Gerald Murnane, Brian Castro, Fiona Wright and Bonny Cassidy are shortlisted for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

We are pleased to announce that four titles published by Giramondo have been shortlisted for this year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Awards: Gerald Murnane’s Border Districts in the Fiction category, and Bonny’s Cassidy’s Chatelaine, Brian Castro’s Blindness and Rage: a Phantasmagoria and Fiona Wright’s Domestic Interior in the Poetry category. See the judges’ comments below for each of the shortlisted titles.

To view the full shortlist, please visit the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards website.

Border Districts
Gerald Murnane
$24.95
Buy here

In Border Districts, Gerald Murnane has distilled the various elements of his inimitable literary sensibility into a perfectly formed short work. The logic of this unique book is associative rather than narrative. Styled as a ‘report’ on the images that strike the mind of its narrator, it has him relating scenes from his childhood and adolescence, reflecting on the books he has read, remembering old acquaintances, and taking in the landscape of the small borderland town where he has come to live. The narrative is an exquisite prism of introspection, in which a life’s experiences are carefully ordered and transformed into art by virtue of the patterns they come to form in the mind and the profoundly evocative qualities they have acquired. Rendered in crystalline prose and touched with an elegiac pathos, Border Districts is the crowning achievement of a singular literary career.

Judges' comments

Blindness and Rage is a verse novel – composed of thirty-four cantos – notable for its mordant wit, its rich allusiveness and the invigorating fluency of its verse. Characterised by its author as a ‘phantasmagoria’, it describes the adventures of a terminally ill poet from Adelaide named Lucien Gracq, as he undertakes a final journey through the seamy underbelly of the literary world in the hope of realising his desire to complete his own epic poem. Blindness and Rage displays the formal inventiveness that has long been a feature of Brian Castro’s work, but it is also an extremely funny book, packed with jokes and wordplay that wrings considerable delight from Gracq’s gloomy outlook. Blindness and Rage is a wicked satire on pretension and futility, a poem about ambition and literary endeavour as paths to frustration and failure, but it is itself a poem that manages to avoid these pitfalls and achieve a brilliant success.

Judges' comments

Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria
Brian Castro
$26.95
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Domestic Interior
Fiona Wright
$24.00
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Domestic Interior by Fiona Wright invites us to observe Australian life through the lens of the suburban domestic. Wright’s aim is not to replicate notions of domestic space as one that inhibits its female occupants, but rather one that, if properly calibrated to the moment, is copious in its catalogue of energies. Wright’s meditation on domestic interiors extends to the interiority of the self as she turns her gaze outdoors. ‘Sometimes a reorientation’, she says, ‘presents another face to the sea’. In ‘Winter Pastoral’ she juxtaposes the concrete imagery of road kill – ‘dead wombats bouldered / and wild-eyed wallabies / vaulted the boundary fence’ – against the unexpected marvel of the sky: ‘I’d forgotten how stars giddy / out here,’ she says. Finding herself in Berlin, the poet is disoriented but enthralled inside a foreign language: a woman on a train hands her ‘the word Pfingsrosen, / a peony plucked from her own front yard’. The poet later recalls ‘a white lace dress. We’re drinking gin,’ she says, ‘muddled with cherries’. Intoxicating in its imagery, Domestic Interior affirms language, even its smallest components, as the prime constituents of our inner world.

Judges' comments

Chatelaine by Bonny Cassidy puts the word centre stage. Cassidy’s poetry is rooted in her investigations of language, an interest in a feminist consciousness, and her capacity for renewing meaning as a virtual space of desire. The reader enters a poetic world of ‘noisy secrets’ in which ‘riddles multiply’ to generate a reading experience in which it is more rewarding to ask than to answer: ‘Question nearly everything, read it again,’ the poems command. ‘Why do you do this?’ and ‘who else owns your body?’ From pilgrims to daleks, a shimmering heath to a basement carpark, Cassidy tunnels in opposite directions – accelerating through time, dreams, myth and person – to stake a territory beyond the language of the familiar. The poems in Chatelaine coalesce in a dream in which Cassidy renovates the ancestral household into an audacious new architecture of meaning.

Judges' comments

Chatelaine
Bonny Cassidy
$24.00
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Alexis Wright and Michael Farrell have won 2018 Queensland Literary Awards

Giramondo is thrilled to announced that Alexis Wright and Michael Farrell have been awarded 2018 Queensland Literary Awards. Wright was awarded the University of Queensland Non-fiction Book Award for her “stunningly innovative” book Tracker, while Michael Farrell was awarded the Judith Wright Calanthe Award, a prize for an outstanding collection of poetry by an Australian writer, for his collection, I Love Poetry. See what the judges had to say about each title below.

To view the full list of winners, please visit the Queensland Literary Awards website.

Tracker
Alexis Wright
$39.95
Buy here

This book is stunningly innovative in the way it brings the life and story of Tracker Tilmouth to the printed page. Tracker was a visionary Aboriginal leader who used his knowledge of economics to further opportunities for his people. This book is operatic in form, soaring to great heights and depths, always fascinating and ultimately illuminating about this Indigenous leader who remains unknown to many non-Indigenous Australians.

Judges' comments

One of the country’s foremost poets, Michael Farrell opens a door and invites the reader to step beyond the threshold of disbelief into a new and dazzling world. In I Love Poetry, his commitment to Australia as subject, and to poetry as a mode of thought, gains power with each fearless interrogation. Farrell remixes the Australian experience though a multiplicity of word play, bush poetic, irony, fragmented joy, and surprise cameos from Australian icons such as INXS and Waleed Aly. A truly inventive book, I Love Poetry brings a whole new dimension to Australian camp: extravagant, subversive, and hilarious, but also profound in its capacity to reimagine the terms with which we inhabit this complex continent. In the great tradition of queer Australian landscape poetics, like Patrick White, David Malouf, and Martin Harrison, Farrell recombines Australian ecology, history, and mythology into glorious, and very funky, new forms. But despite the book’s grand canvas, many of the poems feature a startling intimacy: the poet has become as open to the details of his self as he has always been to the currents and conjectures of pop culture, literature and philosophy; all is vibrant, viable material for this lyrebird of Australian poetry.

Judges' comments

I Love Poetry
Michael Farrell
$24.00
Buy here

Giramondo to publish A Novel Idea by Fiona McGregor

Giramondo has acquired A Novel Idea, a new book by author and performance artist Fiona McGregor. The book, a photoessay memoir that depicts McGregor’s writing of her Age Book of the Year award-winning novel Indelible Ink, will be published in March 2019. World rights were sold to Giramondo by Jane Novak.

Giramondo Commissioning Editor Nick Tapper said of the acquisition: ‘We’re delighted to be publishing A Novel Idea, which brings photography into dialogue with Fiona McGregor’s prose writing and performance work. The photoessay is a much-neglected genre, but Fiona turns and modifies it in unexpected ways, bringing her own sense of rhythm and intensity to the work. She gives an honest and moving, and very funny, self-portrait over years of artistic labour, showing the work of the writer in a way not seen before.’

A Novel Idea is a photoessay about the process of writing a novel. Begun four years into the writing of McGregor’s Age Book of the Year Award-winning novel Indelible Ink, it is a tongue-in-cheek rumination on the humdrum and loneliness of the novelist’s daily life, and the act of endurance which the writer must perform. Using text, and photographs taken on a hand-me-down camera, the book creates an in-depth portrait over several years of labour and procrastination, joy and despair. She works on the novel alone in her flat in Bondi with nothing but a desk, a pin-board, a laptop and a cat. McGregor also travels to Berlin and Estonia, and the book captures details of the world outside as they intrude. McGregor’s voice is wry, vulnerable, at times caustic, capturing the colloquial qualities of her fiction and the durational nature of her performance art via the ephemeral and essential thoughts that make up an author’s days, weeks, years.

Fiona McGregor is a Sydney author and performance artist. Since 1993, she has published five books, including Indelible Ink, which won The Age Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Indie Book awards, the Barbara Jefferis Award, and the Western Australian Premier’s Awards. Her other books include Strange Museums, a travel memoir of a performance art tour through Poland, the short story collection Suck My Toes, which won the Steele Rudd Award, and the underground classic chemical palace.

Mariana Dimópulos, author of All My Goodbyes, on tour in Australia

Argentinian author Mariana Dimópulos, whose novel All My Goodbyes Giramondo published last year, will be holding several public events in Australia in August and September. Dimópulos will appear at events in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, joined in some by her Australian translator Alice Whitmore. More information on these events can be found below.

All My Goodbyes was published in Giramondo’s new Southern Latitudes series in August 2017, and will be published in the United States in January 2019 by Transit Books. Dimópulos’ next book, Pendiente, is forthcoming from Giramondo in April 2019.

Dimópulos is currently undertaking a residency at the JM Coetzee Centre in Adelaide, sponsored by the ARC Discovery Project ‘Other Worlds: Forms of World Literature’.

 

SYDNEY
31 August: Mariana Dimópulos, Literary Reading and Q&A with Ivor Indyk – Western Sydney University, Parramatta Campus, EA.G.03, 1pm
4 September: Mariana Dimópulos in Conversation with Ivor Indyk – Gleebooks, Glebe, 6pm for 6.30pm
CANBERRA
29 August: Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies, Australian National University (details to come)
MELBOURNE
6 September: In Conversation: Mariana Dimópulos and Dr Alice Whitmore – Monash University, Caulfield Campus, Building S, Room S901, 2pm
6 September: Salon Series: Mariana Dimópulos in Conversation with Anna Macdonald – Paperback Bookshop, Melbourne, 6pm

Four Giramondo authors to feature at this year’s Melbourne Writers’ Festival

10 August

We are pleased to share the news that four Giramondo authors will feature at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival this August, including Ali Cobby Eckermann, Michael Farrell and New Zealand writer, Ashleigh Young. Also appearing at the festival will be Alexis Wright to speak about her Stella-Prize-winning book, Tracker.

Find full sessions details for all attending authors by following the links below.

Ali Cobby Eckermann

Writers Across Borders – 31 August

Local Libraries: Ali Cobby Eckermann – 31 August

For the Love of Dog – 1 September

WrICE Papers Salon – 2 September

Closing Night Party: You Are There – 2 September

Alexis Wright

The Miles Franklin Literary Award – 26 August

Alexis Wright: Tracker – 28 August

Alexis Wright: Boisbouvier Oration – 29 August

Michael Farrell

The Big Bent Poetry Reading – 26 August

Alexis Wright wins the 2018 Magarey Medal

We are delighted to announce that Alexis Wright has been awarded the 2018 Magarey Medal for Biography for her book, Tracker.

Tracker, which also won the Stella Prize earlier in the year, is a collective memoir of the charismatic Aboriginal leader, political thinker and entrepreneur Tracker Tilmouth.

The Magarey Medal is a biennial prize that is awarded to the female author who has published the work judged to be the best biographical writing on an Australian subject in the preceding two years. The prize is administered by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature and the Australian Historical Association. To learn more about the award, please visit the ASAL website.

Read the judges’ comments below.

The committee felt that in a strong field Alexis Wright’s Tracker represented a clear and worthy winner of the Magarey Medal. Tracker is a significant achievement, which provides a complex historical, social, and personal account of a remarkable Australian by innovatively supplementing the conventions of biography with Indigenous knowledge and perspective. Tracker is a bespoke biography which crafts its form to fit with its individual subject, whilst also respecting more collective responses which are important to the Indigenous life story. The author calls it ‘consensus storytelling’ and locates its conventions in the decision-making practices of Indigenous community.

Tracker Tilmouth is an extraordinary Australian who worked to improve the well-being of Indigenous Australians by tirelessly advocating, acting, and inspiring people and projects. He was an influential man who worked within complex networks of organisation, business, government, politics and wider society so as to aid and develop an enduring Indigenous contribution to Australian life. To tell such a story the form curates a range of different perspectives from a remarkably diverse set of people who were chosen by Tracker to contribute to his story. The book artfully organises these recollections along with interviews with Tracker himself. The overlapping, restorying, and the meshing together of different perspectives on Indigenous experiences and histories, and the irreverent humour that recurs throughout make a powerful statement about a life expressed as purpose, imagination, action, resilience, and connection. In this way Wright is able to provide insight into a variety of individual and collective views of a remarkable Arrente man.

Tracker provides a diverse and complex appreciation of the challenges, labours, achievements and capacities of Indigenous Australians. Wright is able to vacate that location of the biographer to create a more polyphonic narrative that makes a point about the importance of a sense of society to any understanding of a life. It is a book that might be read cover to cover or dipped into serendipitously for example. Tracker enables its subject to be understood in complex moments and key relationships in such a way as to preserve the rich and multifaceted details of a life of engagement from the generalising tendencies of more conventional biography. It is a book appropriate to its subject.

Border Districts and No More Boats shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin

19 June2018

We are thrilled that Border Districts by Gerald Murnane and No More Boats by Felicity Castagna have been shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award. The announcement was made at a ceremony in Canberra on Sunday, 17 June. Giramondo is the only publisher to have more than one of their published works on the finalist list.

Gerald Murnane, author of 12 fiction works and a ‘neglected literary giant’ according to the Sydney Morning Herald, has made the list for the first time and given his ‘first nod in [a] 44-year career’. Approaching his eightieth year and now ‘delivered of [his] books’, the New York Times proposed in March that he may be ‘the greatest living English-language writer most people have never heard of’. Border Districts has also been shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal.

No More Boats is Felicity Castagna’s debut adult novel, which tells the unravelling of a man and a nation at the time of the Tampa crisis. ‘I wanted to ask questions about what happens when we cut off our past,’ Castagna told Jason Steger for the Sydney Morning Herald. ‘But also to ask how the trauma of separating yourself from your past and actively suppressing it can come out later in your life in your relationships with other people and in your understanding of the world.’ No More Boats was shortlisted for the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and her previous novel The Incredible Here and Now won the 2015 Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult Fiction.

The winner of the $60,000 prize will be announced on 26 August.

Border Districts
Gerald Murnane
$24.95
Buy here

The occasion for this novel is the narrator’s move to a remote district near the border to be alert to what might be described as the landscape of his own mind. We are told that what we are reading is a ‘report’, intended only for the narrator’s own files, on the series of mental images that are set in train by a very ordinary sight: a tiny church and its porch window that is passed daily on the morning walk to the shops and the post office. From here, we follow the narrator down certain rabbit holes into his history that centre on books read, people recalled, objects owned and locations visited.

The focus is on paying attention to the vines of thoughts and feelings, then and now, that wind around and cling to these things. The telling is lyrical, precise, highly self-aware and, at times, disarmingly humorous. The result is a subjective portrait of certain religious, geographical, architectural, social and cultural textures of life as it has been lived in Australia over the past seven decades. This novel, a consolidation of the idiosyncratic aesthetic programme Murnane has pursued throughout his career, gestures towards the capriciousness of consciousness, the relationship between fiction and fact and the purpose of writing itself.

Judges’ comments

This novel brings to life an Italo-Australian migrant family living in Parramatta, that historic town at the border of Sydney’s western suburbs, on the river ‘where salt water met fresh and the boats could go no further’. It is 2001, the time of the Tampa crisis when the prime minister intoned, ‘we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.’ His words resonate with Antonio Martone, unhinged by grief for his dead friend and his forced retirement from the building business they shared. When he paints ‘No More Boats’ on his front yard, his alienation from his English-born wife and adult son and daughter is complete.

Castagna skilfully dramatizes the generational conflicts as well as the everyday multiculturalism of the Martones’ relationships with family and friends. Borders, boats and homes are powerful motifs in this novel. It conveys a vivid sense of a decisive historical moment, as the events of 9/11 loom – events that generated ‘all those connections between Muslims in planes and Muslims on boats’ that have marked Australian life ever since.

Judges’ comments

No More Boats
Felicity Castagna
$26.95
Buy here

Michelle Cahill launches Flood Damages

Flood Damages by Eunice Andrada was launched by award-winning poet and fiction writer, Michelle Cahill, at the Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville, NSW, on Thursday 10 May, 2018. Below is an edited version of Cahill’s launch speech. 

…Flood Damages is that rare book that speaks, without self-censorship, from the heart of the Eurasian woman’s experience of cultural suspicion, racial hatred, sexual fetishisation, historical and moral ambivalence. Andrada articulates this knowledge brilliantly with unwavering poise, remarkable clarity and with an intimacy that is highly skilled and syntactically varied.

These poems work in extraordinary and complex ways as they dramatise the lyrics of diaspora and domicility, of family disruption, domestic and sexual violence with colonial and environmental ravages. From the very first line in the opening poem ‘a series of half truths about drowning’ Andrada performs a striking interrogation with her rhetoric… (read more)

In Memoriam Beverley Farmer

Photo credit: Robin Wallace-Crabbe

A eulogy delivered by Ivor Indyk at Beverley Farmer’s memorial service at Queenscliff on Sunday 29 April 2018.

It is difficult to write a formal eulogy for Beverley Farmer, because she was herself so much a writer of process. Her characters are often portrayed in ‘in-between’ states, in transition – culturally, socially, physically – and she pursues their fluctuating thoughts and emotions with fine discrimination, and a determination to bring to the surface the anxieties, the anger, the impulses to cruelty – and the ecstatic moments too – which lie within those thoughts. There is no aspect of experience she is not prepared to explore, and to observe, in the most exacting detail.

It is here, in her commitment to recording the transient moments of experience, that I think Beverley’s most striking achievement as a writer lies. Even in her fiction, it is the dynamic features of the natural world which command her closest attention, in part because her characters cannot be separated from the worlds they inhabit, but also because these elements are sources of wonder or fascination in themselves… [Read more]

Alexis Wright wins the 2018 Stella Prize for Tracker

Image credit: Connor Tomas O’Brien

15 April 2018

Our heartfelt congratulations to Alexis Wright, who has been named winner of the 2018 Stella Prize for Tracker. Her book is a collective memoir on the visionary Aboriginal leader, Tracker Tilmouth.

Worth $50,000, the Stella Prize is a major annual literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing. In her acceptance speech, Alexis Wright – the first Indigenous Australian to receive the prize in its six-year history – said she was ‘completely overwhelmed’ that Tracker had won, and that she ‘really had to spend some time unpacking this idea.’

‘I would like to thank you for considering the important messages in this book and its style,’ she said. ‘I wanted it to be a book for our times and from our place in the world. I am deeply grateful to you for helping Tracker reach a greater audience.’

Wright also praised the ‘remarkable diversity’ of the year’s shortlist, saying that ‘a literary dialogue that allows us to have greater knowledge and understanding of each other…is what will make Australian literature truly marvellous, relevant and far stronger than it has ever been.’

Published in November 2017, Tracker was also shortlisted for the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction, and is longlisted for the 2018 ABIA Book Awards. The book can be purchased through our website and in bookstores.

Tracker
Alexis Wright
$39.95
Buy here

‘In this remarkable biography, Alexis Wright follows an Aboriginal tradition of storytelling that she describes as a ‘practice for crossing landscapes and boundaries, giving many voices a part in the story’. Tracker is a collective memoir of Tracker Tilmouth, charismatic Aboriginal leader, thinker, entrepreneur, visionary and provocateur. Tilmouth worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles including Director of the Central Land Council. This unique, majestic biography has been composed by Wright from interviews with family, friends, foes and Tilmouth himself. It is one man’s story told by many voices, almost operatic in scale. With a tight narrative structure, compelling real-life characters, the book sings with insight and Tracker’s unique humour. Wright has crafted an epic that is a truly rewarding read.’

— Stella Prize judges’ citation for Tracker

Felicity Castagna’s No More Boats Shortlisted for the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

Felicity Castagna’s fiction novel No More Boats has been shortlisted for the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

The book, which is about the unravelling of a man and a nation set against the backdrop of the Tampa Crisis, is competing in the Multicultural NSW Award category, worth $20,000. Castagna’s previous novel The Incredible Here and Now was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2014, and won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction the same year.

Established in 1979, the awards have a history of ‘celebrating achievement by Australian writers and in helping to establish values and standards in Australian literature’. This year, over 600 works were entered across 10 prize categories.

The award finalists will be announced on 30 April 2018 as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

No More Boats
Felicity Castagna
$26.95
Buy here

Gerald Murnane and Ali Alizadeh on the 2018 ALS Gold Medal Longlist

27 March 2018

Fiction writers Gerald Murnane and Ali Alizadeh have been longlisted for the 2018 Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal for their respective works Border Districts and The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc.

The ALS Gold Medal is an annual award presented by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL), recognising ‘outstanding literary work in the preceding calendar year’. In 2014, Alexis Wright received the award for her novel The Swan Book.

Border Districts
Gerald Murnane
$24.95
Buy here

The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc
Ali Alizadeh
$26.95
Buy here

Vanessa Berry and Brian Castro win at the 2018 Mascara Avant-garde Awards

27 March 2018

Vanessa Berry and Brian Castro have each taken out first prize at the 2018 Mascara Avant-garde Awards for works published last year. Berry’s Mirror Sydney (recently longlisted for the ABIA awards), has topped the nonfiction category, and Castro’s Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria has won for fiction.

We also extend our congratulations to Oscar Schwartz, whose collection The Honeymoon Stage was shortlisted in the poetry category, and Ali Alizadeh, whose book The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc was shortlisted for fiction.

Read the judges’ comments on the two winning works below.

Mirror Sydney
Vanessa Berry
$26.95
Buy here

Described as an off-piste urban field manual, this book walks us through a psycho geography where alternative narratives find space between the icons, infrastructure, wharves and freeways. Historical layering, speculative flourishes and the rhetoric of maps shape the city’s ethical and hybrid possibilities. An extended meditation on time, space, history and urban subjectivity.

With its dark ironies and playful liberties of form there is mastery and joy in this verse novel. Castro’s musicality, anagrams and puns interpolate the banal with the absurd in 34 cantos that riff on The Divine Comedy as they tell the story of the last days of cancer fugitive and Adelaide architect, Lucian Gracq. This superb novel is innovative, thoughtful, comforting and profound.

Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria
Brian Castro
$26.95
Buy here

Nine Giramondo authors to feature at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival

20 March 2018

We are proud to announce that nine Giramondo authors will be appearing at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival. Running from 30 April to 6 May at a new temporary location at Carriageworks, the program – designed around the theme of ‘power’ by artistic director Michaela McGuire – will include sessions with recently published authors Alexis Wright (Tracker), Vanessa Berry (Mirror Sydney) and Fiona Wright (Domestic Interior), with the latter in conversation with New Zealand author Ashleigh Young (Can You Tolerate This?). It will also include a panel discussion featuring Western Sydney poet Maryam Azam, whose debut collection The Hijab Files will be coming out in May.

Find full sessions details for all attending authors by following the links below.

Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright: Tracker – 3 May

Vanessa Berry

Stories of Sydney – 3 May

Maryam Azam

Women, Colour and Western Sydney – 5 May

Joanne Burns

Big Bent Poetry Reading – 3 May

Zoë Norton Lodge

Story Club – 3 May

Alexis Wright and Beverley Farmer have been longlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize

We are thrilled following the announcement that Tracker by Alexis Wright and This Water: Five Tales by Beverley Farmer have been longlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize. Read the judges’ comments below and visit the Stella Prize website for details of the full longlist.

The five stories that make up This Water draw on familiar tropes from fairy tales and classical mythology, but fashion them into distinct and evocative fictional worlds. Beverley Farmer’s protagonists confront the universal problems of love, desire, loyalty and loss; but the contexts in which they face these problems also compel us to consider the ways in which the constraints imposed upon them by virtue of their social positions as women have conspired to shape their experiences, conflicts and sufferings. The timeless nature of Farmer’s subject matter is reflected in the elemental imagery that gives the volume its unique atmosphere and underlying sense of coherence. Blood and water are organising motifs in a book whose earthiness and multivalent symbolism are matched by its surpassing elegance of expression. This Water confirms Farmer’s reputation as a stylist of rare distinction. Her euphonious prose fuses the fluency and gravitas of ancient storytelling traditions to the concentrated clarity of the greatest modern writers. She writes prose with the attentiveness of a poet, achieving much of her lyrical effect by means of a plainspoken vocabulary utilised with a perfectly attuned sense of rhythm. This Water is an estimable work by one of Australia’s finest writers.

This Water: Five Tales
Beverley Farmer
$26.95
Buy here

Tracker
Alexis Wright
$39.95
Buy here

In this remarkable biography, Alexis Wright follows an Aboriginal tradition of storytelling that she describes as a ‘practice for crossing landscapes and boundaries, giving many voices a part in the story’. Tracker is a collective memoir of Tracker Tilmouth, charismatic Aboriginal leader, thinker, entrepreneur, visionary and provocateur. Tilmouth worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles including Director of the Central Land Council. This unique, majestic biography has been composed by Wright from interviews with family, friends, foes and Tilmouth himself. It is one man’s story told by many voices, almost operatic in scale. With a tight narrative structure, compelling real-life characters, the book sings with insight and Tracker’s unique humour. Wright has crafted an epic that is a truly rewarding read.

Ashleigh Young and Felicity Castagna to Appear at the Adelaide Writers’ Week

5 February 2018

We’re pleased to announce that Giramondo authors Ashleigh Young and Felicity Castagna will be appearing at this year’s Adelaide Writers’ Week (3–8 March 2018).

Young will be speaking at two sessions alongside Patricia Lockwood, Sarah Krasnostein and Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. The New Zealand writer’s book of essays, Can You Tolerate This?was published in September last year, winning the prestigious $20,000 Windham-Campbell Prize and the Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Nonfiction.

The award-winning author Castagna will join Michelle de Kretser to discuss issues of migration and Australian culture as explored in her fiction novel No More Boats, also published last year.

Find more information on each of the two author’s festival sessions below.

Ashleigh Young

Poet First, Then… – 5 Mar

The Self in the Story – 6 Mar

 

Order a copy of Can You Tolerate This?

Felicity Castagna

Boat People – 4 Mar

 

Order a copy of No More Boats.

Corey Wakeling and Shevaun Cooley to appear at the 2018 Perth Writers Week

19 January 2018

Giramondo poets Corey Wakeling and Shevaun Cooley will be appearing across six sessions at the 2018 Perth Writers Week as part of the Perth International Arts Festival. The authors are both originally from Western Australia, with Cooley an Adjunct Lecturer at the state’s Edith Cowan University, while Wakeling has since relocated to the Kansai region of Japan.

Each poet has a festival session dedicated to their latest work. On Wednesday 24 February, Wakeling will be talking to poet Philip Mead on his fervent and provocative poetry collection The Alarming Conservatory, which is to be released early next month. (Mead’s 2008 review of Wakeling’s previous collection, Goad Omen, can be found on Cordite Poetry Review.) On Thursday 25 February, Shevaun’s 2017 book Homing – a meditation on her preoccupation with place and belonging – will be discussed with Robert Wood.

Please find information on the two poets’ festival sessions below.

Corey Wakeling

The Alarming Conservatory – 24 Feb

Poetry Land – 24 Feb

A Gala for Fay Zwicky – 25 Feb

 

Pre-order a copy of The Alarming Conservatory.

Shevaun Cooley

The Poets Speak – 19 Feb

Poetry Land II – 24 Feb

Homing – 25 Feb

 

Order a copy of Homing

Alexis Wright and Jennifer Maiden have been shortlisted for the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Congratulations to Alexis Wright for being shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Nonfiction for her most recent book, Tracker, and to Jennifer Maiden for being shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry for her collection, The Metronome.

Two further Giramondo titles were highly commended by the judges – they are No More Boats by Felicity Castagna and I Love Poetry by Michael Farrell.

To learn more about the award, visit the Wheeler Centre website.

Antigone Kefala has been shortlisted for the 2017 Prime Minister’s Awards

We congratulate Antigone Kefala for being shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry with her poetry collection, Fragments.

Judges’ comments

Antigone Kefala’s Fragments is a searing enactment of memory. Time demolishes us all in little doses, so the poet contends, but the past is “a poison / we thirst for”. Shards of memory conjure the world in various states of evanescence: dreams evoke empty rooms in old houses, the floorboards gone, even the walls are thinning to mist – here and there the cry of birds pierce the enveloping silence.

We, like the poems, may “sink in light, disappear in silence”, but Kefala bids us to recall the “glossy beings” of our younger selves who head into the future innocent to what awaits us.

Kefala astounds with imagery that is intense, unsettling and always unexpected: at dusk in the coastal town of Derveni on the Peloponnese peninsula, fishing boats are “massive dark stones / planted / in a field of moonstone”. Light, fire and flowers are recurring motifs, as is the theme of “self-sufficiency”, which in the fierce austerity of Kefala’s mind finds its ultimate embodiment in death.

Fragments is a wonder of minimalism in which we find ourselves, like the poet, dancing in memory rooms growing bigger and bigger. It is a major work by a senior poet whose poetry continues to fascinate.

Fragments
Antigone Kefala
$24.95
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Antigone Kefala wins the 2017 Queensland Literary Award for Poetry

This year the Judith Wright Calanthe Award, given to an outstanding collection of poetry by an Australian writer, was awarded to Antigone Kefala for her poetry collection Fragments.

About the poet

Antigone Kefala has written four works of fiction, including The First JourneyThe Island and Summer Visit, and four poetry collections, The AlienThirsty WeatherEuropean Notebook and Absence: New and Selected Poems as well as the non-fiction work Sydney Journals. Born in Romania of Greek parents, she lived in Greece and New Zealand before coming to Australia.

About the book

Antigone Kefala is one of the finest Australian poets, highly regarded for the intensity of her vision, yet not widely known, on account of her minimalism, and the small number of poems she has published, each carefully worked, each magical or menacing in its effects. Fragmentsis her first collection of poems in almost twenty years, since the publication of New and Selected Poems in 1998. It follows her memoir Sydney Journals (Giramondo, 2008), of which one critic wrote, ‘Kefala can render the music of the moment so perfectly, she leaves one almost singing with the pleasure of it’. This skill in capturing the moment is just as evident in Fragments, with its linguistic precision, its heightened perception and sense of drama – though the territory is often darker now, as the poet navigates the liminal spaces between life and death, and the energies which lie in wait there.

Learn more about the Queensland Literary Awards.

Fragments
Antigone Kefala
$24.95
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Giramondo publishes the first title in its new Southern Latitudes series, devoted to writers from the southern hemisphere

A note from Ivor Indyk, Giramondo Publisher

It is extraordinary how devoted we are to the north, when we take our literary bearings in Australia. Of course there is not a lot to the south of us in the way of literary precedents to follow, but to the east and west, in Southern Africa, New Zealand, the South Pacific and South America, there are rich literary traditions, a common historical background in colonisation, an awareness of the complex relationship between our Indigenous and migrant populations, and a shared experience of living in southern latitudes, under southern skies, to the rhythm of southern seasons. This argues for resemblances between the perspectives in our writing.

The spell and the disappointment of the north is explicit in the first title in the series, All My Goodbyes, where the young female narrator leaves Buenos Aires to spend much of her youth in Europe. This is a familiar trajectory, as is her return, not only to the city from which she started, but further south, to a farm in Patagonia. The traditionalism of the old world, ironically portrayed in the intellectual pretensions of her German lover, the sense of cultural superiority, and on the other hand, the combination in her of defiance and self-deprecation, persistence and restlessness, these qualities too appear in our writing. There is something else I admire in Dimópulos, and in Latin American writing, a formal skill in the framing of narrative and in the use of shorter fictional forms like the novella, the concentration and economy of which is conducive to intensity, thought and experimentation.

The aim of Giramondo’s ‘Southern Latitudes’ series is to bring together writers from the southern hemisphere, and to allow their work to strike resonances for Australian writers and readers. Forthcoming titles include the collection of essays Can You Tolerate This? by New Zealand writer Ashleigh Young, a recipient of the prestigious 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize; and the futurist novella Balada by Argentinian writer Marcelo Cohen, translated by Chris Andrews.

Ivor Indyk

All My Goodbyes
Mariana Dimópulos
$24.95
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Can You Tolerate This?
Ashleigh Young
$24.95
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Brian Castro to appear at the 2017 International Literature Festival in Berlin

Brian Castro, author of Shanghai Dancing and The Garden Book, will attend this year’s International Literature Festival being held in Berlin. Castro has been selected to attend the festival as part of the Literatures of the World program, which features world-renowned authors as well as new discoveries from the fields of prose and poetry.

Castro will discuss his latest work, Blindness and Rage, a verse novel in which a fatally ill poet finds himself in a secret society in Paris. Written in thirty-four cantos, Blindness and Rage recalls Virgil and Dante in its descent into the underworld of writing, and Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin with its mixture of wonder and melancholy. The short lines bring out the rhythmic qualities of Castro’s prose, enhance his playfulness and love of puns, his use of allusion and metaphor. Always an innovator, in Blindness and Rage he again throws down a challenge to the limits of the novel form.

For more information visit the International Literature Festival website.

Aden Rolfe wins the 2017 Mary Gilmore Award

Congratulations to Aden Rolfe who has won this year’s Mary Gilmore Award, a prize given to the best first book of poetry published in the previous year.

About the poet

Aden Rolfe is a writer and editor whose practice includes poetry, performance writing and criticism. His poems have been published in the Age, Best Australian Poems, Overland and Best Australian Poetry, and broadcast on ABC Radio National (Books and Arts Daily) and 2SER (Final Draft).

About the book

False Nostalgia has received support from the Australia Council in the form of a JUMP mentorship, and from Varuna through the award of the Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship for Poetry. False Nostalgia explores the interaction of memory, identity and narrative – in particular, the relationship between what we remember and the stories we tell about ourselves. Through stand alone poems, intricate sequences and experimental poetics, False Nostalgia considers the disconnect between experience and recollection, the drive to document a moment, the fear of forgetting and the unreliability of memory. Rolfe approaches his subjects obliquely, evoking feelings of connection, loss and the experience of never quite grasping your own understanding of things. The poems place the reader in half-remembered places – beach shacks from past holidays, quivering forests, auction houses of the mind – asking not only what it means to look back fondly on a second-rate experience, but what it means to look forward to looking back on a moment while you’re still living through it.

Learn more about the Mary Gilmore Award.

A note from Alan Wearne on These Things Are Real

Award-winning poet, Alan Wearne, writes here about his most recent poetry collection, These Things Are Real. The collection is available here.


Yes, poetry is an elitist pursuit, since not everyone can write it, nor can everyone read and enjoy it. Yet it is still the most democratic, maybe even anarchic of the written/spoken arts. Rarely beholden to any writers centre/book club/festival/market place, we truly can write as we please, and if readers have to meet us some of the way and adjust…so be it. They can be assured that these things I write of in the ‘Five Verse Narratives’ of my These Things are Real are indeed real: the damaged busker and the even more potent damage he causes; the reserved gay engineer and his assembly of warm-hearted friends; the love-lorn young lesbian Maoist; the acerbic 1950s widow and the dysfunctional couple she befriends; the well-educated junkie near-mesmerised by his dealer. Stories quite often out of a one- time Australia? Maybe, though still tales that I trust can resonate, for people will always love and nurture, hate and abuse, become obsessed, become addicted.

And if such are the constants what of the here-and-now? Well that’s where the satirist arrives, for if all eras need their satirical corrective, this era is bellowing out for such, in Australia and throughout the globe. Which I hope is where the ‘The Sarsaparilla Writers Centre’ of my present book comes barging in. Sure we can take shots at this brute in the Kremlin, that slob in the White House, those ditherers hovering about 10 Downing Street, but in a garden that has produced Abbott, Dutton, Hanson and Pell (for starters!) I think we should take to spraying our own weeds first. And those elitists, the poets, are just the folk for the job!

Alan Wearne

Alan Wearne’s poems coruscate with their brio. As they unfold, they mint the music and good cheer from resources as broad as the rhyming élan of Kipling, Newbolt or C.J. Dennis, to the street argot his extraordinarily ready ear might have overheard a moment ago. But always they communicate the enjoyment he takes in their composition, a poetry that delights as much in being at the up-front of how lives are lived and spoken, as it joys in how serviceable is the substance poetry itself to make that up-front vibrant and just.

Alan Gould

Michelle Cahill has won the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing

Congratulations to Michelle Cahill whose short story collection Letter to Pessoa won the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing, a prize which recognises a published book of fiction written by an author who has not previously published a book-length work of narrative fiction or narrative non-fiction.

To learn more about the award and the other shortlisted works, visit the NSW State Library website.

The judges said:

This virtuosic literary collection experiments with a wide range of styles and narrative points of view. It wears its literary influences on its sleeve, adopting and adapting the narrative voices, characters, biographies and story fragments of writers as diverse as Pessoa, Derrida, Woolf, Borges and Genet. In ‘Letter to John Coetzee’ Melanie Isaacs, the minor character from Coetzee’s novel Disgrace, cheekily interrogates him about the ways in which women of colour are exploited and marginalised in literature as they are in life.

The stories address issues to do with race, war, queerness and belonging. Their characters move across geographic, class and aesthetic terrains, visiting global hotspots of struggle, tourism and migration. Questions are raised about the ethics of first-world witnessing as Cahill draws the UK, the US, India, Nepal, Southeast Asia and Australia together in a web of transnational connections.

From Tom Collins to Ern Malley to My Life as a Fake, the Australian literary world has had more than its share of authors unafraid to wield a satirical pen. Joining these ranks is Michelle Cahill’s wonderfully seditious collection of short stories, Letter to Pessoa. This spritely fictional debut addresses literature through some of its greatest practitioners — who may also be the most deserving of reproach. A teasing sense of imitation runs through this book, but it is more than mere caricature. The reader is left with nothing but admiration for Cahill’s incisive intelligence and literary skill in this original work.

This spritely fictional debut addresses literature through some of its greatest practitioners…The reader is left with nothing but admiration for Cahill’s incisive intelligence and literary skill in this original work.

Judges' comments

Antigone Kefala and Michelle Cahill have been shortlisted for the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

We are thrilled to announce that two Giramondo authors have been shortlisted for 2017 NSW Premier’s Awards: Antigone Kefala is shortlisted for her poetry collection, Fragments, for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, and Michelle Cahill is shortlisted for her short story collection, Letter to Pessoa, for the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing.

To see the full list of shortlisted works, please visit the NSW State Library website.

Fragments: Judges’ comments

In Fragments, Antigone Kefala faces time’s relentless fragmentation of the wholeness of human experience. Against the indifference of the world to human life in all its phases — ‘so many seasons now/…unaware of us’ — Kefala cries out to poetry. In a book of stunning austerity, razor-sharp imagery and precise free-verse prosody, Kefala appeals to the redemptive power of memory in the face of life’s transience and intimate loss; a power that, for the poet, is found in the eloquence of poetry’s restoration of memory and life.

Kefala’s poetry approaches the dark clarity and dense allegory of Paul Celan, the face of the other peering into the face of the self across an abyss of emptiness which becomes, in the shadow of the poetic gesture, an abyss of completeness: ‘yet I called your name/lost in the rain of ash/that kept on falling.’ There is also passion, the sparkle of youth texturing the shadows of the present. Beneath it all is an eye for the ‘ferocity of life’ and, in poetry, its elegant embrace of what time can give, and what time takes away.

Letter to Pessoa: Judges’ comments

This virtuosic literary collection experiments with a wide range of styles and narrative points of view. It wears its literary influences on its sleeve, adopting and adapting the narrative voices, characters, biographies and story fragments of writers as diverse as Pessoa, Derrida, Woolf, Borges and Genet. In ‘Letter to John Coetzee’ Melanie Isaacs, the minor character from Coetzee’s novel Disgrace, cheekily interrogates him about the ways in which women of colour are exploited and marginalised in literature as they are in life.

The stories address issues to do with race, war, queerness and belonging. Their characters move across geographic, class and aesthetic terrains, visiting global hotspots of struggle, tourism and migration. Questions are raised about the ethics of first-world witnessing as Cahill draws the UK, the US, India, Nepal, Southeast Asia and Australia together in a web of transnational connections.

Ali Cobby Eckermann awarded 2017 Windham-Campbell prize

Indigenous poet Ali Cobby Eckermann has won the 2017 Windham-Campbell award for poetry. She has said that the prize money, which totals A$215,000, is ‘going to change my life completely’.

Of Eckermann, the Windham-Campbell Prize website states:

‘Through song and story, Ali Cobby Eckermann confronts the violent history of Australia’s Stolen Generations and gives language to unspoken lineages of trauma and loss. […] She has produced a substantial and formally innovative body of work, including the award-winning 2015 collection Inside My Mother. Eckermann has described Inside My Mother as an “emotional timeline” of the Stolen Generations, the thousands of children of indigenous descent—among them Eckermann herself, as well as her mother and son—taken from their families by the Australian government.’

The award was started in 2013 by David Windham after the death of his lifelong partner Sandy Campbell in 1988. This year there were eight recipients.

To learn more about Inside My Mother and Ali Cobby Eckermann, visit the Giramondo website.

I was 34 when I finally found my mother. Four years later my son was returned to me (he was 18). My family taught us culture and I healed through poetry. An award of this magnitude will continue the healing for many of us.

Ali Cobby Eckermann

Sean Rabin’s Wood Green shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award

Wood Green cover for webGiramondo author Sean Rabin has been shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Award for Fiction with his novel Wood Green set in a village on the slopes of Mt Wellington in Tasmania. Previously, the novel was shortlisted for The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. The novel is an exploration of the perils of literary ambition and the elusive prospect of artistic legacy.

Of this work, the judges said: Wood Green explores the relationship between art and life, and contains some illuminating passages about what it means to create art. Evoking the insularity of a small town life, it deals with its location and characters with warmth and humour. Suspense-fully plotted and cleverly narrated, Wood Green a book beyond categorisation – covering the domestic and the cosmopolitan, the pedestrian and the sublime, all with equal skill and authenticity.

To learn more about the shortlist, visit the Wheeler Centre website.

Lisa Gorton wins and Michael Farrell shortlisted for the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

We are delighted to announce that Lisa Gorton has co-won the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. Michael Farrell was also shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry.

You can listen to Lisa’s chat about her award-winning book with the Books and Arts Daily podcast.

The Life of Houses_Lisa GortonJudges comments for The Life of Houses:

Lisa Gorton, in The Life of Houses, has written a highly original novel in which she has made the background of her narrative the foreground. She has taken a common place and made it mysterious and profound. Over a century ago the French novelist Gustave Flaubert said that he would like to write a book with no content, a book that was nothing but style. Lisa Gorton has gone some considerable way toward realising this essentially modernist ambition. She avoids all sensation, and the high points of her narrative all occur off stage, or are spoken of in the most low-key manner. These moments include a mother’s consideration of beginning an affair, a young girl’s failure to make a connection with a gay painter who is interested in her as a person, a ghost that never appears and the death of the girl’s grandfather. All these incidences, and others, typify what might be called the author’s contribution to the “a car went by” school of writing (walking to the beach one day it is noted that “a car went by” without any import or symbolism to this phrase).

While this is not a novel for every reader, those who enjoy observation will find it a book of exquisite precision. It is a work of realism taken to the point where that immemorial style is renewed for the modern reader. Some may remember the French novelist who caused a stir in the 1950s, Alain Robbe-Grillet, who concentrated on the physical objects informing his work. Like him, Lisa Gorton has written a book whose virtues are all in its details, but she has an unpretentious, clean and warm style which makes her remote from her similar predecessor.

Farrell_revJudges comments for Cocky’s Joy:

Michael Farrell’s Cocky’s Joy is a series of deliberate non-sequiturs, of phrases resonant yet unconnected to the words which have gone before, “slowly edging towards Babel in reverse”, as one poem puts it. “We see the world as a black and white golf course. Constellations like buttons on Apollinaire.” While such sentences, on the surface, make no sense, they are nonetheless suggestive of a particular mind at work. Many of the poems in this book are nothing more than lists of items that have been glimpsed in passing by that mind, or consciousness, and as such they help to create an inadvertent self-portrait of a person whose thoughts are endlessly curious, witty, literate, allusive, with a frame of references that range from the domestic to the cosmic, taking in both high culture and popular media on the way.

To see the full shortlists and other categories, visit the Department of Arts website.

Fiona Wright wins 2016 Queensland Literary Non-fiction Award

Fiona Wright has been awarded The University of Queensland Non-fiction Book Award for Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger. Her collection of essays has also recently won the Kibble Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize.

Of Small Acts of Disappearance, the judges said: ‘This is a brilliant albeit disturbing collection of essays by Fiona Wright about her long association with an illness experienced by many young people in our land of plenty. She refers to her eating disorder as hunger, and in so doing she re-frames this mysterious illness so that we as readers are better able to understand it. She unsparingly highlights the contradictions and deceptions inherent in the illness, and what she sees as the empowering and addictive effects of hunger. She references anorexic moments in books we’ve all read and probably missed, sobering indeed.’

To read more about this collection of essays, visit the website.

 

Lucy Dougan wins the 2016 WA Premier’s Poetry Award

The Guardians by Lucy Dougan has won the Western Australia Premier’s Award in the poetry category. The award ceremony took place at the State Library of Western Australia on 3 October.

Of the poetry collection, the judges said: ‘Seemingly simple, actually very dense poetry, Dougan’s elliptical work hints at a life that hovers just beyond our comprehension; in dreams, tales, the past, in the imagination of the poet. This other world surrounds even the most domestic of the poems. Often funny as well as serious, the work is at the same time mysterious and haunting.’

Read more about The Guardians on the website.

Alexis Wright wins the 2016 Kate Challis Award for The Swan Book

Alexis Wright has won the 2016 Kate Challis Award with her novel, The Swan Book.

In their citation the judges noted: ‘Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book is a sprawling, magnificent achievement, a remarkable imaginative vision of Australia as it was and is, and will be. Set at some point in the future, in a world utterly changed by global warming, war and the global movement of people, it charts the life of a mute young woman, Oblivian Ethel(ene), beginning with her fraught relationship with an old, enigmatic refugee, Bella Donna of the Champions. The novel is full of mythologies and soaring imagery: the swans, for example, are ever-present and say so much about the predicament of the world they inhabit. At the same time, the novel launches a devastating critique of Australia’s treatment of Indigenous people: condemning the Federal government’s Intervention, and showing us the many ways in which a militarised colonialism has shaped, and continues to shape, Indigenous lives in Australia’s north and across the nation.’

In 1994, Emeritus Professor Bernard Smith (late) established “The Kate Challis Award” to honour the memory of his late wife, Kate Challis, who was known in her youth as Ruth Adeney (RAKA is an acronym for the Ruth Adeney Koori Award). In the Pintupi language RAKA means ‘five’ and in the Warlpiri RDAKA means ‘hand’. The donor stipulated that the award be made annually and is to be applied to encourage Indigenous artists to undertake literary works, paintings, sculptures, craftwork, plays and musical compositions and to assist in advancing the recognition of Indigenous achievements in these areas.

To read more about the award, visit the website.

Ali Cobby Eckermann shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing

Ali Cobby Eckermann’s collection of poems, Inside My Mother, is one of three titles shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing. The winner of the $20,000 award will be announced on 7 September, coinciding with Indigenous Literacy Day.

Of Inside My Mother, the judges said:

Inside my Mother is a haunting and evocative piece of writing from an extraordinarily gifted poet. Ali Cobby Eckermann has produced a deeply personal set of poetic moments, which are both inventive and classical. A raw and honest collection cut from bitter experience, Inside My Mother sometimes reads like a verse novel – except these moments might be ripped from the pages of another person’s life.

There is great empathy in these poems. The title suggests a primal longing for the mother, who is embodied in the birth trees that populate the country of the poet’s mind. Those birth trees, like the surreal dream birds, are both witness and sentinel to generations of mothers and daughters. There is nothing anaesthetic about these poems; they are brutal and affirming in their truth.’

To read more about the shortlist, visit the Wheeler Centre website.

Sean Rabin’s Wood Green has been shortlisted for The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction

Wood Green cover for webWood Green by Sean Rabin has been shortlisted for the 2016 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Now in its third year, the aim of the award is to recognise ‘exciting and exceptional new contributions to local literature’.

On Wood Green the judges commented: ‘Set in Tasmania, this is a charming, quirky and very clever debut novel, bursting with literary references and boasting a memorable cast of characters. A genuine pleasure to read.’

The winning author will be announced at midday on Tuesday 18 October, be featured in the November issue of the Readings Monthly, and will receive prize money of $4000.

To read more about the prize, visit the Readings website.

Lucy Dougan and Jennifer Maiden shortlisted for 2016 WA Premier’s Poetry Award

Maiden and Dougan WA Poetry
Two Giramondo poets have been shortlisted for the 2016 Western Australian Premier’s Poetry Award: Lucy Dougan for The Guardians and Jennifer Maiden for The Fox Petition.

The judges said of The Guardians: ‘Seemingly simple, actually very dense poetry, Dougan’s elliptical work hints at a life that hovers just beyond our comprehension; in dreams, tales, the past, in the imagination of the poet. This other world surrounds even the most domestic of the poems. Often funny as well as serious, the work is at the same time mysterious and haunting.’

On The Fox Petition: ‘Mostly long, often conversational poems between well-known political or public figures, Maiden’s poetry is sharp, witty and entertaining. Its focus is on rights of all kinds and for her the poetry is definitely, and defiantly, the political. While it often uses historical figures, the work is always marked by its contemporary significance and broad historical relevance.’

The prize-winners will be announced on Monday 3 October 2016.

For more information visit the website.

Fiona Wright winner of $30 000 Kibble Literary Award

Small acts of disappearance_Fiona WrightWe are excited to announce that Fiona Wright has won the 2016 Nita B Kibble Literary Award for her collection of essays, Small Acts of Disappearance. The Award, which is worth $30 000, celebrates female writers and their impact on life writing.

The judges said:

“With the skilful use of language seen in her prize-winning poetry, Wright writes frankly and movingly about a difficult and very personal subject. Unlike many memoirs of illness and recovery, hers is not a story of triumph over adversity. The essay form allows her to resist closure, while also providing insights into her reading, her travels and her interactions with others,” she said.

For more information visit this site.

Martin Edmond’s Battarbee and Namatjira Shortlisted for National Biography Award

Battarbee and Namatjira_Martin EdmondWe’re excited that Battarbee and Namatjira by Martin Edmond has been shortlisted for the National Biography Award.

The Award was established in 1996 by Dr Geoffrey Cains and is administered and presented by the State Library of NSW.

The total prize value is $31,000 – $25,000 for the winner and $1,000 each for shortlisted authors – making it the richest national prize dedicated to Australian biographical writing and memoir.

The winner is announced each year in August.

For the complete shortlist, click here.

Fiona Wright Shortlisted for the Kibble Award

Small acts of disappearance_Fiona WrightWe’re delighted that Fiona Wright has been shortlisted for the Kibble Award for Established Writers for her essay collection Small Acts of Disappearance.

Established in 1994, the Kibble Awards recognise Australian female literary talent in honour of Nita Kibble, the first female librarian of the State Library of New South Wales. They comprise the Kibble Literary Award for an established author, as well as the Dobbie Literary Award for a first time published author.

For the complete shortlist, click here.

Joanne Burns and Lisa Gorton Winners of NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

We’re delighted that two Giramondo authors received awards at the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

joanne burns won the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize for brush of which the judges said: ‘While apparently modest in scope this intrepid and original poetry’s achievement is considerable as the commonplace is excavated in all its multifarious dimensions.’

Lisa Gorton was awarded the People’s Choice Prize for The Life of Houses.

For the full list of winners and judges’ citations, click here.

Giramondo Authors Shortlisted for NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

We are delighted to have so many authors shortlisted for this year’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.  

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
Lisa Gorton The Life of Houses

Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction
Fiona Wright Small Acts of Disappearance

Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
joanne burns brush

Indigenous Writers’ Prize
Ali Cobby Eckermann Inside my Mother

For a full list of shortlisted titles, click here.

Fiona Wright Shortlisted for the Stella Prize

Small acts of disappearance_Fiona Wright

We’re thrilled that Fiona Wright’s Small Acts of Disappearancehas been shortlisted for the Stella Prize.

The judges say:
Small Acts of Disappearance is a collection of essays on anorexia, a disorder as disturbing as it is mysterious, even to its own sufferers. Documenting Fiona Wright’s experience from the beginning of her affliction, when she was a student, to her hospitalisation with a life-threateningly extreme version of the illness, the essays display a candour and an intelligence that describe the course of her illness with great precision and illuminate the sufferer’s motives and actions over time.

The narrative is crosshatched with other experiences and subjects: travel, autobiography, and literature – in particular writers who have used their art to anatomise the extremity of compulsion. The range of Wright’s research, from contemporary neurobiologists to old school modernists, and the quality of her insights make Small Acts of Disappearance a valuable book. Wright brings a sometimes melancholy, sometimes comic, well-informed honesty to an important subject.’

For the full shortlist, click here.

Judith Beveridge shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2015

Beveridge Devadatta's Poems cover draftWe’re thrilled that Judith Beveridge’s poetry collection, Devadatta’s Poems, has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2015. For a full list of shortlisted titles, click here.

Queensland Literary Awards Shortlistings

Lucy DouganWe are delighted to have two authors shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards.

Lucy Dougan’s The Guardians has been shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Poetry Prize and Nicholas Jose’s Bapo has been shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Short Story Prize.

For the full shortlist and winners, click here.

Felicity Castagna chosen for IBBY Australia Honour List

TiHan cover for webWe’re thrilled that Felicity Castagna’s The Incredible Here and Now has been chosen at IBBY Australia’s Honour Book for Writing.

Of Felicity’s work, the judges said:

Dom dies in a car accident. Fifteen-year-old Michael has to learn how to live without his older brother, whose easy charm could open any doors. In this life-changing year, while his mother withdraws from the family, Michael, despite his strong sense of self, becomes somehow disconnected from his world. This gives the story an edgy feel as we experience with him his neighbourhood, his girlfriend and the cars which zoom up and down the street. The novel has a powerful sense of place, exploring the setting and cultures of the western suburbs of Sydney that many readers can identify with. Castagna’s sharp, observant writing shows compassion and insight and explores the themes of grief, loss, romance, culture and family life through a series of vignettes. Many light touches of humour contribute to making this compelling and accessible book a story about hope and finding one’s place in the community.

For more information about IBBY Australia, click here.

Alexis Wright Awarded a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship

Alexis Wright authorWe are delighted that Alexis Wright has been awarded a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship.

First awarded in 2011, the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships provide grants of $160,000 over two years to individual artists, arts managers and thought leaders in the humanities. For more information on the fellowships and other recipients, click here.

Jennifer Maiden awarded ALS Gold Medal

We are delighted that Jennifer Maiden has been awarded the 2015 ALS Gold Medal for her poetry collection Drones and Phantoms.

Judith Beveridge Awarded Peter Porter Poetry Prize

We’re thrilled that Judith Beveridge has been awarded the Peter Porter Poetry Prize for her work, ‘As Wasps Fly Upwards’.

On winning the prize, Judith said:

I am deeply honoured to have won the Peter Porter Poetry Prize, not only because of the high regard I have for Peter Porter’s poetry and for Australian Book Review, but also because of the very strong 2015 shortlist. I loved all the poems and was truly surprised to hear I’d won. My sincere thanks to ABR for continuing this prestigious prize, which is a great support for poets.

For more information on the shortlisted poems, visit the ABR website, here.

Luke Carman wins NSW Premier’s New Writing Award 2015

Carman-CoverWe are delighted that Luke Carman has won the UTS Glenda Adams New Writing Award 2015 at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

The judges had this to say of Luke’s work:

Luke Carman’s witty collection of stories heralds a new, edgy and brilliant voice in Australian fiction. The elegant young man of the title is a well-read, acerbic character who goes by the name of Luke Carman. Immediately the writer’s erudition and craft are on display. Here we have a portrait of the artist as a young western Sydney man, failing repeatedly the machismo tests set by the street thugs and dealers of suburbs with the postcode 2170.

Through his unpretentious, playful stream-of-consciousness, the protagonist charts his own odyssey from Liverpool Boys High and the western suburbs to the more genteel, sophisticated inner west. Carman offers a cartography of the multiracial — and at times violent and drug-and-booze fuelled — neighbourhoods of western Sydney, and a map of the protagonist’s reading life. Kerouac, Ginsberg, Tolstoy, Whitman, Dylan Thomas and Hemingway sit alongside Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Henry Rollins, Seinfeld and Penthouse.

Carman’s epigrammatic stories, so perfectly suited to Giramondo’s Shorts form, build in intensity and poignancy. After a rollicking, sometimes brazen and shocking romp through fraught geographical, cultural and racial terrain, we are left with the almost nostalgic suggestion that perhaps there can be no more true heroes – no great Ulysses – in our modern world. But, Carman suggests, you should not let that get you down. An Elegant Young Man shocks, delights, depresses and inspires.

For a full list of winners, click here.

Michael Mohammed Ahmad, SMH Best Young Novelist 2015, Voss Prize Shortlisting

Ahmad The Tribe Cover
We’re thrilled that Michael Mohammed Ahmad has been named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Novelists, 2015, for his book The Tribe. The judges said:

Ahmad tackles this difficult subject matter with breathtaking honesty, gesturing towards a larger social canvas beyond the mind of a child that includes the struggle of migration, economic disadvantage, the difficulties of reconciling elements of the old and the new culture. Ahmad’s language is replete with lyricism, and a sense of wonder suffuses every page. It turns everyday experience into the stuff of poetry.

For full details of the winners, click here. The Tribe has been shortlisted for the Voss Literary Prize. The prize is dedicated to the memory of Vivian Robert de Vaux Voss (1930-1963), an historian and lover of literature. His will stipulated that a literary award be established to reward the best work of fiction from the previous year. For more information and the full shortlist, click here.

Alan Wearne Honoured with Christopher Brennan Award

wearne headshot

We are thrilled that Alan Wearne has been lauded with the FAW Christopher Brennan Award. The award celebrates lifetime achievement in poetry and recognises a poet who produces work of ‘sustained quality and distinction’.

Judges Jennifer Harrison and Philip Salom had this to say in their citation:

Alan Wearne has been involved with the Australian poetry scene since the late sixties. After publishing two poetry collections, Public Relations (1972) and New Devil, New Parish (1976), he played a pivotal role in introducing the verse novel to mainstream Australian poetry with Out Here (1976) and The Nightmarkets (1986). The Nightmarkets won the Banjo Award and was adapted for performance. Wearne wrote a satirical novel on Melbourne’s football (Kicking in Danger 1997) and hosted Conversations with a Dead Poet — a documentary film on his friend the late poet John Forbes — before his next verse novel was published. That verse novel, The Lovemakers (2001), was awarded the 2002 NSW Premier’s (Kenneth Slessor) Prize for Poetry, NSW Book of the Year and the Arts Queensland Judith Wright Calanthe Award. The Lovemakers, Book Two was the co-winner of the 2004 Foundation for Australian
Literary Studies’ Colin Roderick Award. Alan Wearne’s most recent works are Sarsparilla: a Calypso (2007), The Australian Popular Songbook (2008) and Prepare the Cabin for Landing (2012). He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong and publisher at Grand Parade Poets.

For a full list of winners and citations, click here.

Giramondo Titles Shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award 2015

NSW prem's 2015

Giramondo is delighted to be well represented across three categories of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award 2015 shortlists.

In the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, Judith Beveridge’s Devadatta’s Poems and John Mateer’s Unbelievers or the Moor made the shortlist.

Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s The Tribe and Luke Carman’s An Elegant Young Man have been shortlisted for the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing.

A Million Windows by Gerald Murnane has been shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

For a full list of shortlisted authors, click here.

For the full citations of all the Giramondo titles, click here.

Felicity Castagna wins the Prime Minister’s Literary Award

TiHan cover for web

We are thrilled that Felicity Castagna has won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, Young Adult Fiction for her work The Incredible Here and Now. The award was presented at a gala dinner in Melbourne. For the full list of winners and shortlisted titles, click here.

SBS broadcast the event, to watch the video, click here.

The judges said:

When Michael’s beloved older brother Dom dies in a car crash, Michael and his family are left with aching grief. What an aptly titled novel this is: a vivid portrait of a teenage boy, his family and community in Sydney’s western suburbs learning about life, death and love. Writer Felicity Castagna exploits a series of vignettes to create a wholly satisfying, moving story: its short, sculpted chapters capture Michael’s thoughts, moods and insights in quickening moments. Michael has the outward reticence of a teenage boy, but so much happening beneath the surface. This is a splendid portrayal of a boy on the cusp.

Brian Castro Wins Patrick White Award

We’re delighted that Brian Castro has won the Patrick White Literary Award. This award is for an author’s body of work and was founded by White with the proceeds of his Nobel Prize for Literature. Giramondo has published four of Castro’s works, Shanghai Dancing, The Garden Book, The Bath Fugues and Street to Street.

The judges praised Castro for his ‘outstanding contribution to Australian Literature, his continued willingness to take imaginative risks and be ‘blackly playful’, and his evident potential to produce more significant work…’

For the full judges’ citation, click here.

To read Castro’s acceptance speech, click here.

Felicity Castagna shortlisted for Prime Minister’s Award

TiHan cover for web
We’re delighted that Felicity Castagna’s The Incredible Here and Now has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, Young Adult Fiction. (For the full shortlist, click here) This follows on from her shortlisting on the CBCA Award Older Reader category and the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, Young Adult category.

Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Luke Carman Shortlisted for Readings New Writing Award

We’re thrilled that Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s book The Tribe and Luke Carman’s An Elegant Young Man have been shortlisted for the inaugural Readings New Writing Award. A prize offered for a first or second book by an Australian author, the award ‘aims to increase the promotion and commercial success of books by Australian authors, earning them greater recognition from the wider community’.

Ahmad The Tribe Cover
Of The Tribe, the judges said:

Told from the point of view of a child called Bani, The Tribe introduces the members of a Muslim family who fled to Australia just before the civil war in Lebanon, and the narrative progresses through key moments of their multi-generational household.

Set largely in the western Sydney suburb of Lakemba, The Tribe comes to life through the simple, honest voice of its young narrator. The suburban narrative is given a vivid cultural specificity not often depicted in contemporary Australian fiction, and Michael Mohammed Ahmad cleverly ties pop-cultural references to myth and traditional stories, creating rifts of humour and warmth in the work.

Carman-Cover
The judges said that of  An Elegant Young Man:

Luke Carman’s collection of monologues and anecdotal stories hums with the cadence of Western Sydney – a creative mash-up of street talk and literature, swagger and trepidation, colloquialisms and poetry. The world of Fobs, Lebbos, Greek, Serbs, Grubby Boys and scumbag Aussies that forms the backdrop to these stories is ominously familiar; a place where racism is so entrenched in daily interactions as to be barely discernible.

Through his narrator, described as anything but an elegant young man, Carman brilliantly captures the mingling anxieties and misplaced confidences of youth with a feverish intensity.

 

For the full shortlist, click here.

Lisa Gorton Awarded Philip Hodgins Medal

Gorton-cover
At the Mildura Writers’ Festival this year, Lisa Gorton was awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal, an annual prize given to an Australian writer whose work reflects the standards and literary accomplishments that Philip Hodgins. Gorton’s most recent book published by Giramondo is Hotel Hyperion which has been shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.

Alexis Wright wins the ALS Gold Medal

Wright-Swan-coverAlexis 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.

The Recluse Shortlisted for the Magarey Medal

juers-265x300We’re delighted that The Recluse, Evelyn Juers, has been shortlisted for the Magarey Medal.

The Magarey Medal for biography is a biennial prize of at least $10,000. The prize is awarded to the female author who has published the work judged to be the best biographical writing on an Australian subject in the preceding two years. The awarding of the prize is administered and judged by a panel set up by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature and the Australian Historical Association. The prize is very generously donated by Professor Emerita Susan Magarey.

For the full shortlist, click here.

Luke Carman – 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist

luke plus book

Photo: Peter Rae, Fairfax

We’re delighted that Luke Carman has been named one of the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Best Young Novelists in 2014 for An Elegant Young Man.

The judges said that ‘Carman’s prose blends literature and popular culture, punk and poetry, and transforms this rich seam of influence into his own contagious voice with an admirable disregard for the distinctions of high and low art.’

In her interview, Linda Morris uncovered that:

Originally Luke Carman’s An Elegant Young Man carried the title How to Be Gay, which was his neighbour’s suggested title when Carman first revealed he wanted to be a writer.

The mocking, says Carman, sums up the sharp edges of masculine culture in western Sydney and the fact that literature carries so little credibility in suburbia. Which was unfortunate for Carman as a nerdy kid with a head for books not boxing gloves. At six or seven he used to read as a form of self-defence to keep his night terrors at bay. Reading eventually gave him insomnia.

In this collection of short stories and monologues, Carman wanders the streets of Granville, Mount Pritchard and Liverpool, observing fist fights under street lights, showdowns at all-night kebab shops and girls who offer their love for the cheapest exchange.

For the full coverage, click here.

Congratulations Alexis Wright – The Swan Book shortlisted for the Miles Franklin

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Left to right: Cory Taylor, Fiona McFarlane, Alexis Wright
Photo: Janie Barrett, Fairfax Media

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright has been shortlisted for the 2014 Miles Franklin Awards. In their citation, the judges said

 At some future date, in an Australia ravaged by the effects of climate change, the first Aboriginal Prime Minister, Warren Finch (aka ‘god’s gift’), takes his ‘promise wife’, Oblivia Ethylene, from her home in the far north to live in a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. On this scaffolding Alexis Wright builds her extraordinary novel, an epic, mythic and satirical tale that is a worthy successor to her previous prize-winning Carpentaria (2006).

Oblivia, who was gang raped as a child and cannot speak, is the guardian of the swans, which are the book’s presiding image of beauty and vulnerability. Oblivia’s guardians, in turn, are Aunty Bella Donna – a climate change refugee from Europe, who brings the girl to live with her, feeding her with swan stories from around the world – and an Aboriginal elder who calls himself the Harbourmaster.

The name of their dwelling place, Swan Lake, as well as the name of the Aboriginal elder’s pet monkey, Rigoletto, signal the witty mix of cultural icons that furnish Wright’s tale with global as well as local references. The narrative voice that Alexis Wright has crafted can span the languages of opera and popular song as well as rendering the rhythms and idioms of Aboriginal English – a complex, allusive narrative of speaking, singing, mourning and cracking jokes. The result is unlike anything we have heard before in Australian literature.

For the full citation, click here.

You can view the full shortlist here.

Judith Beveridge Honoured with the Christopher Brennan Award

Devadatta's Poems Beveridge HeadshotJudith Beverdige has received the FAW CHRISTOPHER BRENNAN AWARD. It is an award to honour an Australian poet who has written work of sustained quality and distinction.

The FAW supplies a specially-cast bronze plaque designed by Michael Meszaros. Each year, the recipient is selected by a panel of judges appointed by the FAW. Previous winners include Giramondo poets Fay Zwicky and Jennifer Maiden.

Beveridge’s latest book of poetry is Devadatta’s Poems, available here.

NSW Premier’s Shortlist 2014 – Castagna, Middleton and Wright

nsw prems shortlist 2014
We’re pleased to have three titles shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. You can read the judges’ comments below.

 

Ephemeral Waters, Kate Middleton

Judges’ comments:
‘This long documentary poem tracks the Colorado River, a system in ecological crisis, in its entirety, as a geographical site and as a self-sustaining historical text. Ambitious and epic in scope – and reminiscent of William Carlos Williams’ ‘Paterson’, Eleni Sikelianos’ ‘The California Poem’, and of Laurie Duggan’s ‘The Ash Range’ – it is a comprehensive work of research, a record of the poet’s actual journeys along the river’s course, and an inspiring act of imagination.

Ephemeral Waters stimulates questions about the local versus the global, and what a poem of this scope would achieve if it were about the Murray River. This book encourages a reader to ask what the future would be like if such river systems collapsed entirely. In this way a poem set in the US speaks directly to Australian readers without didacticism. Kate Middleton manages to balance the emotive connection of people to land, and the contestation over land use, with a language that is empirical and occasionally minimal. Elsewhere the poetry is wonderfully eccentric in its cascading lineation. Its vocabulary is organic and analytic in its weaving of local American vernaculars, scientific nomenclature, and lyric phrasing. The book achieves a rich synthesis of the literary and mythological with the empirical matter-of-factness of the surveyor’s documents, observations and explorations of science and history, both natural and human. Kate Middleton’s very accomplished second book is a major tribute to an important river that so many depend upon.’

 

The Incredible Here and Now, Felicity Castagna

Judges’ comments:
‘The Incredible Here and Now might be a book about the demonised and the stereotyped, about powerlessness and the hidden injuries of class. It might be a book about protest masculinity and the senseless, foolish, sometimes dangerous things young men do to compensate for the experience of marginalization. It might be a book about death and grief, or a book about the excruciating and exhilarating awkwardness of first love. In fact, The Incredible Here and Now is about all these things.

In the summer he turns 15, Michael’s world threatens to implode when his “invincible” older brother dies. Grief-stricken, bored, aimless and confused, Michael seeks refuge in the streets, sites and people of his home, Western Sydney. It would have been easy to stray into melodrama or sentimentality, but The Incredible Here and Now pulls back just enough to allow Castagna to deliver a confident and well-controlled story. Elegantly crafted as a series of vignettes, Castagna’s writing is bold, compassionate and visceral. Her characters are real and flawed, and linger long after one has turned the final page – from the charming and exuberant Dom, to “the last man on earth” Shadi, to the tyrannical Mr Alloshi. But it is Western Sydney that perhaps leaves the most memorable impression on the reader. Vividly portrayed – “an everywhere-people kind of place” – Castagna humanises a place where “those who don’t know any better drive through the neighbourhood and lock their doors”. It is in the West where Michael ultimately finds hope, resilience and love, learning that “you can’t go back. There’s only moving forward”.’

 

The Swan Book, Alexis Wright.

Judges’ comments:
‘Set in the future in a post-climate-change apocalypse, The Swan Book is the story of a mute Aboriginal girl, Oblivion Ethyl(ene). Hauled from her burrow in the roots of a tree as a child, traumatised by rape, Oblivia is saved by the European émigré-crone, Bella Donna of the Champions. Driven from her own land by environmental catastrophe, Bella Donna fills Oblivia’s mind with epic legends of migratory swans, and soon the foetid swamp of their home begins to bristle with the arrival of thousands of black swans, drawn inexorably towards Oblivia. Then comes another emissary from distant lands: Warren Finch, soon to be Australia’s first Aboriginal president, come to claim Oblivia as his promised wife.

This wildly adventurous, operatic hallucination of a novel encompasses indigenous politics, climate change, European history, global migration, displacement and grief. It is a savage critique of contemporary government approaches to indigenous culture, achieved through its telescopic imagination, sly humour and soaring poetry. Sweeping through history, across continents and cultures – yet never losing touch with the grit of raw experience – The Swan Book is a work of thrilling ambition.’

 

You can view the full list of shortlisted titles here.

As a special offer, you can purchase all three shortlisted titles for the amazing price $60, including postage in Australia.

CBCA Shortlist – The Incredible Here and Now

TiHan cover for webWe are delighted that The Incredible Here and Now by Felicity Castagna has been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards in the Older Readers category.

Teacher resources and reading group notes can be found here.

To view all of the shortlisted titles, click here.

The Swan Book – Longlisted for the Miles Franklin, Shortlisted for the Stella

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The Swan Book continues to attract critical acclaim as it has been longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2014.

For the full list of longlisted titles, click here.

The Swan Book has also been shortlisted for the Stella Prize. The judges said:

A hundred years into the future, when climate change has irreparably damaged the earth, a refugee from the frozen northern hemisphere called Bella Donna finds a mute teenage girl she names Oblivia and takes her to live with her on an old derelict warship in a dry, polluted swamp in northern Australia. Three new figures appear: a black swan, an Aboriginal elder who looks like Mick Jagger, and an archangel in a white Commodore. These five creatures anchor Alexis Wright’s brilliantly surreal and inventive novel about imagination and the power of story. It’s a  treasure chest of stories, fables, songs, myths and poems, containing a wealth of cultural references from across the globe. The Swan Book is also a furious and impassioned political fable, linking the fate of Aboriginal Australia to the trajectory of unstoppable global warming and employing the fathomless complexity of the living Aboriginal relationship to country as a way of exploring humanity’s connection to the earth.

If Wright’s last novel Carpentaria – the winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award – was operatic in its scope and language, then The Swan Bookis even more so. Rich and deep in its imagery, fearless in its linguistic acrobatics and sweeping in its imaginative power, The Swan Book is at once a futuristic dystopia, a gorgeous artifact, and an urgent call to action.

For the full shortlist, click here.

To buy your copy, and find reading group notes and reviews, click here.

Alexis Wright and Luke Carman shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal

als shortlisters

 

We’re thrilled to have two titles shortlisted for the 2013 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal.

Alexis Wright, The Swan Book
Luke Carman, An Elegant Young Man

The ALS Gold Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding literary work in the preceding calendar year. The medal was inaugurated in the 1920s by the Australian Literature Society, which was founded in Melbourne in 1899.

Liquid Nitrogen Wins Victorian Prize for Literature

maiden-coverWe’re delighted that Liquid Nitrogen by Jennifer Maiden was awarded the prize in the poetry category of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and also the overall prize, The Victorian Prize for Literature.

You can view the judges’ report here.

Read Gig Ryan’s in-depth review for the Sydney Review of Books here.

Jason Steger’s coverage of the prize for the Age can be found here.

Three Giramondo authors shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

We are delighted to have three authors on the shortlist this year for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Fiction

The Swan Book, Alexis Wright

The judges described The Swan Book as:

A work of metaphysical and metaphorical originality, Wright has created a world where communication flows between ghosts, animals and humans, but it’s also frighteningly realistic, holding a mirror to the nation, allowing fiction to speak a truth about Indigenous issues that many Australian find difficult to confront. For all its gravity, though, it is wickedly funny, mocking the ‘realms of public sector abstract dialogue’, and it deepens the reader’s understanding of this ancient continent.

Poetry

Autoethnographic, Michael Brennan

Of Autoethnographic the judges said:

Brennan’s poems skate over the narrator’s plural and imagined pasts in unpredictable tones, echoing and vital. As autoethnography itself places the personal in the wider politicised world, so Brennan creates an un-unified un-stabilised life rendered through many lives, a cubist portrait of self / selves in vivid excursions through a mythologised yet recognisably contemporary era.

Liquid Nitrogen, Jennifer Maiden

In their citation, the judges wrote:

This book is explorative, not didactic, and these long poetical essays are studded with interruptions, repetitions of motifs and characters, and tangential obsessions that create a distinct world and rhythm, where art and politics insistently coalesce in vibrant tableaux. A brilliantly fertile imagination creates poetry that interrogates and refines thought.

For the full citations and the complete shortlist, click here.

All Giramondo Shorts now $19.95

nonfict-shortsNow all the Giramondo Shorts titles are available for the excellent price of $19.95 including postage. For a full list of the Shorts titles, click here.

carman berryAs a Christmas offer, you pick up the two latest Shorts, Ninety 9 by Vanessa Berry and An Elegant Young Man by Luke Carman for the special price of $35 including postage.

Liquid Nitrogen Shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize

We are thrilled that Jennifer Maiden’s Liquid Nitrogen has been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize.

The full judge’s citation reads:

Jennifer Maiden’s Liquid Nitrogen may very well be the most contemporary collection of poetry you’ll ever read. Over the course of these dense, obsessive, and allegorical long poems, Maiden has created an absurdist theatre of global politics in which the spirits of public figures from across the last century share the stage with politicians, terrorists, dissidents and fictional creations from our continuous present. Combining a free-wheeling, meditative style with crisp, lucidly elegant lines, Maiden’s philosophical verse investigates the poetics of narrativity itself, not only as mediated by the news on TV, but by the no-less ethically charged realm of art as well. An extended meditation on the uses and abuses of power, the moral gravity of Liquid Nitrogen is buoyed throughout by Maiden’s self-effacing sense of humor and her tenderness towards her grown daughter, Katherine, who stands at the heart of this collection. Epic in its scope and utterly eccentric in its approach, Liquid Nitrogen is a work of rare passion and unprecedented poetic achievement from one of Australia’s most prominent living writers, ‘alert to the point of twitching,’ like the ox to whom she likens herself on page one, who nevertheless ‘still tramples through the difficult.’ Suzanne Buffam

The other shortlisted books are:

Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems Fady Joudah, translated from the Arabic, written by Ghassan Zaqtan

Night of the Republic, Alan Shapiro

Our Andromeda Brenda Shaughnessy

For full details, visit the Griffin Prize website here.

Gerald Murnane Special Offer – Inland

murnane_2Gerald Murnane is one of Australia’s most important living writers whose idiosyncratic and finely wrought fictions are capturing the attention of a new generation of readers.

Buy the newly republished Inland and receive two classic Murnane titles published by Giramondo for the special price of $60.

This discount of over 30% will get you Inland, Tamarisk Row and Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs and includes free postage.

Poetry Pick ‘n’ Mix

poetry pick mix updated To celebrate the excellent poetry titles we have published in the last twelve months we are offering any three of our five most recent poetry titles for the special price of $45 with free postage in Australia. This discount of over 40% is for a limited time only.

The titles offered for this special selection are:

Unbelievers or ‘The Moor’, John Mateer

Ephemeral Waters, Kate Middleton

New Works on Paper, Luke Beesley

Goad Omen, Corey Wakeling

Hotel Hyperion, Lisa Gorton

Please return to this page to place your order.

Please specify in the comments/special instructions field at the checkout which three titles you would like to purchase.

Fill Your Stockings with Shorts

nonfict-shortsFor the book lover in your life, we’re offering a special Christmas discount on our Shorts series. Pick up three fiction titles – Anguli Ma by Chi Vu, Street to Street by Brian Castro and Varamo by Cesar Aira – for $50 with free postage.

Or for the non-fiction fan, we’re offering Eliot Weinberger’s Wildlife, Evelyn Juers’ The Recluse and Michael Wilding’s Wild and Woolley for $50 with free postage.

Please select from the drop-down menu below whether you would like the fiction or non-fiction pack.

To view the full series, click here.

Gig Ryan wins the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry

Gig Ryan’s New and Selected Poems was awarded the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for poetry. The judges described the collection as ‘uncompromising, intelligent and sophisticated’. For the full citation, click here.

John Mateer’s Southern Barbarians was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Jess Huon’s The Dark Wet was shortlisted in the inaugural Underrated Book of the Year Award.

Fiona Wright has been awarded the Dame Mary Gilmore Award for Knuckled. The decision was a unanimous verdict on the excellence of this collection. You can read the judges’ citation here.

We’re delighted that Gerald Murnane’s A History of Books and John Mateer’s Southern Barbarians have been shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2012.

In more good news, we’re thrilled that Kate Fagan has been shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year Awards for her collection First Light.

Earlier in 2012 we had two poetry collections nominated for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2012. Gig Ryan’s New and Selected Poems and John Mateer’s Southern Barbarians. For more information and the full shortlist, click here.

Giramondo eBooks available now

 

Selected Giramondo titles are now available as eBooks, and can be purchased through (in alphabetical order):

AmazonBooki.shFishpond, iBooks, KoboEbooks.comEbrary, Netlibrary, Read How You WantOverdriveReadCloud

The digital editions offered are:

Brian Castro’s Street to Street

Alike Melike Ülgezer’s The Memory of Salt

Jess Huon’s The Dark Wet

Gerald Murnane’s Barley Patch and A History of Books

Evelyn Juers’ House of Exile

Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing

Sara Knox’s The Orphan Gunner

Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria

Mireille Juchau’s Burning In

Brian Castro’s The Garden Book

Nick Jose’s Original Face and

John Hughes’ The Idea of Home

We are developing our digital publishing program. If there are any titles you would like to read on your device, please email Alice, alicegATgiramondopublishingDOTcom.

Gerald Murnane, Brian Castro, Fiona Wright and Bonny Cassidy are shortlisted for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

We are pleased to announce that four titles published by Giramondo have been shortlisted for this year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Awards: Gerald Murnane’s Border Districts in the Fiction category, and Bonny’s Cassidy’s Chatelaine, Brian Castro’s Blindness and Rage: a Phantasmagoria and Fiona Wright’s Domestic Interior in the Poetry category. See the judges’ comments below for each of the shortlisted titles.

To view the full shortlist, please visit the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards website.

Border Districts
Gerald Murnane
$24.95
Buy here

In Border Districts, Gerald Murnane has distilled the various elements of his inimitable literary sensibility into a perfectly formed short work. The logic of this unique book is associative rather than narrative. Styled as a ‘report’ on the images that strike the mind of its narrator, it has him relating scenes from his childhood and adolescence, reflecting on the books he has read, remembering old acquaintances, and taking in the landscape of the small borderland town where he has come to live. The narrative is an exquisite prism of introspection, in which a life’s experiences are carefully ordered and transformed into art by virtue of the patterns they come to form in the mind and the profoundly evocative qualities they have acquired. Rendered in crystalline prose and touched with an elegiac pathos, Border Districts is the crowning achievement of a singular literary career.

Judges' comments

Blindness and Rage is a verse novel – composed of thirty-four cantos – notable for its mordant wit, its rich allusiveness and the invigorating fluency of its verse. Characterised by its author as a ‘phantasmagoria’, it describes the adventures of a terminally ill poet from Adelaide named Lucien Gracq, as he undertakes a final journey through the seamy underbelly of the literary world in the hope of realising his desire to complete his own epic poem. Blindness and Rage displays the formal inventiveness that has long been a feature of Brian Castro’s work, but it is also an extremely funny book, packed with jokes and wordplay that wrings considerable delight from Gracq’s gloomy outlook. Blindness and Rage is a wicked satire on pretension and futility, a poem about ambition and literary endeavour as paths to frustration and failure, but it is itself a poem that manages to avoid these pitfalls and achieve a brilliant success.

Judges' comments

Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria
Brian Castro
$26.95
Buy here

Domestic Interior
Fiona Wright
$24.00
Buy here

Domestic Interior by Fiona Wright invites us to observe Australian life through the lens of the suburban domestic. Wright’s aim is not to replicate notions of domestic space as one that inhibits its female occupants, but rather one that, if properly calibrated to the moment, is copious in its catalogue of energies. Wright’s meditation on domestic interiors extends to the interiority of the self as she turns her gaze outdoors. ‘Sometimes a reorientation’, she says, ‘presents another face to the sea’. In ‘Winter Pastoral’ she juxtaposes the concrete imagery of road kill – ‘dead wombats bouldered / and wild-eyed wallabies / vaulted the boundary fence’ – against the unexpected marvel of the sky: ‘I’d forgotten how stars giddy / out here,’ she says. Finding herself in Berlin, the poet is disoriented but enthralled inside a foreign language: a woman on a train hands her ‘the word Pfingsrosen, / a peony plucked from her own front yard’. The poet later recalls ‘a white lace dress. We’re drinking gin,’ she says, ‘muddled with cherries’. Intoxicating in its imagery, Domestic Interior affirms language, even its smallest components, as the prime constituents of our inner world.

Judges' comments

Chatelaine by Bonny Cassidy puts the word centre stage. Cassidy’s poetry is rooted in her investigations of language, an interest in a feminist consciousness, and her capacity for renewing meaning as a virtual space of desire. The reader enters a poetic world of ‘noisy secrets’ in which ‘riddles multiply’ to generate a reading experience in which it is more rewarding to ask than to answer: ‘Question nearly everything, read it again,’ the poems command. ‘Why do you do this?’ and ‘who else owns your body?’ From pilgrims to daleks, a shimmering heath to a basement carpark, Cassidy tunnels in opposite directions – accelerating through time, dreams, myth and person – to stake a territory beyond the language of the familiar. The poems in Chatelaine coalesce in a dream in which Cassidy renovates the ancestral household into an audacious new architecture of meaning.

Judges' comments

Chatelaine
Bonny Cassidy
$24.00
Buy here

Alexis Wright and Michael Farrell have won 2018 Queensland Literary Awards

Giramondo is thrilled to announced that Alexis Wright and Michael Farrell have been awarded 2018 Queensland Literary Awards. Wright was awarded the University of Queensland Non-fiction Book Award for her “stunningly innovative” book Tracker, while Michael Farrell was awarded the Judith Wright Calanthe Award, a prize for an outstanding collection of poetry by an Australian writer, for his collection, I Love Poetry. See what the judges had to say about each title below.

To view the full list of winners, please visit the Queensland Literary Awards website.

Tracker
Alexis Wright
$39.95
Buy here

This book is stunningly innovative in the way it brings the life and story of Tracker Tilmouth to the printed page. Tracker was a visionary Aboriginal leader who used his knowledge of economics to further opportunities for his people. This book is operatic in form, soaring to great heights and depths, always fascinating and ultimately illuminating about this Indigenous leader who remains unknown to many non-Indigenous Australians.

Judges' comments

One of the country’s foremost poets, Michael Farrell opens a door and invites the reader to step beyond the threshold of disbelief into a new and dazzling world. In I Love Poetry, his commitment to Australia as subject, and to poetry as a mode of thought, gains power with each fearless interrogation. Farrell remixes the Australian experience though a multiplicity of word play, bush poetic, irony, fragmented joy, and surprise cameos from Australian icons such as INXS and Waleed Aly. A truly inventive book, I Love Poetry brings a whole new dimension to Australian camp: extravagant, subversive, and hilarious, but also profound in its capacity to reimagine the terms with which we inhabit this complex continent. In the great tradition of queer Australian landscape poetics, like Patrick White, David Malouf, and Martin Harrison, Farrell recombines Australian ecology, history, and mythology into glorious, and very funky, new forms. But despite the book’s grand canvas, many of the poems feature a startling intimacy: the poet has become as open to the details of his self as he has always been to the currents and conjectures of pop culture, literature and philosophy; all is vibrant, viable material for this lyrebird of Australian poetry.

Judges' comments

I Love Poetry
Michael Farrell
$24.00
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Giramondo to publish A Novel Idea by Fiona McGregor

Giramondo has acquired A Novel Idea, a new book by author and performance artist Fiona McGregor. The book, a photoessay memoir that depicts McGregor’s writing of her Age Book of the Year award-winning novel Indelible Ink, will be published in March 2019. World rights were sold to Giramondo by Jane Novak.

Giramondo Commissioning Editor Nick Tapper said of the acquisition: ‘We’re delighted to be publishing A Novel Idea, which brings photography into dialogue with Fiona McGregor’s prose writing and performance work. The photoessay is a much-neglected genre, but Fiona turns and modifies it in unexpected ways, bringing her own sense of rhythm and intensity to the work. She gives an honest and moving, and very funny, self-portrait over years of artistic labour, showing the work of the writer in a way not seen before.’

A Novel Idea is a photoessay about the process of writing a novel. Begun four years into the writing of McGregor’s Age Book of the Year Award-winning novel Indelible Ink, it is a tongue-in-cheek rumination on the humdrum and loneliness of the novelist’s daily life, and the act of endurance which the writer must perform. Using text, and photographs taken on a hand-me-down camera, the book creates an in-depth portrait over several years of labour and procrastination, joy and despair. She works on the novel alone in her flat in Bondi with nothing but a desk, a pin-board, a laptop and a cat. McGregor also travels to Berlin and Estonia, and the book captures details of the world outside as they intrude. McGregor’s voice is wry, vulnerable, at times caustic, capturing the colloquial qualities of her fiction and the durational nature of her performance art via the ephemeral and essential thoughts that make up an author’s days, weeks, years.

Fiona McGregor is a Sydney author and performance artist. Since 1993, she has published five books, including Indelible Ink, which won The Age Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Indie Book awards, the Barbara Jefferis Award, and the Western Australian Premier’s Awards. Her other books include Strange Museums, a travel memoir of a performance art tour through Poland, the short story collection Suck My Toes, which won the Steele Rudd Award, and the underground classic chemical palace.

Mariana Dimópulos, author of All My Goodbyes, on tour in Australia

Argentinian author Mariana Dimópulos, whose novel All My Goodbyes Giramondo published last year, will be holding several public events in Australia in August and September. Dimópulos will appear at events in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, joined in some by her Australian translator Alice Whitmore. More information on these events can be found below.

All My Goodbyes was published in Giramondo’s new Southern Latitudes series in August 2017, and will be published in the United States in January 2019 by Transit Books. Dimópulos’ next book, Pendiente, is forthcoming from Giramondo in April 2019.

Dimópulos is currently undertaking a residency at the JM Coetzee Centre in Adelaide, sponsored by the ARC Discovery Project ‘Other Worlds: Forms of World Literature’.

 

SYDNEY
31 August: Mariana Dimópulos, Literary Reading and Q&A with Ivor Indyk – Western Sydney University, Parramatta Campus, EA.G.03, 1pm
4 September: Mariana Dimópulos in Conversation with Ivor Indyk – Gleebooks, Glebe, 6pm for 6.30pm
CANBERRA
29 August: Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies, Australian National University (details to come)
MELBOURNE
6 September: In Conversation: Mariana Dimópulos and Dr Alice Whitmore – Monash University, Caulfield Campus, Building S, Room S901, 2pm
6 September: Salon Series: Mariana Dimópulos in Conversation with Anna Macdonald – Paperback Bookshop, Melbourne, 6pm

Four Giramondo authors to feature at this year’s Melbourne Writers’ Festival

10 August

We are pleased to share the news that four Giramondo authors will feature at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival this August, including Ali Cobby Eckermann, Michael Farrell and New Zealand writer, Ashleigh Young. Also appearing at the festival will be Alexis Wright to speak about her Stella-Prize-winning book, Tracker.

Find full sessions details for all attending authors by following the links below.

Ali Cobby Eckermann

Writers Across Borders – 31 August

Local Libraries: Ali Cobby Eckermann – 31 August

For the Love of Dog – 1 September

WrICE Papers Salon – 2 September

Closing Night Party: You Are There – 2 September

Alexis Wright

The Miles Franklin Literary Award – 26 August

Alexis Wright: Tracker – 28 August

Alexis Wright: Boisbouvier Oration – 29 August

Michael Farrell

The Big Bent Poetry Reading – 26 August

Alexis Wright wins the 2018 Magarey Medal

We are delighted to announce that Alexis Wright has been awarded the 2018 Magarey Medal for Biography for her book, Tracker.

Tracker, which also won the Stella Prize earlier in the year, is a collective memoir of the charismatic Aboriginal leader, political thinker and entrepreneur Tracker Tilmouth.

The Magarey Medal is a biennial prize that is awarded to the female author who has published the work judged to be the best biographical writing on an Australian subject in the preceding two years. The prize is administered by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature and the Australian Historical Association. To learn more about the award, please visit the ASAL website.

Read the judges’ comments below.

The committee felt that in a strong field Alexis Wright’s Tracker represented a clear and worthy winner of the Magarey Medal. Tracker is a significant achievement, which provides a complex historical, social, and personal account of a remarkable Australian by innovatively supplementing the conventions of biography with Indigenous knowledge and perspective. Tracker is a bespoke biography which crafts its form to fit with its individual subject, whilst also respecting more collective responses which are important to the Indigenous life story. The author calls it ‘consensus storytelling’ and locates its conventions in the decision-making practices of Indigenous community.

Tracker Tilmouth is an extraordinary Australian who worked to improve the well-being of Indigenous Australians by tirelessly advocating, acting, and inspiring people and projects. He was an influential man who worked within complex networks of organisation, business, government, politics and wider society so as to aid and develop an enduring Indigenous contribution to Australian life. To tell such a story the form curates a range of different perspectives from a remarkably diverse set of people who were chosen by Tracker to contribute to his story. The book artfully organises these recollections along with interviews with Tracker himself. The overlapping, restorying, and the meshing together of different perspectives on Indigenous experiences and histories, and the irreverent humour that recurs throughout make a powerful statement about a life expressed as purpose, imagination, action, resilience, and connection. In this way Wright is able to provide insight into a variety of individual and collective views of a remarkable Arrente man.

Tracker provides a diverse and complex appreciation of the challenges, labours, achievements and capacities of Indigenous Australians. Wright is able to vacate that location of the biographer to create a more polyphonic narrative that makes a point about the importance of a sense of society to any understanding of a life. It is a book that might be read cover to cover or dipped into serendipitously for example. Tracker enables its subject to be understood in complex moments and key relationships in such a way as to preserve the rich and multifaceted details of a life of engagement from the generalising tendencies of more conventional biography. It is a book appropriate to its subject.

Border Districts and No More Boats shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin

19 June2018

We are thrilled that Border Districts by Gerald Murnane and No More Boats by Felicity Castagna have been shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award. The announcement was made at a ceremony in Canberra on Sunday, 17 June. Giramondo is the only publisher to have more than one of their published works on the finalist list.

Gerald Murnane, author of 12 fiction works and a ‘neglected literary giant’ according to the Sydney Morning Herald, has made the list for the first time and given his ‘first nod in [a] 44-year career’. Approaching his eightieth year and now ‘delivered of [his] books’, the New York Times proposed in March that he may be ‘the greatest living English-language writer most people have never heard of’. Border Districts has also been shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal.

No More Boats is Felicity Castagna’s debut adult novel, which tells the unravelling of a man and a nation at the time of the Tampa crisis. ‘I wanted to ask questions about what happens when we cut off our past,’ Castagna told Jason Steger for the Sydney Morning Herald. ‘But also to ask how the trauma of separating yourself from your past and actively suppressing it can come out later in your life in your relationships with other people and in your understanding of the world.’ No More Boats was shortlisted for the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and her previous novel The Incredible Here and Now won the 2015 Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult Fiction.

The winner of the $60,000 prize will be announced on 26 August.

Border Districts
Gerald Murnane
$24.95
Buy here

The occasion for this novel is the narrator’s move to a remote district near the border to be alert to what might be described as the landscape of his own mind. We are told that what we are reading is a ‘report’, intended only for the narrator’s own files, on the series of mental images that are set in train by a very ordinary sight: a tiny church and its porch window that is passed daily on the morning walk to the shops and the post office. From here, we follow the narrator down certain rabbit holes into his history that centre on books read, people recalled, objects owned and locations visited.

The focus is on paying attention to the vines of thoughts and feelings, then and now, that wind around and cling to these things. The telling is lyrical, precise, highly self-aware and, at times, disarmingly humorous. The result is a subjective portrait of certain religious, geographical, architectural, social and cultural textures of life as it has been lived in Australia over the past seven decades. This novel, a consolidation of the idiosyncratic aesthetic programme Murnane has pursued throughout his career, gestures towards the capriciousness of consciousness, the relationship between fiction and fact and the purpose of writing itself.

Judges’ comments

This novel brings to life an Italo-Australian migrant family living in Parramatta, that historic town at the border of Sydney’s western suburbs, on the river ‘where salt water met fresh and the boats could go no further’. It is 2001, the time of the Tampa crisis when the prime minister intoned, ‘we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.’ His words resonate with Antonio Martone, unhinged by grief for his dead friend and his forced retirement from the building business they shared. When he paints ‘No More Boats’ on his front yard, his alienation from his English-born wife and adult son and daughter is complete.

Castagna skilfully dramatizes the generational conflicts as well as the everyday multiculturalism of the Martones’ relationships with family and friends. Borders, boats and homes are powerful motifs in this novel. It conveys a vivid sense of a decisive historical moment, as the events of 9/11 loom – events that generated ‘all those connections between Muslims in planes and Muslims on boats’ that have marked Australian life ever since.

Judges’ comments

No More Boats
Felicity Castagna
$26.95
Buy here

Michelle Cahill launches Flood Damages

Flood Damages by Eunice Andrada was launched by award-winning poet and fiction writer, Michelle Cahill, at the Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville, NSW, on Thursday 10 May, 2018. Below is an edited version of Cahill’s launch speech. 

…Flood Damages is that rare book that speaks, without self-censorship, from the heart of the Eurasian woman’s experience of cultural suspicion, racial hatred, sexual fetishisation, historical and moral ambivalence. Andrada articulates this knowledge brilliantly with unwavering poise, remarkable clarity and with an intimacy that is highly skilled and syntactically varied.

These poems work in extraordinary and complex ways as they dramatise the lyrics of diaspora and domicility, of family disruption, domestic and sexual violence with colonial and environmental ravages. From the very first line in the opening poem ‘a series of half truths about drowning’ Andrada performs a striking interrogation with her rhetoric… (read more)

In Memoriam Beverley Farmer

Photo credit: Robin Wallace-Crabbe

A eulogy delivered by Ivor Indyk at Beverley Farmer’s memorial service at Queenscliff on Sunday 29 April 2018.

It is difficult to write a formal eulogy for Beverley Farmer, because she was herself so much a writer of process. Her characters are often portrayed in ‘in-between’ states, in transition – culturally, socially, physically – and she pursues their fluctuating thoughts and emotions with fine discrimination, and a determination to bring to the surface the anxieties, the anger, the impulses to cruelty – and the ecstatic moments too – which lie within those thoughts. There is no aspect of experience she is not prepared to explore, and to observe, in the most exacting detail.

It is here, in her commitment to recording the transient moments of experience, that I think Beverley’s most striking achievement as a writer lies. Even in her fiction, it is the dynamic features of the natural world which command her closest attention, in part because her characters cannot be separated from the worlds they inhabit, but also because these elements are sources of wonder or fascination in themselves… [Read more]

Alexis Wright wins the 2018 Stella Prize for Tracker

Image credit: Connor Tomas O’Brien

15 April 2018

Our heartfelt congratulations to Alexis Wright, who has been named winner of the 2018 Stella Prize for Tracker. Her book is a collective memoir on the visionary Aboriginal leader, Tracker Tilmouth.

Worth $50,000, the Stella Prize is a major annual literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing. In her acceptance speech, Alexis Wright – the first Indigenous Australian to receive the prize in its six-year history – said she was ‘completely overwhelmed’ that Tracker had won, and that she ‘really had to spend some time unpacking this idea.’

‘I would like to thank you for considering the important messages in this book and its style,’ she said. ‘I wanted it to be a book for our times and from our place in the world. I am deeply grateful to you for helping Tracker reach a greater audience.’

Wright also praised the ‘remarkable diversity’ of the year’s shortlist, saying that ‘a literary dialogue that allows us to have greater knowledge and understanding of each other…is what will make Australian literature truly marvellous, relevant and far stronger than it has ever been.’

Published in November 2017, Tracker was also shortlisted for the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction, and is longlisted for the 2018 ABIA Book Awards. The book can be purchased through our website and in bookstores.

Tracker
Alexis Wright
$39.95
Buy here

‘In this remarkable biography, Alexis Wright follows an Aboriginal tradition of storytelling that she describes as a ‘practice for crossing landscapes and boundaries, giving many voices a part in the story’. Tracker is a collective memoir of Tracker Tilmouth, charismatic Aboriginal leader, thinker, entrepreneur, visionary and provocateur. Tilmouth worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles including Director of the Central Land Council. This unique, majestic biography has been composed by Wright from interviews with family, friends, foes and Tilmouth himself. It is one man’s story told by many voices, almost operatic in scale. With a tight narrative structure, compelling real-life characters, the book sings with insight and Tracker’s unique humour. Wright has crafted an epic that is a truly rewarding read.’

— Stella Prize judges’ citation for Tracker

Felicity Castagna’s No More Boats Shortlisted for the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

Felicity Castagna’s fiction novel No More Boats has been shortlisted for the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

The book, which is about the unravelling of a man and a nation set against the backdrop of the Tampa Crisis, is competing in the Multicultural NSW Award category, worth $20,000. Castagna’s previous novel The Incredible Here and Now was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2014, and won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction the same year.

Established in 1979, the awards have a history of ‘celebrating achievement by Australian writers and in helping to establish values and standards in Australian literature’. This year, over 600 works were entered across 10 prize categories.

The award finalists will be announced on 30 April 2018 as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

No More Boats
Felicity Castagna
$26.95
Buy here

Gerald Murnane and Ali Alizadeh on the 2018 ALS Gold Medal Longlist

27 March 2018

Fiction writers Gerald Murnane and Ali Alizadeh have been longlisted for the 2018 Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal for their respective works Border Districts and The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc.

The ALS Gold Medal is an annual award presented by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL), recognising ‘outstanding literary work in the preceding calendar year’. In 2014, Alexis Wright received the award for her novel The Swan Book.

Border Districts
Gerald Murnane
$24.95
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The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc
Ali Alizadeh
$26.95
Buy here

Vanessa Berry and Brian Castro win at the 2018 Mascara Avant-garde Awards

27 March 2018

Vanessa Berry and Brian Castro have each taken out first prize at the 2018 Mascara Avant-garde Awards for works published last year. Berry’s Mirror Sydney (recently longlisted for the ABIA awards), has topped the nonfiction category, and Castro’s Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria has won for fiction.

We also extend our congratulations to Oscar Schwartz, whose collection The Honeymoon Stage was shortlisted in the poetry category, and Ali Alizadeh, whose book The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc was shortlisted for fiction.

Read the judges’ comments on the two winning works below.

Mirror Sydney
Vanessa Berry
$26.95
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Described as an off-piste urban field manual, this book walks us through a psycho geography where alternative narratives find space between the icons, infrastructure, wharves and freeways. Historical layering, speculative flourishes and the rhetoric of maps shape the city’s ethical and hybrid possibilities. An extended meditation on time, space, history and urban subjectivity.

With its dark ironies and playful liberties of form there is mastery and joy in this verse novel. Castro’s musicality, anagrams and puns interpolate the banal with the absurd in 34 cantos that riff on The Divine Comedy as they tell the story of the last days of cancer fugitive and Adelaide architect, Lucian Gracq. This superb novel is innovative, thoughtful, comforting and profound.

Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria
Brian Castro
$26.95
Buy here

Nine Giramondo authors to feature at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival

20 March 2018

We are proud to announce that nine Giramondo authors will be appearing at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival. Running from 30 April to 6 May at a new temporary location at Carriageworks, the program – designed around the theme of ‘power’ by artistic director Michaela McGuire – will include sessions with recently published authors Alexis Wright (Tracker), Vanessa Berry (Mirror Sydney) and Fiona Wright (Domestic Interior), with the latter in conversation with New Zealand author Ashleigh Young (Can You Tolerate This?). It will also include a panel discussion featuring Western Sydney poet Maryam Azam, whose debut collection The Hijab Files will be coming out in May.

Find full sessions details for all attending authors by following the links below.

Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright: Tracker – 3 May

Vanessa Berry

Stories of Sydney – 3 May

Maryam Azam

Women, Colour and Western Sydney – 5 May

Joanne Burns

Big Bent Poetry Reading – 3 May

Zoë Norton Lodge

Story Club – 3 May

Alexis Wright and Beverley Farmer have been longlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize

We are thrilled following the announcement that Tracker by Alexis Wright and This Water: Five Tales by Beverley Farmer have been longlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize. Read the judges’ comments below and visit the Stella Prize website for details of the full longlist.

The five stories that make up This Water draw on familiar tropes from fairy tales and classical mythology, but fashion them into distinct and evocative fictional worlds. Beverley Farmer’s protagonists confront the universal problems of love, desire, loyalty and loss; but the contexts in which they face these problems also compel us to consider the ways in which the constraints imposed upon them by virtue of their social positions as women have conspired to shape their experiences, conflicts and sufferings. The timeless nature of Farmer’s subject matter is reflected in the elemental imagery that gives the volume its unique atmosphere and underlying sense of coherence. Blood and water are organising motifs in a book whose earthiness and multivalent symbolism are matched by its surpassing elegance of expression. This Water confirms Farmer’s reputation as a stylist of rare distinction. Her euphonious prose fuses the fluency and gravitas of ancient storytelling traditions to the concentrated clarity of the greatest modern writers. She writes prose with the attentiveness of a poet, achieving much of her lyrical effect by means of a plainspoken vocabulary utilised with a perfectly attuned sense of rhythm. This Water is an estimable work by one of Australia’s finest writers.

This Water: Five Tales
Beverley Farmer
$26.95
Buy here

Tracker
Alexis Wright
$39.95
Buy here

In this remarkable biography, Alexis Wright follows an Aboriginal tradition of storytelling that she describes as a ‘practice for crossing landscapes and boundaries, giving many voices a part in the story’. Tracker is a collective memoir of Tracker Tilmouth, charismatic Aboriginal leader, thinker, entrepreneur, visionary and provocateur. Tilmouth worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles including Director of the Central Land Council. This unique, majestic biography has been composed by Wright from interviews with family, friends, foes and Tilmouth himself. It is one man’s story told by many voices, almost operatic in scale. With a tight narrative structure, compelling real-life characters, the book sings with insight and Tracker’s unique humour. Wright has crafted an epic that is a truly rewarding read.

Ashleigh Young and Felicity Castagna to Appear at the Adelaide Writers’ Week

5 February 2018

We’re pleased to announce that Giramondo authors Ashleigh Young and Felicity Castagna will be appearing at this year’s Adelaide Writers’ Week (3–8 March 2018).

Young will be speaking at two sessions alongside Patricia Lockwood, Sarah Krasnostein and Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. The New Zealand writer’s book of essays, Can You Tolerate This?was published in September last year, winning the prestigious $20,000 Windham-Campbell Prize and the Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Nonfiction.

The award-winning author Castagna will join Michelle de Kretser to discuss issues of migration and Australian culture as explored in her fiction novel No More Boats, also published last year.

Find more information on each of the two author’s festival sessions below.

Ashleigh Young

Poet First, Then… – 5 Mar

The Self in the Story – 6 Mar

 

Order a copy of Can You Tolerate This?

Felicity Castagna

Boat People – 4 Mar

 

Order a copy of No More Boats.

Corey Wakeling and Shevaun Cooley to appear at the 2018 Perth Writers Week

19 January 2018

Giramondo poets Corey Wakeling and Shevaun Cooley will be appearing across six sessions at the 2018 Perth Writers Week as part of the Perth International Arts Festival. The authors are both originally from Western Australia, with Cooley an Adjunct Lecturer at the state’s Edith Cowan University, while Wakeling has since relocated to the Kansai region of Japan.

Each poet has a festival session dedicated to their latest work. On Wednesday 24 February, Wakeling will be talking to poet Philip Mead on his fervent and provocative poetry collection The Alarming Conservatory, which is to be released early next month. (Mead’s 2008 review of Wakeling’s previous collection, Goad Omen, can be found on Cordite Poetry Review.) On Thursday 25 February, Shevaun’s 2017 book Homing – a meditation on her preoccupation with place and belonging – will be discussed with Robert Wood.

Please find information on the two poets’ festival sessions below.

Corey Wakeling

The Alarming Conservatory – 24 Feb

Poetry Land – 24 Feb

A Gala for Fay Zwicky – 25 Feb

 

Pre-order a copy of The Alarming Conservatory.

Shevaun Cooley

The Poets Speak – 19 Feb

Poetry Land II – 24 Feb

Homing – 25 Feb

 

Order a copy of Homing

Alexis Wright and Jennifer Maiden have been shortlisted for the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Congratulations to Alexis Wright for being shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Nonfiction for her most recent book, Tracker, and to Jennifer Maiden for being shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry for her collection, The Metronome.

Two further Giramondo titles were highly commended by the judges – they are No More Boats by Felicity Castagna and I Love Poetry by Michael Farrell.

To learn more about the award, visit the Wheeler Centre website.

Antigone Kefala has been shortlisted for the 2017 Prime Minister’s Awards

We congratulate Antigone Kefala for being shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry with her poetry collection, Fragments.

Judges’ comments

Antigone Kefala’s Fragments is a searing enactment of memory. Time demolishes us all in little doses, so the poet contends, but the past is “a poison / we thirst for”. Shards of memory conjure the world in various states of evanescence: dreams evoke empty rooms in old houses, the floorboards gone, even the walls are thinning to mist – here and there the cry of birds pierce the enveloping silence.

We, like the poems, may “sink in light, disappear in silence”, but Kefala bids us to recall the “glossy beings” of our younger selves who head into the future innocent to what awaits us.

Kefala astounds with imagery that is intense, unsettling and always unexpected: at dusk in the coastal town of Derveni on the Peloponnese peninsula, fishing boats are “massive dark stones / planted / in a field of moonstone”. Light, fire and flowers are recurring motifs, as is the theme of “self-sufficiency”, which in the fierce austerity of Kefala’s mind finds its ultimate embodiment in death.

Fragments is a wonder of minimalism in which we find ourselves, like the poet, dancing in memory rooms growing bigger and bigger. It is a major work by a senior poet whose poetry continues to fascinate.

Fragments
Antigone Kefala
$24.95
Buy here

Antigone Kefala wins the 2017 Queensland Literary Award for Poetry

This year the Judith Wright Calanthe Award, given to an outstanding collection of poetry by an Australian writer, was awarded to Antigone Kefala for her poetry collection Fragments.

About the poet

Antigone Kefala has written four works of fiction, including The First JourneyThe Island and Summer Visit, and four poetry collections, The AlienThirsty WeatherEuropean Notebook and Absence: New and Selected Poems as well as the non-fiction work Sydney Journals. Born in Romania of Greek parents, she lived in Greece and New Zealand before coming to Australia.

About the book

Antigone Kefala is one of the finest Australian poets, highly regarded for the intensity of her vision, yet not widely known, on account of her minimalism, and the small number of poems she has published, each carefully worked, each magical or menacing in its effects. Fragmentsis her first collection of poems in almost twenty years, since the publication of New and Selected Poems in 1998. It follows her memoir Sydney Journals (Giramondo, 2008), of which one critic wrote, ‘Kefala can render the music of the moment so perfectly, she leaves one almost singing with the pleasure of it’. This skill in capturing the moment is just as evident in Fragments, with its linguistic precision, its heightened perception and sense of drama – though the territory is often darker now, as the poet navigates the liminal spaces between life and death, and the energies which lie in wait there.

Learn more about the Queensland Literary Awards.

Fragments
Antigone Kefala
$24.95
Buy here

Giramondo publishes the first title in its new Southern Latitudes series, devoted to writers from the southern hemisphere

A note from Ivor Indyk, Giramondo Publisher

It is extraordinary how devoted we are to the north, when we take our literary bearings in Australia. Of course there is not a lot to the south of us in the way of literary precedents to follow, but to the east and west, in Southern Africa, New Zealand, the South Pacific and South America, there are rich literary traditions, a common historical background in colonisation, an awareness of the complex relationship between our Indigenous and migrant populations, and a shared experience of living in southern latitudes, under southern skies, to the rhythm of southern seasons. This argues for resemblances between the perspectives in our writing.

The spell and the disappointment of the north is explicit in the first title in the series, All My Goodbyes, where the young female narrator leaves Buenos Aires to spend much of her youth in Europe. This is a familiar trajectory, as is her return, not only to the city from which she started, but further south, to a farm in Patagonia. The traditionalism of the old world, ironically portrayed in the intellectual pretensions of her German lover, the sense of cultural superiority, and on the other hand, the combination in her of defiance and self-deprecation, persistence and restlessness, these qualities too appear in our writing. There is something else I admire in Dimópulos, and in Latin American writing, a formal skill in the framing of narrative and in the use of shorter fictional forms like the novella, the concentration and economy of which is conducive to intensity, thought and experimentation.

The aim of Giramondo’s ‘Southern Latitudes’ series is to bring together writers from the southern hemisphere, and to allow their work to strike resonances for Australian writers and readers. Forthcoming titles include the collection of essays Can You Tolerate This? by New Zealand writer Ashleigh Young, a recipient of the prestigious 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize; and the futurist novella Balada by Argentinian writer Marcelo Cohen, translated by Chris Andrews.

Ivor Indyk

All My Goodbyes
Mariana Dimópulos
$24.95
Buy here

Can You Tolerate This?
Ashleigh Young
$24.95
Buy here

Brian Castro to appear at the 2017 International Literature Festival in Berlin

Brian Castro, author of Shanghai Dancing and The Garden Book, will attend this year’s International Literature Festival being held in Berlin. Castro has been selected to attend the festival as part of the Literatures of the World program, which features world-renowned authors as well as new discoveries from the fields of prose and poetry.

Castro will discuss his latest work, Blindness and Rage, a verse novel in which a fatally ill poet finds himself in a secret society in Paris. Written in thirty-four cantos, Blindness and Rage recalls Virgil and Dante in its descent into the underworld of writing, and Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin with its mixture of wonder and melancholy. The short lines bring out the rhythmic qualities of Castro’s prose, enhance his playfulness and love of puns, his use of allusion and metaphor. Always an innovator, in Blindness and Rage he again throws down a challenge to the limits of the novel form.

For more information visit the International Literature Festival website.

Aden Rolfe wins the 2017 Mary Gilmore Award

Congratulations to Aden Rolfe who has won this year’s Mary Gilmore Award, a prize given to the best first book of poetry published in the previous year.

About the poet

Aden Rolfe is a writer and editor whose practice includes poetry, performance writing and criticism. His poems have been published in the Age, Best Australian Poems, Overland and Best Australian Poetry, and broadcast on ABC Radio National (Books and Arts Daily) and 2SER (Final Draft).

About the book

False Nostalgia has received support from the Australia Council in the form of a JUMP mentorship, and from Varuna through the award of the Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship for Poetry. False Nostalgia explores the interaction of memory, identity and narrative – in particular, the relationship between what we remember and the stories we tell about ourselves. Through stand alone poems, intricate sequences and experimental poetics, False Nostalgia considers the disconnect between experience and recollection, the drive to document a moment, the fear of forgetting and the unreliability of memory. Rolfe approaches his subjects obliquely, evoking feelings of connection, loss and the experience of never quite grasping your own understanding of things. The poems place the reader in half-remembered places – beach shacks from past holidays, quivering forests, auction houses of the mind – asking not only what it means to look back fondly on a second-rate experience, but what it means to look forward to looking back on a moment while you’re still living through it.

Learn more about the Mary Gilmore Award.

A note from Alan Wearne on These Things Are Real

Award-winning poet, Alan Wearne, writes here about his most recent poetry collection, These Things Are Real. The collection is available here.


Yes, poetry is an elitist pursuit, since not everyone can write it, nor can everyone read and enjoy it. Yet it is still the most democratic, maybe even anarchic of the written/spoken arts. Rarely beholden to any writers centre/book club/festival/market place, we truly can write as we please, and if readers have to meet us some of the way and adjust…so be it. They can be assured that these things I write of in the ‘Five Verse Narratives’ of my These Things are Real are indeed real: the damaged busker and the even more potent damage he causes; the reserved gay engineer and his assembly of warm-hearted friends; the love-lorn young lesbian Maoist; the acerbic 1950s widow and the dysfunctional couple she befriends; the well-educated junkie near-mesmerised by his dealer. Stories quite often out of a one- time Australia? Maybe, though still tales that I trust can resonate, for people will always love and nurture, hate and abuse, become obsessed, become addicted.

And if such are the constants what of the here-and-now? Well that’s where the satirist arrives, for if all eras need their satirical corrective, this era is bellowing out for such, in Australia and throughout the globe. Which I hope is where the ‘The Sarsaparilla Writers Centre’ of my present book comes barging in. Sure we can take shots at this brute in the Kremlin, that slob in the White House, those ditherers hovering about 10 Downing Street, but in a garden that has produced Abbott, Dutton, Hanson and Pell (for starters!) I think we should take to spraying our own weeds first. And those elitists, the poets, are just the folk for the job!

Alan Wearne

Alan Wearne’s poems coruscate with their brio. As they unfold, they mint the music and good cheer from resources as broad as the rhyming élan of Kipling, Newbolt or C.J. Dennis, to the street argot his extraordinarily ready ear might have overheard a moment ago. But always they communicate the enjoyment he takes in their composition, a poetry that delights as much in being at the up-front of how lives are lived and spoken, as it joys in how serviceable is the substance poetry itself to make that up-front vibrant and just.

Alan Gould

Michelle Cahill has won the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing

Congratulations to Michelle Cahill whose short story collection Letter to Pessoa won the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing, a prize which recognises a published book of fiction written by an author who has not previously published a book-length work of narrative fiction or narrative non-fiction.

To learn more about the award and the other shortlisted works, visit the NSW State Library website.

The judges said:

This virtuosic literary collection experiments with a wide range of styles and narrative points of view. It wears its literary influences on its sleeve, adopting and adapting the narrative voices, characters, biographies and story fragments of writers as diverse as Pessoa, Derrida, Woolf, Borges and Genet. In ‘Letter to John Coetzee’ Melanie Isaacs, the minor character from Coetzee’s novel Disgrace, cheekily interrogates him about the ways in which women of colour are exploited and marginalised in literature as they are in life.

The stories address issues to do with race, war, queerness and belonging. Their characters move across geographic, class and aesthetic terrains, visiting global hotspots of struggle, tourism and migration. Questions are raised about the ethics of first-world witnessing as Cahill draws the UK, the US, India, Nepal, Southeast Asia and Australia together in a web of transnational connections.

From Tom Collins to Ern Malley to My Life as a Fake, the Australian literary world has had more than its share of authors unafraid to wield a satirical pen. Joining these ranks is Michelle Cahill’s wonderfully seditious collection of short stories, Letter to Pessoa. This spritely fictional debut addresses literature through some of its greatest practitioners — who may also be the most deserving of reproach. A teasing sense of imitation runs through this book, but it is more than mere caricature. The reader is left with nothing but admiration for Cahill’s incisive intelligence and literary skill in this original work.

This spritely fictional debut addresses literature through some of its greatest practitioners…The reader is left with nothing but admiration for Cahill’s incisive intelligence and literary skill in this original work.

Judges' comments

Antigone Kefala and Michelle Cahill have been shortlisted for the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

We are thrilled to announce that two Giramondo authors have been shortlisted for 2017 NSW Premier’s Awards: Antigone Kefala is shortlisted for her poetry collection, Fragments, for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, and Michelle Cahill is shortlisted for her short story collection, Letter to Pessoa, for the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing.

To see the full list of shortlisted works, please visit the NSW State Library website.

Fragments: Judges’ comments

In Fragments, Antigone Kefala faces time’s relentless fragmentation of the wholeness of human experience. Against the indifference of the world to human life in all its phases — ‘so many seasons now/…unaware of us’ — Kefala cries out to poetry. In a book of stunning austerity, razor-sharp imagery and precise free-verse prosody, Kefala appeals to the redemptive power of memory in the face of life’s transience and intimate loss; a power that, for the poet, is found in the eloquence of poetry’s restoration of memory and life.

Kefala’s poetry approaches the dark clarity and dense allegory of Paul Celan, the face of the other peering into the face of the self across an abyss of emptiness which becomes, in the shadow of the poetic gesture, an abyss of completeness: ‘yet I called your name/lost in the rain of ash/that kept on falling.’ There is also passion, the sparkle of youth texturing the shadows of the present. Beneath it all is an eye for the ‘ferocity of life’ and, in poetry, its elegant embrace of what time can give, and what time takes away.

Letter to Pessoa: Judges’ comments

This virtuosic literary collection experiments with a wide range of styles and narrative points of view. It wears its literary influences on its sleeve, adopting and adapting the narrative voices, characters, biographies and story fragments of writers as diverse as Pessoa, Derrida, Woolf, Borges and Genet. In ‘Letter to John Coetzee’ Melanie Isaacs, the minor character from Coetzee’s novel Disgrace, cheekily interrogates him about the ways in which women of colour are exploited and marginalised in literature as they are in life.

The stories address issues to do with race, war, queerness and belonging. Their characters move across geographic, class and aesthetic terrains, visiting global hotspots of struggle, tourism and migration. Questions are raised about the ethics of first-world witnessing as Cahill draws the UK, the US, India, Nepal, Southeast Asia and Australia together in a web of transnational connections.

Ali Cobby Eckermann awarded 2017 Windham-Campbell prize

Indigenous poet Ali Cobby Eckermann has won the 2017 Windham-Campbell award for poetry. She has said that the prize money, which totals A$215,000, is ‘going to change my life completely’.

Of Eckermann, the Windham-Campbell Prize website states:

‘Through song and story, Ali Cobby Eckermann confronts the violent history of Australia’s Stolen Generations and gives language to unspoken lineages of trauma and loss. […] She has produced a substantial and formally innovative body of work, including the award-winning 2015 collection Inside My Mother. Eckermann has described Inside My Mother as an “emotional timeline” of the Stolen Generations, the thousands of children of indigenous descent—among them Eckermann herself, as well as her mother and son—taken from their families by the Australian government.’

The award was started in 2013 by David Windham after the death of his lifelong partner Sandy Campbell in 1988. This year there were eight recipients.

To learn more about Inside My Mother and Ali Cobby Eckermann, visit the Giramondo website.

I was 34 when I finally found my mother. Four years later my son was returned to me (he was 18). My family taught us culture and I healed through poetry. An award of this magnitude will continue the healing for many of us.

Ali Cobby Eckermann

Sean Rabin’s Wood Green shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award

Wood Green cover for webGiramondo author Sean Rabin has been shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Award for Fiction with his novel Wood Green set in a village on the slopes of Mt Wellington in Tasmania. Previously, the novel was shortlisted for The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. The novel is an exploration of the perils of literary ambition and the elusive prospect of artistic legacy.

Of this work, the judges said: Wood Green explores the relationship between art and life, and contains some illuminating passages about what it means to create art. Evoking the insularity of a small town life, it deals with its location and characters with warmth and humour. Suspense-fully plotted and cleverly narrated, Wood Green a book beyond categorisation – covering the domestic and the cosmopolitan, the pedestrian and the sublime, all with equal skill and authenticity.

To learn more about the shortlist, visit the Wheeler Centre website.

Lisa Gorton wins and Michael Farrell shortlisted for the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

We are delighted to announce that Lisa Gorton has co-won the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. Michael Farrell was also shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry.

You can listen to Lisa’s chat about her award-winning book with the Books and Arts Daily podcast.

The Life of Houses_Lisa GortonJudges comments for The Life of Houses:

Lisa Gorton, in The Life of Houses, has written a highly original novel in which she has made the background of her narrative the foreground. She has taken a common place and made it mysterious and profound. Over a century ago the French novelist Gustave Flaubert said that he would like to write a book with no content, a book that was nothing but style. Lisa Gorton has gone some considerable way toward realising this essentially modernist ambition. She avoids all sensation, and the high points of her narrative all occur off stage, or are spoken of in the most low-key manner. These moments include a mother’s consideration of beginning an affair, a young girl’s failure to make a connection with a gay painter who is interested in her as a person, a ghost that never appears and the death of the girl’s grandfather. All these incidences, and others, typify what might be called the author’s contribution to the “a car went by” school of writing (walking to the beach one day it is noted that “a car went by” without any import or symbolism to this phrase).

While this is not a novel for every reader, those who enjoy observation will find it a book of exquisite precision. It is a work of realism taken to the point where that immemorial style is renewed for the modern reader. Some may remember the French novelist who caused a stir in the 1950s, Alain Robbe-Grillet, who concentrated on the physical objects informing his work. Like him, Lisa Gorton has written a book whose virtues are all in its details, but she has an unpretentious, clean and warm style which makes her remote from her similar predecessor.

Farrell_revJudges comments for Cocky’s Joy:

Michael Farrell’s Cocky’s Joy is a series of deliberate non-sequiturs, of phrases resonant yet unconnected to the words which have gone before, “slowly edging towards Babel in reverse”, as one poem puts it. “We see the world as a black and white golf course. Constellations like buttons on Apollinaire.” While such sentences, on the surface, make no sense, they are nonetheless suggestive of a particular mind at work. Many of the poems in this book are nothing more than lists of items that have been glimpsed in passing by that mind, or consciousness, and as such they help to create an inadvertent self-portrait of a person whose thoughts are endlessly curious, witty, literate, allusive, with a frame of references that range from the domestic to the cosmic, taking in both high culture and popular media on the way.

To see the full shortlists and other categories, visit the Department of Arts website.

Fiona Wright wins 2016 Queensland Literary Non-fiction Award

Fiona Wright has been awarded The University of Queensland Non-fiction Book Award for Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger. Her collection of essays has also recently won the Kibble Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize.

Of Small Acts of Disappearance, the judges said: ‘This is a brilliant albeit disturbing collection of essays by Fiona Wright about her long association with an illness experienced by many young people in our land of plenty. She refers to her eating disorder as hunger, and in so doing she re-frames this mysterious illness so that we as readers are better able to understand it. She unsparingly highlights the contradictions and deceptions inherent in the illness, and what she sees as the empowering and addictive effects of hunger. She references anorexic moments in books we’ve all read and probably missed, sobering indeed.’

To read more about this collection of essays, visit the website.

 

Lucy Dougan wins the 2016 WA Premier’s Poetry Award

The Guardians by Lucy Dougan has won the Western Australia Premier’s Award in the poetry category. The award ceremony took place at the State Library of Western Australia on 3 October.

Of the poetry collection, the judges said: ‘Seemingly simple, actually very dense poetry, Dougan’s elliptical work hints at a life that hovers just beyond our comprehension; in dreams, tales, the past, in the imagination of the poet. This other world surrounds even the most domestic of the poems. Often funny as well as serious, the work is at the same time mysterious and haunting.’

Read more about The Guardians on the website.

Alexis Wright wins the 2016 Kate Challis Award for The Swan Book

Alexis Wright has won the 2016 Kate Challis Award with her novel, The Swan Book.

In their citation the judges noted: ‘Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book is a sprawling, magnificent achievement, a remarkable imaginative vision of Australia as it was and is, and will be. Set at some point in the future, in a world utterly changed by global warming, war and the global movement of people, it charts the life of a mute young woman, Oblivian Ethel(ene), beginning with her fraught relationship with an old, enigmatic refugee, Bella Donna of the Champions. The novel is full of mythologies and soaring imagery: the swans, for example, are ever-present and say so much about the predicament of the world they inhabit. At the same time, the novel launches a devastating critique of Australia’s treatment of Indigenous people: condemning the Federal government’s Intervention, and showing us the many ways in which a militarised colonialism has shaped, and continues to shape, Indigenous lives in Australia’s north and across the nation.’

In 1994, Emeritus Professor Bernard Smith (late) established “The Kate Challis Award” to honour the memory of his late wife, Kate Challis, who was known in her youth as Ruth Adeney (RAKA is an acronym for the Ruth Adeney Koori Award). In the Pintupi language RAKA means ‘five’ and in the Warlpiri RDAKA means ‘hand’. The donor stipulated that the award be made annually and is to be applied to encourage Indigenous artists to undertake literary works, paintings, sculptures, craftwork, plays and musical compositions and to assist in advancing the recognition of Indigenous achievements in these areas.

To read more about the award, visit the website.

Ali Cobby Eckermann shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing

Ali Cobby Eckermann’s collection of poems, Inside My Mother, is one of three titles shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing. The winner of the $20,000 award will be announced on 7 September, coinciding with Indigenous Literacy Day.

Of Inside My Mother, the judges said:

Inside my Mother is a haunting and evocative piece of writing from an extraordinarily gifted poet. Ali Cobby Eckermann has produced a deeply personal set of poetic moments, which are both inventive and classical. A raw and honest collection cut from bitter experience, Inside My Mother sometimes reads like a verse novel – except these moments might be ripped from the pages of another person’s life.

There is great empathy in these poems. The title suggests a primal longing for the mother, who is embodied in the birth trees that populate the country of the poet’s mind. Those birth trees, like the surreal dream birds, are both witness and sentinel to generations of mothers and daughters. There is nothing anaesthetic about these poems; they are brutal and affirming in their truth.’

To read more about the shortlist, visit the Wheeler Centre website.

Sean Rabin’s Wood Green has been shortlisted for The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction

Wood Green cover for webWood Green by Sean Rabin has been shortlisted for the 2016 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Now in its third year, the aim of the award is to recognise ‘exciting and exceptional new contributions to local literature’.

On Wood Green the judges commented: ‘Set in Tasmania, this is a charming, quirky and very clever debut novel, bursting with literary references and boasting a memorable cast of characters. A genuine pleasure to read.’

The winning author will be announced at midday on Tuesday 18 October, be featured in the November issue of the Readings Monthly, and will receive prize money of $4000.

To read more about the prize, visit the Readings website.

Lucy Dougan and Jennifer Maiden shortlisted for 2016 WA Premier’s Poetry Award

Maiden and Dougan WA Poetry
Two Giramondo poets have been shortlisted for the 2016 Western Australian Premier’s Poetry Award: Lucy Dougan for The Guardians and Jennifer Maiden for The Fox Petition.

The judges said of The Guardians: ‘Seemingly simple, actually very dense poetry, Dougan’s elliptical work hints at a life that hovers just beyond our comprehension; in dreams, tales, the past, in the imagination of the poet. This other world surrounds even the most domestic of the poems. Often funny as well as serious, the work is at the same time mysterious and haunting.’

On The Fox Petition: ‘Mostly long, often conversational poems between well-known political or public figures, Maiden’s poetry is sharp, witty and entertaining. Its focus is on rights of all kinds and for her the poetry is definitely, and defiantly, the political. While it often uses historical figures, the work is always marked by its contemporary significance and broad historical relevance.’

The prize-winners will be announced on Monday 3 October 2016.

For more information visit the website.

Fiona Wright winner of $30 000 Kibble Literary Award

Small acts of disappearance_Fiona WrightWe are excited to announce that Fiona Wright has won the 2016 Nita B Kibble Literary Award for her collection of essays, Small Acts of Disappearance. The Award, which is worth $30 000, celebrates female writers and their impact on life writing.

The judges said:

“With the skilful use of language seen in her prize-winning poetry, Wright writes frankly and movingly about a difficult and very personal subject. Unlike many memoirs of illness and recovery, hers is not a story of triumph over adversity. The essay form allows her to resist closure, while also providing insights into her reading, her travels and her interactions with others,” she said.

For more information visit this site.

Martin Edmond’s Battarbee and Namatjira Shortlisted for National Biography Award

Battarbee and Namatjira_Martin EdmondWe’re excited that Battarbee and Namatjira by Martin Edmond has been shortlisted for the National Biography Award.

The Award was established in 1996 by Dr Geoffrey Cains and is administered and presented by the State Library of NSW.

The total prize value is $31,000 – $25,000 for the winner and $1,000 each for shortlisted authors – making it the richest national prize dedicated to Australian biographical writing and memoir.

The winner is announced each year in August.

For the complete shortlist, click here.

Fiona Wright Shortlisted for the Kibble Award

Small acts of disappearance_Fiona WrightWe’re delighted that Fiona Wright has been shortlisted for the Kibble Award for Established Writers for her essay collection Small Acts of Disappearance.

Established in 1994, the Kibble Awards recognise Australian female literary talent in honour of Nita Kibble, the first female librarian of the State Library of New South Wales. They comprise the Kibble Literary Award for an established author, as well as the Dobbie Literary Award for a first time published author.

For the complete shortlist, click here.

Joanne Burns and Lisa Gorton Winners of NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

We’re delighted that two Giramondo authors received awards at the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

joanne burns won the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize for brush of which the judges said: ‘While apparently modest in scope this intrepid and original poetry’s achievement is considerable as the commonplace is excavated in all its multifarious dimensions.’

Lisa Gorton was awarded the People’s Choice Prize for The Life of Houses.

For the full list of winners and judges’ citations, click here.

Fiona Wright Shortlisted for the Stella Prize

Small acts of disappearance_Fiona Wright

We’re thrilled that Fiona Wright’s Small Acts of Disappearancehas been shortlisted for the Stella Prize.

The judges say:
Small Acts of Disappearance is a collection of essays on anorexia, a disorder as disturbing as it is mysterious, even to its own sufferers. Documenting Fiona Wright’s experience from the beginning of her affliction, when she was a student, to her hospitalisation with a life-threateningly extreme version of the illness, the essays display a candour and an intelligence that describe the course of her illness with great precision and illuminate the sufferer’s motives and actions over time.

The narrative is crosshatched with other experiences and subjects: travel, autobiography, and literature – in particular writers who have used their art to anatomise the extremity of compulsion. The range of Wright’s research, from contemporary neurobiologists to old school modernists, and the quality of her insights make Small Acts of Disappearance a valuable book. Wright brings a sometimes melancholy, sometimes comic, well-informed honesty to an important subject.’

For the full shortlist, click here.

Queensland Literary Awards Shortlistings

Lucy DouganWe are delighted to have two authors shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards.

Lucy Dougan’s The Guardians has been shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Poetry Prize and Nicholas Jose’s Bapo has been shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Short Story Prize.

For the full shortlist and winners, click here.

Felicity Castagna chosen for IBBY Australia Honour List

TiHan cover for webWe’re thrilled that Felicity Castagna’s The Incredible Here and Now has been chosen at IBBY Australia’s Honour Book for Writing.

Of Felicity’s work, the judges said:

Dom dies in a car accident. Fifteen-year-old Michael has to learn how to live without his older brother, whose easy charm could open any doors. In this life-changing year, while his mother withdraws from the family, Michael, despite his strong sense of self, becomes somehow disconnected from his world. This gives the story an edgy feel as we experience with him his neighbourhood, his girlfriend and the cars which zoom up and down the street. The novel has a powerful sense of place, exploring the setting and cultures of the western suburbs of Sydney that many readers can identify with. Castagna’s sharp, observant writing shows compassion and insight and explores the themes of grief, loss, romance, culture and family life through a series of vignettes. Many light touches of humour contribute to making this compelling and accessible book a story about hope and finding one’s place in the community.

For more information about IBBY Australia, click here.

Alexis Wright Awarded a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship

Alexis Wright authorWe are delighted that Alexis Wright has been awarded a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship.

First awarded in 2011, the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships provide grants of $160,000 over two years to individual artists, arts managers and thought leaders in the humanities. For more information on the fellowships and other recipients, click here.

Judith Beveridge Awarded Peter Porter Poetry Prize

We’re thrilled that Judith Beveridge has been awarded the Peter Porter Poetry Prize for her work, ‘As Wasps Fly Upwards’.

On winning the prize, Judith said:

I am deeply honoured to have won the Peter Porter Poetry Prize, not only because of the high regard I have for Peter Porter’s poetry and for Australian Book Review, but also because of the very strong 2015 shortlist. I loved all the poems and was truly surprised to hear I’d won. My sincere thanks to ABR for continuing this prestigious prize, which is a great support for poets.

For more information on the shortlisted poems, visit the ABR website, here.

Luke Carman wins NSW Premier’s New Writing Award 2015

Carman-CoverWe are delighted that Luke Carman has won the UTS Glenda Adams New Writing Award 2015 at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

The judges had this to say of Luke’s work:

Luke Carman’s witty collection of stories heralds a new, edgy and brilliant voice in Australian fiction. The elegant young man of the title is a well-read, acerbic character who goes by the name of Luke Carman. Immediately the writer’s erudition and craft are on display. Here we have a portrait of the artist as a young western Sydney man, failing repeatedly the machismo tests set by the street thugs and dealers of suburbs with the postcode 2170.

Through his unpretentious, playful stream-of-consciousness, the protagonist charts his own odyssey from Liverpool Boys High and the western suburbs to the more genteel, sophisticated inner west. Carman offers a cartography of the multiracial — and at times violent and drug-and-booze fuelled — neighbourhoods of western Sydney, and a map of the protagonist’s reading life. Kerouac, Ginsberg, Tolstoy, Whitman, Dylan Thomas and Hemingway sit alongside Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Henry Rollins, Seinfeld and Penthouse.

Carman’s epigrammatic stories, so perfectly suited to Giramondo’s Shorts form, build in intensity and poignancy. After a rollicking, sometimes brazen and shocking romp through fraught geographical, cultural and racial terrain, we are left with the almost nostalgic suggestion that perhaps there can be no more true heroes – no great Ulysses – in our modern world. But, Carman suggests, you should not let that get you down. An Elegant Young Man shocks, delights, depresses and inspires.

For a full list of winners, click here.

Michael Mohammed Ahmad, SMH Best Young Novelist 2015, Voss Prize Shortlisting

Ahmad The Tribe Cover
We’re thrilled that Michael Mohammed Ahmad has been named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Novelists, 2015, for his book The Tribe. The judges said:

Ahmad tackles this difficult subject matter with breathtaking honesty, gesturing towards a larger social canvas beyond the mind of a child that includes the struggle of migration, economic disadvantage, the difficulties of reconciling elements of the old and the new culture. Ahmad’s language is replete with lyricism, and a sense of wonder suffuses every page. It turns everyday experience into the stuff of poetry.

For full details of the winners, click here. The Tribe has been shortlisted for the Voss Literary Prize. The prize is dedicated to the memory of Vivian Robert de Vaux Voss (1930-1963), an historian and lover of literature. His will stipulated that a literary award be established to reward the best work of fiction from the previous year. For more information and the full shortlist, click here.

Alan Wearne Honoured with Christopher Brennan Award

wearne headshot

We are thrilled that Alan Wearne has been lauded with the FAW Christopher Brennan Award. The award celebrates lifetime achievement in poetry and recognises a poet who produces work of ‘sustained quality and distinction’.

Judges Jennifer Harrison and Philip Salom had this to say in their citation:

Alan Wearne has been involved with the Australian poetry scene since the late sixties. After publishing two poetry collections, Public Relations (1972) and New Devil, New Parish (1976), he played a pivotal role in introducing the verse novel to mainstream Australian poetry with Out Here (1976) and The Nightmarkets (1986). The Nightmarkets won the Banjo Award and was adapted for performance. Wearne wrote a satirical novel on Melbourne’s football (Kicking in Danger 1997) and hosted Conversations with a Dead Poet — a documentary film on his friend the late poet John Forbes — before his next verse novel was published. That verse novel, The Lovemakers (2001), was awarded the 2002 NSW Premier’s (Kenneth Slessor) Prize for Poetry, NSW Book of the Year and the Arts Queensland Judith Wright Calanthe Award. The Lovemakers, Book Two was the co-winner of the 2004 Foundation for Australian
Literary Studies’ Colin Roderick Award. Alan Wearne’s most recent works are Sarsparilla: a Calypso (2007), The Australian Popular Songbook (2008) and Prepare the Cabin for Landing (2012). He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong and publisher at Grand Parade Poets.

For a full list of winners and citations, click here.

Giramondo Titles Shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award 2015

NSW prem's 2015

Giramondo is delighted to be well represented across three categories of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award 2015 shortlists.

In the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, Judith Beveridge’s Devadatta’s Poems and John Mateer’s Unbelievers or the Moor made the shortlist.

Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s The Tribe and Luke Carman’s An Elegant Young Man have been shortlisted for the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing.

A Million Windows by Gerald Murnane has been shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

For a full list of shortlisted authors, click here.

For the full citations of all the Giramondo titles, click here.

Felicity Castagna wins the Prime Minister’s Literary Award

TiHan cover for web

We are thrilled that Felicity Castagna has won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, Young Adult Fiction for her work The Incredible Here and Now. The award was presented at a gala dinner in Melbourne. For the full list of winners and shortlisted titles, click here.

SBS broadcast the event, to watch the video, click here.

The judges said:

When Michael’s beloved older brother Dom dies in a car crash, Michael and his family are left with aching grief. What an aptly titled novel this is: a vivid portrait of a teenage boy, his family and community in Sydney’s western suburbs learning about life, death and love. Writer Felicity Castagna exploits a series of vignettes to create a wholly satisfying, moving story: its short, sculpted chapters capture Michael’s thoughts, moods and insights in quickening moments. Michael has the outward reticence of a teenage boy, but so much happening beneath the surface. This is a splendid portrayal of a boy on the cusp.

Brian Castro Wins Patrick White Award

We’re delighted that Brian Castro has won the Patrick White Literary Award. This award is for an author’s body of work and was founded by White with the proceeds of his Nobel Prize for Literature. Giramondo has published four of Castro’s works, Shanghai Dancing, The Garden Book, The Bath Fugues and Street to Street.

The judges praised Castro for his ‘outstanding contribution to Australian Literature, his continued willingness to take imaginative risks and be ‘blackly playful’, and his evident potential to produce more significant work…’

For the full judges’ citation, click here.

To read Castro’s acceptance speech, click here.

Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Luke Carman Shortlisted for Readings New Writing Award

We’re thrilled that Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s book The Tribe and Luke Carman’s An Elegant Young Man have been shortlisted for the inaugural Readings New Writing Award. A prize offered for a first or second book by an Australian author, the award ‘aims to increase the promotion and commercial success of books by Australian authors, earning them greater recognition from the wider community’.

Ahmad The Tribe Cover
Of The Tribe, the judges said:

Told from the point of view of a child called Bani, The Tribe introduces the members of a Muslim family who fled to Australia just before the civil war in Lebanon, and the narrative progresses through key moments of their multi-generational household.

Set largely in the western Sydney suburb of Lakemba, The Tribe comes to life through the simple, honest voice of its young narrator. The suburban narrative is given a vivid cultural specificity not often depicted in contemporary Australian fiction, and Michael Mohammed Ahmad cleverly ties pop-cultural references to myth and traditional stories, creating rifts of humour and warmth in the work.

Carman-Cover
The judges said that of  An Elegant Young Man:

Luke Carman’s collection of monologues and anecdotal stories hums with the cadence of Western Sydney – a creative mash-up of street talk and literature, swagger and trepidation, colloquialisms and poetry. The world of Fobs, Lebbos, Greek, Serbs, Grubby Boys and scumbag Aussies that forms the backdrop to these stories is ominously familiar; a place where racism is so entrenched in daily interactions as to be barely discernible.

Through his narrator, described as anything but an elegant young man, Carman brilliantly captures the mingling anxieties and misplaced confidences of youth with a feverish intensity.

 

For the full shortlist, click here.

Lisa Gorton Awarded Philip Hodgins Medal

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At the Mildura Writers’ Festival this year, Lisa Gorton was awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal, an annual prize given to an Australian writer whose work reflects the standards and literary accomplishments that Philip Hodgins. Gorton’s most recent book published by Giramondo is Hotel Hyperion which has been shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.

Alexis Wright wins the ALS Gold Medal

Wright-Swan-coverAlexis 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.

The Recluse Shortlisted for the Magarey Medal

juers-265x300We’re delighted that The Recluse, Evelyn Juers, has been shortlisted for the Magarey Medal.

The Magarey Medal for biography is a biennial prize of at least $10,000. The prize is awarded to the female author who has published the work judged to be the best biographical writing on an Australian subject in the preceding two years. The awarding of the prize is administered and judged by a panel set up by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature and the Australian Historical Association. The prize is very generously donated by Professor Emerita Susan Magarey.

For the full shortlist, click here.

Luke Carman – 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist

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Photo: Peter Rae, Fairfax

We’re delighted that Luke Carman has been named one of the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Best Young Novelists in 2014 for An Elegant Young Man.

The judges said that ‘Carman’s prose blends literature and popular culture, punk and poetry, and transforms this rich seam of influence into his own contagious voice with an admirable disregard for the distinctions of high and low art.’

In her interview, Linda Morris uncovered that:

Originally Luke Carman’s An Elegant Young Man carried the title How to Be Gay, which was his neighbour’s suggested title when Carman first revealed he wanted to be a writer.

The mocking, says Carman, sums up the sharp edges of masculine culture in western Sydney and the fact that literature carries so little credibility in suburbia. Which was unfortunate for Carman as a nerdy kid with a head for books not boxing gloves. At six or seven he used to read as a form of self-defence to keep his night terrors at bay. Reading eventually gave him insomnia.

In this collection of short stories and monologues, Carman wanders the streets of Granville, Mount Pritchard and Liverpool, observing fist fights under street lights, showdowns at all-night kebab shops and girls who offer their love for the cheapest exchange.

For the full coverage, click here.

Congratulations Alexis Wright – The Swan Book shortlisted for the Miles Franklin

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Left to right: Cory Taylor, Fiona McFarlane, Alexis Wright
Photo: Janie Barrett, Fairfax Media

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright has been shortlisted for the 2014 Miles Franklin Awards. In their citation, the judges said

 At some future date, in an Australia ravaged by the effects of climate change, the first Aboriginal Prime Minister, Warren Finch (aka ‘god’s gift’), takes his ‘promise wife’, Oblivia Ethylene, from her home in the far north to live in a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. On this scaffolding Alexis Wright builds her extraordinary novel, an epic, mythic and satirical tale that is a worthy successor to her previous prize-winning Carpentaria (2006).

Oblivia, who was gang raped as a child and cannot speak, is the guardian of the swans, which are the book’s presiding image of beauty and vulnerability. Oblivia’s guardians, in turn, are Aunty Bella Donna – a climate change refugee from Europe, who brings the girl to live with her, feeding her with swan stories from around the world – and an Aboriginal elder who calls himself the Harbourmaster.

The name of their dwelling place, Swan Lake, as well as the name of the Aboriginal elder’s pet monkey, Rigoletto, signal the witty mix of cultural icons that furnish Wright’s tale with global as well as local references. The narrative voice that Alexis Wright has crafted can span the languages of opera and popular song as well as rendering the rhythms and idioms of Aboriginal English – a complex, allusive narrative of speaking, singing, mourning and cracking jokes. The result is unlike anything we have heard before in Australian literature.

For the full citation, click here.

You can view the full shortlist here.

Judith Beveridge Honoured with the Christopher Brennan Award

Devadatta's Poems Beveridge HeadshotJudith Beverdige has received the FAW CHRISTOPHER BRENNAN AWARD. It is an award to honour an Australian poet who has written work of sustained quality and distinction.

The FAW supplies a specially-cast bronze plaque designed by Michael Meszaros. Each year, the recipient is selected by a panel of judges appointed by the FAW. Previous winners include Giramondo poets Fay Zwicky and Jennifer Maiden.

Beveridge’s latest book of poetry is Devadatta’s Poems, available here.

NSW Premier’s Shortlist 2014 – Castagna, Middleton and Wright

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We’re pleased to have three titles shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. You can read the judges’ comments below.

 

Ephemeral Waters, Kate Middleton

Judges’ comments:
‘This long documentary poem tracks the Colorado River, a system in ecological crisis, in its entirety, as a geographical site and as a self-sustaining historical text. Ambitious and epic in scope – and reminiscent of William Carlos Williams’ ‘Paterson’, Eleni Sikelianos’ ‘The California Poem’, and of Laurie Duggan’s ‘The Ash Range’ – it is a comprehensive work of research, a record of the poet’s actual journeys along the river’s course, and an inspiring act of imagination.

Ephemeral Waters stimulates questions about the local versus the global, and what a poem of this scope would achieve if it were about the Murray River. This book encourages a reader to ask what the future would be like if such river systems collapsed entirely. In this way a poem set in the US speaks directly to Australian readers without didacticism. Kate Middleton manages to balance the emotive connection of people to land, and the contestation over land use, with a language that is empirical and occasionally minimal. Elsewhere the poetry is wonderfully eccentric in its cascading lineation. Its vocabulary is organic and analytic in its weaving of local American vernaculars, scientific nomenclature, and lyric phrasing. The book achieves a rich synthesis of the literary and mythological with the empirical matter-of-factness of the surveyor’s documents, observations and explorations of science and history, both natural and human. Kate Middleton’s very accomplished second book is a major tribute to an important river that so many depend upon.’

 

The Incredible Here and Now, Felicity Castagna

Judges’ comments:
‘The Incredible Here and Now might be a book about the demonised and the stereotyped, about powerlessness and the hidden injuries of class. It might be a book about protest masculinity and the senseless, foolish, sometimes dangerous things young men do to compensate for the experience of marginalization. It might be a book about death and grief, or a book about the excruciating and exhilarating awkwardness of first love. In fact, The Incredible Here and Now is about all these things.

In the summer he turns 15, Michael’s world threatens to implode when his “invincible” older brother dies. Grief-stricken, bored, aimless and confused, Michael seeks refuge in the streets, sites and people of his home, Western Sydney. It would have been easy to stray into melodrama or sentimentality, but The Incredible Here and Now pulls back just enough to allow Castagna to deliver a confident and well-controlled story. Elegantly crafted as a series of vignettes, Castagna’s writing is bold, compassionate and visceral. Her characters are real and flawed, and linger long after one has turned the final page – from the charming and exuberant Dom, to “the last man on earth” Shadi, to the tyrannical Mr Alloshi. But it is Western Sydney that perhaps leaves the most memorable impression on the reader. Vividly portrayed – “an everywhere-people kind of place” – Castagna humanises a place where “those who don’t know any better drive through the neighbourhood and lock their doors”. It is in the West where Michael ultimately finds hope, resilience and love, learning that “you can’t go back. There’s only moving forward”.’

 

The Swan Book, Alexis Wright.

Judges’ comments:
‘Set in the future in a post-climate-change apocalypse, The Swan Book is the story of a mute Aboriginal girl, Oblivion Ethyl(ene). Hauled from her burrow in the roots of a tree as a child, traumatised by rape, Oblivia is saved by the European émigré-crone, Bella Donna of the Champions. Driven from her own land by environmental catastrophe, Bella Donna fills Oblivia’s mind with epic legends of migratory swans, and soon the foetid swamp of their home begins to bristle with the arrival of thousands of black swans, drawn inexorably towards Oblivia. Then comes another emissary from distant lands: Warren Finch, soon to be Australia’s first Aboriginal president, come to claim Oblivia as his promised wife.

This wildly adventurous, operatic hallucination of a novel encompasses indigenous politics, climate change, European history, global migration, displacement and grief. It is a savage critique of contemporary government approaches to indigenous culture, achieved through its telescopic imagination, sly humour and soaring poetry. Sweeping through history, across continents and cultures – yet never losing touch with the grit of raw experience – The Swan Book is a work of thrilling ambition.’

 

You can view the full list of shortlisted titles here.

As a special offer, you can purchase all three shortlisted titles for the amazing price $60, including postage in Australia.

CBCA Shortlist – The Incredible Here and Now

TiHan cover for webWe are delighted that The Incredible Here and Now by Felicity Castagna has been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards in the Older Readers category.

Teacher resources and reading group notes can be found here.

To view all of the shortlisted titles, click here.

The Swan Book – Longlisted for the Miles Franklin, Shortlisted for the Stella

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The Swan Book continues to attract critical acclaim as it has been longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2014.

For the full list of longlisted titles, click here.

The Swan Book has also been shortlisted for the Stella Prize. The judges said:

A hundred years into the future, when climate change has irreparably damaged the earth, a refugee from the frozen northern hemisphere called Bella Donna finds a mute teenage girl she names Oblivia and takes her to live with her on an old derelict warship in a dry, polluted swamp in northern Australia. Three new figures appear: a black swan, an Aboriginal elder who looks like Mick Jagger, and an archangel in a white Commodore. These five creatures anchor Alexis Wright’s brilliantly surreal and inventive novel about imagination and the power of story. It’s a  treasure chest of stories, fables, songs, myths and poems, containing a wealth of cultural references from across the globe. The Swan Book is also a furious and impassioned political fable, linking the fate of Aboriginal Australia to the trajectory of unstoppable global warming and employing the fathomless complexity of the living Aboriginal relationship to country as a way of exploring humanity’s connection to the earth.

If Wright’s last novel Carpentaria – the winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award – was operatic in its scope and language, then The Swan Bookis even more so. Rich and deep in its imagery, fearless in its linguistic acrobatics and sweeping in its imaginative power, The Swan Book is at once a futuristic dystopia, a gorgeous artifact, and an urgent call to action.

For the full shortlist, click here.

To buy your copy, and find reading group notes and reviews, click here.

Liquid Nitrogen Wins Victorian Prize for Literature

maiden-coverWe’re delighted that Liquid Nitrogen by Jennifer Maiden was awarded the prize in the poetry category of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and also the overall prize, The Victorian Prize for Literature.

You can view the judges’ report here.

Read Gig Ryan’s in-depth review for the Sydney Review of Books here.

Jason Steger’s coverage of the prize for the Age can be found here.

Three Giramondo authors shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

We are delighted to have three authors on the shortlist this year for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Fiction

The Swan Book, Alexis Wright

The judges described The Swan Book as:

A work of metaphysical and metaphorical originality, Wright has created a world where communication flows between ghosts, animals and humans, but it’s also frighteningly realistic, holding a mirror to the nation, allowing fiction to speak a truth about Indigenous issues that many Australian find difficult to confront. For all its gravity, though, it is wickedly funny, mocking the ‘realms of public sector abstract dialogue’, and it deepens the reader’s understanding of this ancient continent.

Poetry

Autoethnographic, Michael Brennan

Of Autoethnographic the judges said:

Brennan’s poems skate over the narrator’s plural and imagined pasts in unpredictable tones, echoing and vital. As autoethnography itself places the personal in the wider politicised world, so Brennan creates an un-unified un-stabilised life rendered through many lives, a cubist portrait of self / selves in vivid excursions through a mythologised yet recognisably contemporary era.

Liquid Nitrogen, Jennifer Maiden

In their citation, the judges wrote:

This book is explorative, not didactic, and these long poetical essays are studded with interruptions, repetitions of motifs and characters, and tangential obsessions that create a distinct world and rhythm, where art and politics insistently coalesce in vibrant tableaux. A brilliantly fertile imagination creates poetry that interrogates and refines thought.

For the full citations and the complete shortlist, click here.

All Giramondo Shorts now $19.95

nonfict-shortsNow all the Giramondo Shorts titles are available for the excellent price of $19.95 including postage. For a full list of the Shorts titles, click here.

carman berryAs a Christmas offer, you pick up the two latest Shorts, Ninety 9 by Vanessa Berry and An Elegant Young Man by Luke Carman for the special price of $35 including postage.

Liquid Nitrogen Shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize

We are thrilled that Jennifer Maiden’s Liquid Nitrogen has been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize.

The full judge’s citation reads:

Jennifer Maiden’s Liquid Nitrogen may very well be the most contemporary collection of poetry you’ll ever read. Over the course of these dense, obsessive, and allegorical long poems, Maiden has created an absurdist theatre of global politics in which the spirits of public figures from across the last century share the stage with politicians, terrorists, dissidents and fictional creations from our continuous present. Combining a free-wheeling, meditative style with crisp, lucidly elegant lines, Maiden’s philosophical verse investigates the poetics of narrativity itself, not only as mediated by the news on TV, but by the no-less ethically charged realm of art as well. An extended meditation on the uses and abuses of power, the moral gravity of Liquid Nitrogen is buoyed throughout by Maiden’s self-effacing sense of humor and her tenderness towards her grown daughter, Katherine, who stands at the heart of this collection. Epic in its scope and utterly eccentric in its approach, Liquid Nitrogen is a work of rare passion and unprecedented poetic achievement from one of Australia’s most prominent living writers, ‘alert to the point of twitching,’ like the ox to whom she likens herself on page one, who nevertheless ‘still tramples through the difficult.’ Suzanne Buffam

The other shortlisted books are:

Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems Fady Joudah, translated from the Arabic, written by Ghassan Zaqtan

Night of the Republic, Alan Shapiro

Our Andromeda Brenda Shaughnessy

For full details, visit the Griffin Prize website here.

Gerald Murnane Special Offer – Inland

murnane_2Gerald Murnane is one of Australia’s most important living writers whose idiosyncratic and finely wrought fictions are capturing the attention of a new generation of readers.

Buy the newly republished Inland and receive two classic Murnane titles published by Giramondo for the special price of $60.

This discount of over 30% will get you Inland, Tamarisk Row and Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs and includes free postage.

Poetry Pick ‘n’ Mix

poetry pick mix updated To celebrate the excellent poetry titles we have published in the last twelve months we are offering any three of our five most recent poetry titles for the special price of $45 with free postage in Australia. This discount of over 40% is for a limited time only.

The titles offered for this special selection are:

Unbelievers or ‘The Moor’, John Mateer

Ephemeral Waters, Kate Middleton

New Works on Paper, Luke Beesley

Goad Omen, Corey Wakeling

Hotel Hyperion, Lisa Gorton

Please return to this page to place your order.

Please specify in the comments/special instructions field at the checkout which three titles you would like to purchase.

Fill Your Stockings with Shorts

nonfict-shortsFor the book lover in your life, we’re offering a special Christmas discount on our Shorts series. Pick up three fiction titles – Anguli Ma by Chi Vu, Street to Street by Brian Castro and Varamo by Cesar Aira – for $50 with free postage.

Or for the non-fiction fan, we’re offering Eliot Weinberger’s Wildlife, Evelyn Juers’ The Recluse and Michael Wilding’s Wild and Woolley for $50 with free postage.

Please select from the drop-down menu below whether you would like the fiction or non-fiction pack.

To view the full series, click here.

Gig Ryan wins the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry

Gig Ryan’s New and Selected Poems was awarded the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for poetry. The judges described the collection as ‘uncompromising, intelligent and sophisticated’. For the full citation, click here.

John Mateer’s Southern Barbarians was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Jess Huon’s The Dark Wet was shortlisted in the inaugural Underrated Book of the Year Award.

Fiona Wright has been awarded the Dame Mary Gilmore Award for Knuckled. The decision was a unanimous verdict on the excellence of this collection. You can read the judges’ citation here.

We’re delighted that Gerald Murnane’s A History of Books and John Mateer’s Southern Barbarians have been shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2012.

In more good news, we’re thrilled that Kate Fagan has been shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year Awards for her collection First Light.

Earlier in 2012 we had two poetry collections nominated for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2012. Gig Ryan’s New and Selected Poems and John Mateer’s Southern Barbarians. For more information and the full shortlist, click here.

Giramondo eBooks available now

 

Selected Giramondo titles are now available as eBooks, and can be purchased through (in alphabetical order):

AmazonBooki.shFishpond, iBooks, KoboEbooks.comEbrary, Netlibrary, Read How You WantOverdriveReadCloud

The digital editions offered are:

Brian Castro’s Street to Street

Alike Melike Ülgezer’s The Memory of Salt

Jess Huon’s The Dark Wet

Gerald Murnane’s Barley Patch and A History of Books

Evelyn Juers’ House of Exile

Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing

Sara Knox’s The Orphan Gunner

Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria

Mireille Juchau’s Burning In

Brian Castro’s The Garden Book

Nick Jose’s Original Face and

John Hughes’ The Idea of Home

We are developing our digital publishing program. If there are any titles you would like to read on your device, please email Alice, alicegATgiramondopublishingDOTcom.