Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 23, 2014

2014 Kibble and Dobbie Awards winners announced

I do love it when a publicist sends me a handy press release that enables me to bring you book news in a timely fashion!  The following comes from Perpetual, who administer the Kibble and Dobbie Awards:

Kristina Olsson and Kate Richards have today been announced as winners of one of Australia’s most prestigious female literature awards programs, the 2014 Nita B Kibble Literary Awards (Kibble Awards).

Ms Olsson’s book Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir won the $30,000 Kibble Literary Award for an established author, while Kate Richards won the $5,000 Dobbie Literary Award for a first-time published author for her book Madness: a Memoir.

The announcement was made today by Perpetual, as trustee and manager of the awards, at the State Library of New South Wales. The Awards were set up by Nita Dobbie to honour the legacy of her aunt Nita B Kibble, the State Library’s first female librarian.

Perpetual’s General Manager of Philanthropy, Andrew Thomas, described Nita B Kibble as an important figure in the literary community and said her legacy highlights the critical role philanthropy plays in contributing to Australian culture.

“The Kibble Awards are a great example of the impact that philanthropy has on Australian women’s literature,” Mr Thomas said.

“In the 21 years since the trust behind the Awards was established with $400,000, it has awarded close to $500,000 to female writers. We congratulate Kristina and Kate on being the latest winners to benefit from the Awards.”

The Kibble Awards are open to Australian female writers who have published fiction or non-fiction classified as ‘life writing’. Since 1994, the Awards have recognised some of the country’s most celebrated female authors, including Annah Faulkner (The Beloved), Geraldine Brooks (Foreign Correspondence), and Helen Garner (True Stories).

Judge and Humanities Australia Editor, Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Webby AM, on behalf of the judging panel said: “Kristina Olsson’s Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir is an exceptional piece of life writing which recreates the fractured lives of her mother and half-brother with brilliant depth and truthfulness.

“Kate Richards’ book Madness: A Memoir recounts her struggles with mental illness in extraordinary language which is poetic in its intensity.”

Professor Webby was joined on the judging panel by State Library of New South Wales Research and Discovery Manager, Maggie Patton, and internationally published novelist, Dr Rosie Scott.

Perpetual also congratulates Debra Adelaide and Melissa Lucashenko, the shortlisted authors for the 2014 Kibble Literary Award, and Fiona McFarlane and Jill Stark, who were shortlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award.

For more information about the awards, please visit

Twitter: @Perpetual_Ltd and #KibbleAwards



  1. These books both sound great. Lisa, have you read or been tempted to read either of them?


    • Um… no, not really, I’m so busy with other books at the moment, I’m having to be very, very choosy. Next month for my Great Books Masterclass *gulp* I have to read Wittgenstein!


      • I’d be gulping too. Sounds far too intellectual to me :)


  2. I’ve been tempted by both, but haven’t managed either yet either!


  3. I met Kristina Olsson some years ago at the Qld Writers Festival where she signed a copy of her beautiful book ‘The China Garden’ and spoke graciously and encouragingly about the craft of writing. Interestingly, my family has a similar story to that which Kristina tells in ‘Boy, Lost’. Sometimes it is the personal that draws us to particular writers and I’m thrilled with her win. It will be interesting to check out Kate Richards’ debut too.


    • I was impressed by The China Garden, it won the Barbara Jefferis Award, I think….


      • Yes she did. I remember sending her a congrats email.


        • Could you do me a favour with that email address? Could you email her with mine, and ask her to get in touch? I’d love to feature her on Meet an Aussie Author if she has time…


  4. What good news. They’re both very worthy winners.


  5. What great news! I have just finished Madness: a Memoir and was going to blog about it today by coincidence. It is exceptional in every way – brilliant. I don’t give many books five stars but it fits into that category. Literary fiction although memoir. A book not to be missed. I admire the judges for picking it out.


  6. I’m thrilled by these results. I was going to blog on Madness: A Memoir today by coincidence. It is an exceptional book. I only give a couple of books a year a 5 star rating but it fits easily into that category. Works as literary fiction and gives real insight into a life that flits in and out of severe mental illness and psychosis. Would be good to read in parallel with Janet Frame as they both have that talent for translating harrowing situations with real empathy.


    • It will be good to see your review: can you let me have the URL when you’ve done it please, and I’ll link to it from here?


  7. I did get around to reading Madness: A Memoir and agree wholeheartedly with Kirsten. It is a fantastic read – she doesn’t hold back on how mental illness governs her life for so many years. Also a five star read for me. I hope you do get around to reading it Lisa.


    • It’s just a coincidence, but today on my other blog I reviewed a book by Elizabeth Henshaw and referenced her novel about a boy whose father suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and they are on the run from his imagined enemies. It won the CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers a few years back, but I don’t think it’s a book for children at all, it’s a very harrowing read that shows how mental illness governs the lives of others too. It’s an excellent YA novel, though, IMO tackling that topic from the angle of the hapless child is rather brave.


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