Thursday 22 May 2014

Longlists and Shortlists Take 2

This is the week of the Sydney Writers' Festival.

Realistically though, the whole month of May can be taken up with major book events.
For anyone in Sydney or in the book trade this can be a big deal.

I'm in both!

Last week I had my book sellers cap on and attended two invitation only events.

One was hosted by Harlequin to meet two of their authors - Karen Brooks and Ryan Campbell.
It was an impressive event held at Otto's on Woolloomoloo Wharf. The wine flowed freely as the authors did their spiels. Afterwards we relaxed around the table to chat and laugh.
As for the food - exquisite!

The other event was hosted by Random House for booksellers to meet our former Prime Minister Julia Gillard!

Gillard has written a memoir about her time in politics and this was the first step into the limelight for 'My Story'.

I didn't always agree with her politics, & the Labor way of running a political party leaves a lot to be desired, but I went from being proud, to uneasy, to appalled by the vitriolic and extremely personal comments that were made about Gillard in the press and by media personalities.

It is in my mind again today with the whole Tony Abbott wink incident. The first problem is that this issue takes over the media cycle. It's being discussed and debated and most people think it's pretty off, but curiously the shock jocks seem to be very quiet about this and the opinion just seems to be "oh well some blokes like to wink, no harm in that love!"

(I know, I know, don't get me started!)

(This is not a political piece or a critique on the state of journalism in Australia or even a commentary on the etiquette of winking, this is a bookish blog...)

(arghhhhhhhhhhhhh - okay back on track....)

I also had the pleasure of attending Gillard's first outing last year, after she was toppled as leader, at the sell-out event held in the Opera House.
It was hosted by Anne Summers who wrote The Misogyny Factor.

At both events I was impressed by Gillard's warmth, intelligence & humour. She was gracious and down to earth.

It was a great start to the festival.

But this week I have caught a nasty flu bug and have failed to attend any of the wonderful events on offer.

I'm hoping to feel well enough to attend the Saturday sessions at Walsh Bay, but for now I thought I would update the Longlists and Shortlists post from last month.

The Stella Award this year went to Clare Wright for her non-fiction work The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka.

The Miles Franklin Shortlist now looks like this:

The NSW Premier's Literary Awards were announced on the 19th May.

The winners included:
Michelle de Kretser's Questions of Travel (Christina Stead Prize for Fiction & Book of the Year)
Fiona McFarlane's The Night Guest (UTSGlenda Adams Award for New Writing)
Joint winners:
Michael Fullilove's Rendezvous with Destiny & Kristina Olsson's Boy, Lost (Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction)
Katrina Nannestad's The Girl Who Brought Mischief (Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature)
A J Bett's Zac and Mia (Ethel Turner Prize for Young Peoples Literature)
Ashley Hay's The Railwayman's Wife (People's Choice)  Yippee! One of my favourites this year :-)

The Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) had their annual conference last weekend in Melbourne where they announced their Bookseller's Book of the Year - Hannah Kent's Burial Rites.

Christine Piper's After Darkness won this years The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award for unpublished manuscript.

The Victorian Premier's Literary Award for fiction went to Alex Miller's Coal Creek. While their People's Choice Award went to Hannah Kent's Burial Rites.

There is now also a 'reinvented' Australian Book Industry Award (whatever that means!) that will be announced tomorrow night.

I'll keep you posted!

Happy Sydney Writers' Festival!

PS. I have entered this post as a 'cheat's post' for the Armchair BEA. I hope you don't mind that it covers several topics as well as the topic of 'author meetings'.


  1. I think all women should start winking like we've got a twitch. Only kidding... The mind boggles at our politics this past year. This is the first year in a while that I'm not going to be in Sydney when Writers Week is on, so I'm living vicariously through others' experiences, and I have to say, yours (apart from the flu, obviously) are truly enviable.

    1. Meeting Julia was pretty special. I was very impressed with how giving she was of her time. After the formal talks, she went around the room and shook hands & chatted with everyone there, happy to sign things or have a photo with you.

      It highlighted just how far removed the media cycle and what we see in the papers & on TV is from the real life world of our politicians - they are complex, nuanced, flawed, wonderful human beings, just like the rest of us. Something I've had to remind myself of today ;-)

  2. Oh no--I hope you feel better! That rots. I am tempted to just stay here and poke through to find out about all the pretty books on the awards lists, none of which I have even heard of, but I am reaching the end of computer time for the day (only five more days left of school for the kids and then we can all stay up late!)

  3. The double standard is ridiculous, and it's made even more so by its invisibility to most people. I hope you feel better soon, so you can attend some events!


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