Sunday, April 29, 2012

Winners emerge from literary honour lists

IT IS THE season to be literary in the wake of the annual announcements of winners and shortlists for many major book prizes over recent weeks.

The 2012 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award for best unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35 last night went to Melbourne high school teacher Paul Carter for Eleven Seasons, a story about a washed-up high-school AFL star with a problematic family that The Australian's book critic Geordie Williamson described as "a smashing book: heartfelt, tough-minded, occasionally shocking.''
It's a win that comes with a $20,000 cheque.

Meanwhile, winners have also emerged from a number of the world's highest book honours, including the PEN/Faulkner Award this time last month and National Book Critics Award earlier this month, both in the US.
It follows a slough of shortlistings for other major book gongs including the handsomely paid IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, The Orange Prize for female fiction in the UK, the new manifestation of the now defunct Commonwealth Writers' Prize, as well as a longlisting for the National Biography award in Australia.
But some scribes who had their fingers crossed have already come away disappointed after America's top merit for fiction, the Pulitzer Prize, went simply unawarded when the judge’s recommendations were knocked back by the Pulitzer board, who thought the three finalists offered up to be unworthy.
For its part, the Orange Prize for women's writing has winnowed potential winners down to a shortlist of six.
The shortlists for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize - a fresh category of what was formerly the Commonwealth Writers Prize - were revealed on Tuesday of this week, with the winner to come out on June 8.
On March 26, the American PEN/Faulkner prize went to "The Buddha in the Attic," a short novel about Japanese-American war brides by Julie Otsuka.
It was followed by the American National Book Critics Award on March 8, which went to a collection of works by short-story veteran Edith Pearlman.
Closer to home, the National Biography Award 2012 longlist will see 12 titles compete for the prestige as well as a $25,000 prize to be handed down on May 14 at the State Library of New South Wales as part of the Sydney Writers Festival.

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