Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 29, 2010

David Malouf wins the ALS Gold Medal

Source: Wikipedia Commons

I am indebted to my good friend Sue at Whispering Gums for the news that one of Australia’s favourite authors, David Malouf, has won the ALS (Australian Literature Society) Gold Medal for Ransom, his brilliant retelling of an episode from Homer’s Iliad.

I’m responding here to Sue’s concern that there hasn’t been enough publicity about this (because it’s not a money prize, it’s an honour), just in case there are some of my readers who don’t also read Sue’s blog.  (If you don’t, you should, because Sue not only writes terrific reviews of  OzLit classic and modern, she also does occasional analyses of an author’s entire oeuvre – essential reading for lovers of Australian literature.  Go here to subscribe).

David Malouf is a writer of exceptional grace and talent.  On this blog I have reviewed his recent masterpiece, Ransom (see here); (a little treasure called On Experience (see here) and his classic Fly Away Peter (see here).  But there is not a book in his oeuvre that is not brilliant, and his short stories are wonderful too.

I have read nearly all of his novels, over many years.   If you are an overseas reader of this blog, you could do no better than to read these novels to discover the heart and soul of our country.   (Harland’s Half Acre is on my TBR, but I don’t yet have a copy of Child’s Play or Untold Tales). 

  • Johnno (1975)
  • An Imaginary Life (1978)
  • Fly Away Peter (1982)
  • Child’s Play (1982)
  • Harland’s Half Acre (1984), update:  see my review and a Sensational Snippet here
  • The Great World (1990)
  • Remembering Babylon (1993)
  • The Conversations At Curlow Creek (1996)
  • Untold Tales (1999)
  • Ransom (2009)

Also don’t miss his Complete Stories.

Wikipedia reminds me that Malouf’s awards include

  • the 2000 Neustadt International Prize for Literature;
  • the 1996 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award  and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (South East Asia and South Pacific Region) and a Booker shortlisting for Remembering Babylon;
  • the 2008 inaugural (but now sadly defunct)  Australia-Asia Literary Award;
  • the 1990 Commonwealth Writers Prize,  the French Prix Femina Étranger and the 1991 Miles Franklin for The Great World
  • the 1982 Age Book of the Year for Fly Away Peter
  • and numerous Premier’s Writing prizes and Miles Franklin shortlistings.

I was also very pleased to see that Jill Roe won the Megarey Medal for  Stella Miles Franklin: A Biography, because I think Roe (along with Brenda Niall) is one of Australia’s finest biographers:  informative, immensely readable and master of captivating subject matter.  See my review.


  1. I thought you’d like the Jill Roe win (and of course Malouf’s)!


    • I really think that bio of Miles Franklin is an exemplary biography. I would have been very disappointed if I hadn’t liked it, because I’m such a fan of MF and all she stood for, but really Roe’s book exceeded any expectations I had. I must read the one I have of PL Travers, now that Mary Poppins is in town!


  2. […] ANL LitLovers LitBlog and Whispering Gums have the scoop on award news from Down Under (another must read author whom I have not yet read….). […]


  3. well I’m indebted to you for introducing me to David Malouf. I loved Ransom and have a pile of others in the tbr pile- thank you again


  4. That’s wonderful, Cheryl! Which ones did you buy?


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