The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards have just been announced at a function in Melbourne.
Let’s take a look at the winners!
To Name Those Lost
by Rohan Wilson
From the bestselling author of The Roving Party, comes a moving father and son story set amidst the beauty and the violence of the poor and preyed upon of our colonial past.
Summer 1874, and Launceston teeters on the brink of anarchy. After abandoning his wife and child many years ago, the Black War veteran Thomas Toosey must return to the city to search for William, his now motherless twelve-year-old son. He travels through the island’s northern districts during a time of impossible hardship – hardship that has left its mark on him too.
Arriving in Launceston, however, Toosey discovers a town in chaos. He is desperate to find his son amid the looting and destruction, but at every turn he is confronted by the Irish transportee Fitheal Flynn and his companion, the hooded man, to whom Toosey owes a debt that he must repay.
To Name Those Lost is the story of a father’s journey. Wilson has an eye for the dirt, the hardness, the sheer dog-eat-doggedness of the lives of the poor. Human nature is revealed in all its horror and beauty as Thomas Toosey struggles with the good and the vile in himself and learns what he holds important.
The Europeans in Australia: Vol 3
by Alan Atkinson
This is the third and final volume of the landmark, award-winning series The Europeans in Australia that gives an account of settlement by Britain. It tells of the various ways in which that experience shaped imagination and belief among the settler people from the eighteenth century to the end of World War I.
Volume Three, Nation, tells the story of Australian Federation and the war with a focus, as ever on ordinary habits of thought and feeling. In this period, for the first time the settler people began to grasp the vastness of the continent, and to think of it as their own.
There was a massive funding of education, and the intellectual reach of men and women was suddenly expanded, to an extent that seemed dazzling to many at the time. Women began to shape public imagination as they had not done before. At the same time, the worship of mere ideas had its victims, most obviously the Aboriginal people, and the war itself proved what vast tragedies it could unleash.
The culmination of an extraordinary career in the writing and teaching of Australian history, The Europeans in Australia grapples with the Australian historical experience as a whole from the point of view of the settlers from Europe. Ambitious and unique, it is the first such large, single-author account since Manning Clark’s A History of Australia.
by Claire Zorn
I have three months left to call Katie my older sister. Then the gap will close and I will pass her. I will get older. But Katie will always be fifteen, eleven months and twenty-one days old.
Hannah’s world is in pieces and she doesn’t need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn’t have problems?
Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn’t afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?
In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl’s struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.
‘The Protected captures the volatility of adolescence, the fragility of family, and the importance of a good friend.’ AJ Betts, author of Zac & Mia
Where Song Began
by Tim Low
Tim Low, award-winning author of Feral Future, in an eye-opening book on the unique nature of Australian birds and their role in ecology and global evolution.
Renowned for its unusual mammals, Australia is a land of birds that are just as unusual, just as striking, a result of the continent’s tens of millions of years of isolation. Compared with birds elsewhere, ours are more likely to be intelligent, aggressive and loud, to live in complex societies, and are long-lived. They’re also ecologically more powerful, exerting more influences on forests than other birds.
But unlike the mammals, the birds did not keep to Australia; they spread around the globe. Australia provided the world with its songbirds and parrots, the most intelligent of all bird groups. It was thought in Darwin’s time that species generated in the Southern Hemisphere could not succeed in the Northern, an idea that was proven wrong in respect of birds in the 1980s but not properly accepted by the world’s scientists until 2004 – because, says Tim Low, most ornithologists live in the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, few Australians are aware of the ramifications, something which prompted the writing of this book.
Tim Low has a rare gift for illuminating complex ideas in highly readable prose, and making of the whole a dynamic story. Here he brilliantly explains how our birds came to be so extraordinary, including the large role played by the foods they consume (birds, too, are what they eat), and by our climate, soil, fire, and Australia’s legacy as a part of Gondwana. The story of its birds, it turns out, is inseparable from the story of Australia itself, and one that continues to unfold, so much having changed in the last decade about what we know of our ancient past.
Where Song Began also shines a light on New Guinea as a biological region of Australia, as much a part of the continent as Tasmania. This is a work that goes far beyond the birds themselves to explore the relationships between Australia’s birds and its people, and the ways in which scientific prejudice have hindered our understanding.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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