Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 7, 2011

2011 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

That Deadman DanceI was very lucky to be a guest of the Wheeler Centre at the 2011 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards tonight, so I was there in person to see Kim Scott take out both the Award for Fiction and the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature at the awards ceremony.  That Deadman Dance is a once-in-a-decade kind of book and it is no wonder that it is taking out awards across the country.  I loved it from the moment I started turning the pages.  Please do click through to this Sensational Snippet from the book, read my review if you haven’t already done so, and get yourself a copy of That Deadman Dance as soon as you can.

The other prize winners were:

The Three Loves of PersimmonYoung Adult category:

The Three Loves of Persimmon
by Cassandra Golds
Penguin  (What a gorgeous cover!)

Drama: Do Not Go Gentle by Patricia Cornelius (Fortyfive Downstairs)

The World BeneathThe Taste of River WaterPoetry:

The Taste of River Water
by Cate Kennedy

(After the ceremony I had the very great pleasure of meeting Cate and chatting with her about her forthcoming book.   Cate is the author of one of my all-time favourite books, The World Beneath (see my review here) so it’s great to hear that we don’t have long to wait for her new one!)

An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning ClarkNon Fiction
An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark
by Mark McKenna
Melbourne University Publishing

Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania's ForestsFinally, the People’s Choice Award went to Anna Krien for Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests


  1. I m so looking forward to this coming out in the uk Lisa ,great to go to the awards ,and meet him ,I hope it is as well recieved in the uk as it was in uk ,all the best stu


  2. Sounds like a fun night!

    Now that I own it, I really need to make time to read That Deadman’s Dance.


    • I’d like to see your review too!


  3. Some great winners Lisa … and it must have been a fun night. I’d like to read more Kennedy … have only so far read one short story.


    • Sue, I think her new book will interest you too. She said it was similar in structure to Olive Ketteridge, a set of stories linked together. Which made me want to drop everything and read Olive, but I’m going to have it put it off a little bit, I want to re-read Julius Caesar before we go to see the Bell Shakespeare Co on Friday night….


  4. “That Deadman Dance is a once-in-a-decade kind of book”. Coming from you, that’s all I need to hear to reserve a copy for February (its US release date). Your review from earlier in the year was excellent also. Thanks to you, I look forward to reading this gem.


    • Thanks, Kerry…I wonder…are there any American Indians writing an indigenous literature in the US?


  5. I do not think the tradition is as strong or, possibly, only not as mainstream as it has literature from the descendants of indigenous people has become in Australia. I knew of Sherman Alexie (PEN/Faulkner Award and National Book Award). N. Scott Momaday (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969 for House Made of Dawn) is another prominent Native American/American Indian author.

    There is probably a larger community of American Indian writers than I realize, but, to the extent a vibrant, American Indian writing community exists, it seems only to break into the mainstream occasionally. While I am not entirely comfortable with notions of who can/should write about various topics, I do believe voices from disparate and unfamiliar (to the mainstream) cultures can enrich our understanding of the human experience no matter the subject they address.

    I think this is my kick to actually read something by Alexie and Momaday and then be alert to literary novels by various American sub-cultures. Thanks.


    • Well, Kerry, I could be wrong because I only know about the indigenous writing that’s broken into the mainstream too, but even so, I’d hesitate to say that it was a strong tradition here yet. For a multiplicity of reasons, mostly to our collective shame, there hasn’t been much support or encouragement of Aboriginal writing until fairly recently. Now there are some awards (e.g. the David Unaipon Award) and two indigenous writers have won our most prestigious prize (i.e. Kim Scott and Alexis Wright) so hopefully these role models will encourage other authors to have-a-go, and other publishers to support them.


      • It sounds like the situation is not much different. There is an award for Native American literature, but its advent was fairly recent (1992, I think) and only the two authors I have mentioned seem to have gained significant recognition (awards). The underlying reasons for the dearth of Native American/Aborinal writing seem to be similar in our respective countries.


        • Ah well, we shall do our little bit to shine a light on what we know of it, eh?


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