May Reid for Our Matriarchs Matter
  • Kim Scott inducted into the Western Australian Writers Hall of Fame 
  • The winners of the 2019 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards were announced at the State Library of Western Australia tonight. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the induction of the newest member of the Western Australian Writers Hall of Fame.

    The night’s major winner was Amanda Curtin, who won the $60,000 Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship. Amanda will utilise the Fellowship to work on a literary historical fiction set in Western Australia during the 1890s gold rush.

    The $15,000 Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer was won by Holden Sheppard for Invisible Boys (Fremantle Press). Judges lauded the powerful young adult novel as funny, yet devastating with vividly imagined characters and dialogue.

    Meg McKinlay won the $15,000 Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children for Catch a Falling Star (Walker Books Australia), a poignant story about love, life and grief that will be popular amongst middle grade readers.

    The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and Young Adult Fiction was open to indigenous writers from across Australia, and was won by Teela May Reid for Our Matriarchs Matter. This award was administered and funded by Broome-based indigenous publisher Magabala Books with support from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

    The Premier’s Book Awards are Western Australia’s peak awards for writers and focus on supporting Western Australian writers, with a major Fellowship awarded for the second time. At $60,000, the Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship is one of the most valuable awards in Australian arts.

    The reinstatement of the awards to an annual event was a 2017 election commitment by the McGowan Government.

    Kim Scott was inducted into the Western Australian Writers Hall of Fame. The special panel chose Kim Scott because his fiction is acclaimed locally, nationally and internationally.

    He is exemplary both as an Australian writer and in the field of indigenous literature; a leader in the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and in his own Noongar community where his ground-breaking work with the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories project has had far-reaching effects.

    The panel said his work was a shining example of how Western Australian stories, well told and beautifully crafted, can create opportunities to learn about our shared past.

    For more information on the winners, the shortlists and the judging panel, visit https://www.slwa.wa.gov.au

    As stated by Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:

    “I congratulate all the winners tonight – they are wonderful Western Australians that are rightfully being recognised for their work.

    “I am particularly pleased that these awards have been refocused on promoting Western Australian writers. 

    “Making a living from writing is not easy and it is important to promote our writers because our stories are important.

    “It is fitting that the awards are held in the State Library as it is a place of learning, a place where literature and writing is celebrated.

    “I urge the Western Australian community to support our local writers, and a good place to start is with the winners and those on the shortlist of these important awards.”

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