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The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards were announced last night (18 May 2015) by the Acting Premier for NSW and Minister for the Arts, the Hon Troy Grant MP, at the State Library of NSW, with a total of $310,000 presented across 13 prizes.

Acting Premier for NSW Troy Grant said: “These Awards celebrate and honour Australia’s greatest living writers, and on behalf of the NSW Government I would like to congratulate all the shortlisted authors and winners for 2015. Through these prestigious awards we also acknowledge the vital work of our translators, and I am thrilled the inaugural Multicultural NSW Early Career Translator Prize is being presented this year.”

Alex Byrne, NSW State Librarian and Chief Executive said: “The fabled collection and dedicated staff of the State Library of NSW have assisted and inspired many of our nation’s award winning writers. We are proud to be managing the Premier’s Literary Awards, in association with Arts NSW.”

According to Senior Judge, Ross Grayson Bell: “Proudly celebrating the literary achievements of the nation’s authors, poets, translators, playwrights and screenwriters this year’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards shortlist represents the very best in Australian writing. Selected by a panel of their peers, from over 500 entries, across 13 prizes, the nominated writers present a diversity of ideas and a confidence of voice that is both dazzling and provocative. The writers’ masterful storytelling skills and clarity of expression raise the bar in setting the standard in Australian literature. We honour their distinguished accomplishments and praise the NSW Government’s unwavering commitment to acknowledging and rewarding their endeavours while at the same time broadening public engagement with the arts.” 

Categories and winners:

Book of the Year ($10,000)
The Bush, Don Watson (Penguin Books Australia)

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction ($40,000)
The Snow Kimono, Mark Henshaw (Text Publishing)

UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing ($5,000 – sponsored by UTS)
An Elegant Young Man, Luke Carman (Giramondo Publishing) 

Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction ($40,000)
The Bush, Don Watson (Penguin Books Australia)

Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry ($30,000)
Earth Hour, David Malouf (University of Queensland Press) 

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature ($30,000)
Joint winners:

Figgy in the World, Tamsin Janu (Omnibus/Scholastic Australia) Crossing, Catherine Norton (Omnibus/Scholastic Australia)

Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature ($30,000)
The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting ($30,000)
The Babadook, Jennifer Kent (Causeway Films)

Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting ($30,000)
Black Diggers, Tom Wright (Queensland Theatre Company)

The NSW Premier’s Prize for Translation ($30,000)
Brian Nelson

2015 Multicultural NSW (formerly the Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW) ($20,000)
Black and Proud: The story of an AFL photo, Matthew Klugman and Gary Osmond (NewSouth Books)

Multicultural NSW Early Career Translator Prize (NEW PRIZE) ($5,000)
Lilit Zekulin Thwaites

Special Award ($10,000): David Williamson AO
Judges commented: “David Williamson remains our greatest playwright with a prodigious output of more than 40 plays that have shaped how we view ourselves. Whether for theatre, film or television, Williamson’s work is marked by its Australianness, intelligence, wit and engagement with social issues. Williamson has written scripts for significant Australian film such as Gallipoli, The Club, The Year Of Living Dangerously, Phar Lap and Brilliant Lies – some of which have been adapted from his own plays, as well as for mini-series and tele-movies. Williamson continues to be prolific and tackle challenging subjects, including Rupert Murdoch’s influence in Rupert. His eminence is recognised with an honourary doctorate in letters from four Australian universities, five AFI Awards, 12 AWGIE Awards and an Order of Australia. He is an ideal choice to receive the Special Award.”

People’s Choice
The 2015 winner will be chosen by the people of NSW who vote online from the 2015 Christina Stead Prize shortlist. Entries close midnight 21 May 2015.