2008 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

The short list for the 2008 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, has been announced! This post will highlight the shortlisted works and, where possible, provide a link to the book in the Library Catalogue. Click on the book’s title to read more about this work or click on the Check Availability link to find the book in the Library Catalogue.

Short list: Fiction

“The seven short-listed fiction books include works in prose, a compilation of short stories and one work in verse. Among the short list are writers whose distinguished careers have spanned decades as well as debut authors whose careers are just beginning.” [Text: Arts & Culture website]

  • Burning In by Mireille Juchau – A young woman translates the emotional distance from her mother, a Holocaust survivor, into her own passion for photography. A beautifully written psychological novel. Check Availability
  • El Dorado by Dorothy Porter – There is a serial child killer stalking the streets of Melbourne. He kills his victims gently and places a gold mark on their head. The mark of El Dorado. He doesn’t kill because he hates children, but because he loves them. He believes in Childhood Innocence, and he will kill to entomb them there… Check Availability
  • Jamaica by Malcolm Knox – Welcome to Jamaica, have a nice breakdown . . . A group of 6 friends converge on the fabled island of Jamaica to compete in a marathon relay swim across treacherous water. Compulsive reading from an unflinching observer of fallibility, hypocrisy and thwarted ambition. Check Availability
  • Sorry by Gail Jones – In the remote outback of North-west Australia, English anthropologist Nicholas Keene and his wife Stella raise a curious child, Perdita. Her childhood is far from ordinary; a shack in the wilderness, with a distant father burying himself in books and an unstable mother whose knowledge of Shakespeare forms the backbone of the girl’s limited education. Check Availability
  • The Complete Stories by David Malouf – David Malouf’s imagination inhabits shocking violence, quick humor, appealing warmth and harsh cruelty with equal intensity. He shares tales of bookish boys, taciturn men and intimate stories of men and women looking for something they seem to have missed, or missed out on. Check Availability
  • The Widow and Her Hero by Tom Keneally – When Grace married the genial and handsome Captain Leo Waterhouse in Australia in 1943, they were young, in love – and at war. Like many other young men and women, they were ready, willing and able to put the war effort first. They never seriously doubted that they would come through unscathed…
    . Check Availability
  • The Zookeeper’s War by Steven Conte – It is 1943 and each night in a bomb shelter beneath the Berlin Zoo an Australian woman, Vera, shelters with her German husband, Axel, the zoo’s director. Together, Vera and Axel struggle to look after the animals through the air raids and food shortages of war. Check Availability

Short list: Non-fiction

“The judges selected the seven short-listed books because of their originality, rich detail and clarity of writing. Included in the short list are histories born from meticulous research, engaging accounts of survival and moving stories that resonate long after the book has been closed.” [Text: Arts & Culture website]

  • A History of Queensland by Raymond Evans – A History of Queensland is the first single volume analysis of Queensland’s past, stretching from the time of earliest human habitation up to the present. It encompasses pre-contact Aboriginal history, the years of convictism, free settlement and subsequent urban and rural growth.
  • Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time by Clive James – A lifetime in the making, Cultural Amnesia is the book Clive James has always wanted to write. Organized from A through to Z, and containing over 100 essays, it’s the ultimate guide to the twentieth-century, illuminating the careers of many of its greatest thinkers, humanists, musicians, artists and philosophers. Check Availability
  • My Life as a Traitor by Zarah Ghahramani with Robert Hillman – Zarah Ghahramani was born in Tehran in 1981, two years after Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran to establish the Islamic Republic. Her life changed suddenly in 2001 when, after having taken part in student demonstrations, she was arrested (literally snatched off the street by secret police) and charged with ‘inciting crimes against the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran’. Check Availability
  • Napoleon: The Path to Power, 1769–1799 by Philip Dwyer – The first volume of a groundbreaking and innovative popular biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, one of history’s most complex and charismatic leaders.
  • Ochre and Rust: Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers by Philip Jones – Ochre and Rust takes nine Aboriginal and colonial artefacts from their museum shelves, and positions them at the centre of these gripping, poignant tales set in the heart of Australia’s frontier zone. Check Availability
  • Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer – A polemical, ground-breaking study of Elizabethan England that reclaims Ann Hathaway’s rightful place in history. Check Availability
  • Vietnam: The Australian War by Paul Ham – The participation by Australian soldiers in the Vietnam conflict (1962-1975), including political background, accounts of battles and operations in Vietnam, soldiers’ personal histories, and with reference to the anti-war movement. Check Availability

For more information about this award, visit the Australian Government’s Arts and Culture website.