Alexis Wright has been awarded the 2014 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal for The Swan Book.
The judges’ citation said:
Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book is a novel of serious political intent concerning the migration of stories, peoples, imaginations and cultures. Wright’s remarkable third novel is rightfully angry, necessarily challenging, deeply personal, and universally damning. The central plot line of The Swan Book follows the story of Oblivion Ethyl(ene), or Oblivia, a mute teenage girl who is the victim of a gang rape in her displaced and army-controlled Indigenous community. The narrative style is an extension of Wright’s Carpentaria, blending many dimensions and registers simultaneously; The Swan Book is satirical, humorous, folkloric, mythical, magical and scathing, and combines the literal and the metaphoric with virtuosic skill. The logic with which Wright connects some of the most pressing political issues of our time – Indigenous rights, intervention, climate change, refugee policy – is compelling, and her projection of these issues into a dystopian future reveals both their messiness and their urgency.
Luke Carman’s An Elegant Young Man was also shortlisted for the 2014 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal.