Thursday, November 26, 2015

2015 Melbourne Prize for Literature

Poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe has won the 2015 Melbourne Prize for Literature, presented every three years to a Victorian author ‘whose body of published or produced work has made an outstanding contribution to Australian literature, as well as to cultural and intellectual life’.

Wallace-Crabbe was presented with the $60,000 award at a ceremony at Federation Square in Melbourne on 12 November. Wallace-Crabbe was one of five authors shortlisted for the award, along with Steven Carroll, Brenda Niall, Christos Tsiolkas and Alexis Wright.

In a statement, judges said Wallace-Crabbe ‘continues an imposing and significant influence on Australian literature, in the genre of poetry’. ‘He has established himself among the vanguard of international poetry giants and made an outstanding contribution to Australian literature and cultural and intellectual life,’ said the judges, adding he has also ‘devoted his career to teaching mentoring and supporting new generations of writers’.

Andrea Goldsmith was awarded the $30,000 Best Writing Award, presented for ‘a piece of published or produced work of outstanding clarity, originality and creativity by a Victorian writer’ for her novel The Memory Trap. Goldsmith’s novel was chosen from a shortlist of 10 books published in the past three years. Each of the finalists are eligible for the $6000 Civic Choice Award, which was voted on by members of the public.

The $20,000 Writers Prize, a one-off prize presented to an essay of between 10,000 and 20,000 words that includes Melbourne, Victoria or Australia as part of its subjects, went to Kate Ryan for ‘Psychotherapy for Normal People’. Ryan was also awarded a residency at the University of Melbourne’s School of Culture and Communication.

This is the fourth time the Melbourne Prize for Literature has been presented, with the prize alternating between prizes for urban sculpture, music and literature in a three-year cycle. Past winners of the prize include Helen Garner (2006), Gerald Murnane (2009) and Alex Miller (2012). 

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