Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 15, 2015

2015 Kibble and Dobbie Winners

Just a quick post to share the news about the winners of the 2015 Kibble and Dobbie Awards.  What follows is the press release, courtesy of Perpetual who administer the awards.

Joan London and Ellen van Neerven announced as winners of 2015 Kibble Awards 15 July 2015

As trustee of the Nita B Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers (the Kibble Awards), Perpetual today announced Joan London and Ellen van Neerven as the 2015 winners of the Kibble and Dobbie Awards.   Ms London won the $30,000 Kibble Literary Award for established authors for her book The Golden Age, while Ms van Neervan won the $5,000 Dobbie Literary Award for a first-time published author for Heat and Light.

The Kibble Awards were established by Nita Dobbie in honour of her pioneering aunt, Nita Kibble – the first female librarian of the State Library of New South Wales.   The Awards recognise Australian female writers who have published fiction or non-fiction classified as ‘life writing’. This includes novels, autobiographies, biographies, literature and any writing with a strong personal element.

Humanities Australia Editor, Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Webby AM, on behalf of the judging panel said: “In her beautifully measured and tender novel The Golden Age, Joan London vividly imagines the lives of young victims in a real children’s polio convalescent home. In spite of the grimness of its subject matter, this is a novel luminescent with joy, sensuality and wisdom. Written in flawless, clear-eyed prose, this book is sure to become a classic.”

“In a style mystical, sensual and realistic all at once, Ellen van Neerven’s remarkable debut collection of stories is startlingly original. She combines down to earth dialogue, descriptions of country and the dailiness of people’s lives with passages of lyrical intensity, which effortlessly convey both the mystical dimension of country as well as its undertones of violence.”

Professor Webby was joined on the judging panel by State Library of New South Wales Coordinator- Education and Scholarship, Dr Rachel Franks, and internationally renowned novelist, Dr Rosie Scott.   Perpetual’s National Manager of Philanthropy, Caitriona Fay, described the Kibble Awards as an excellent example of the impact philanthropy can have in contributing to Australian culture.   “As trustee of the Kibble Awards, we are proud to support and promote Australia’s established and emerging female writers and we congratulate Joan and Ellen on their outstanding achievements.”   Ms Fay also congratulated Helen Garner and Sophie Cunningham, the shortlisted authors for the 2015 Kibble Literary Award, and Emily Bitto and Christine Piper, who were shortlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award.   For more information about the awards, please visit

The nominations for the $30,000 Kibble prize for an established woman author were:

The nominations for the $5000 Dobbie prize for a first-time published author were:

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees and to their editors and publishers!


  1. Oh thanks Lisa … I had the wrong date in my head for these. Lovely to see Ellen van Neerven win for her work. And Joan London too, though I haven’t read it yet. (My bad, I know!)


    • And my bad that I haven’t got to Heat and Light yet! It’s just impossible to keep up, isn’t it?


      • Absolutely. You do a better job than I. No way I could read for 6 hours straight at night, like you can. I fall asleep, these days, no matter how good the book!


  2. Six hours straight! Is that how you do it? Like Sue, I’m off in the land of nod within an hour!


    • The book was great, but that wasn’t what kept me awake. I really should know better, I had *two* long macchiatos (macchaiti?) when I was out with a friend at lunchtime yesterday and one is enough to keep me awake for most of the night, two was fatal. I really shouldn’t drink coffee at all because the caffeine affects me so badly, but – hey, how can you live in Melbourne and not have coffee sometimes?!
      PS I’ve now been awake for 32 hours straight, since 9.00 am yesterday morning. It’s insanity…


      • Haha that explains it. I can tolerate coffee. I often have one at 7pm (we blend half decaf half regular beans at home) and I can sleep. Or, it doesn’t seem to affect me whether I have coffee or not. Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I don’t.


        • There are some people who are hypersensitive to caffeine, and alas I am one of them….


  3. I read Heat and Light earlier in the year and really enjoyed it.
    I’m delighted that Ellen won this prize – her stories are quite extraordinary and this is one of the few books from this year that has stayed with me as fresh as when I read first read it.


  4. I am very pleased to read that both Joan London and Ellen van Neerven won their respective awards. Both books were great reads, and Heat and Light was a very different and interesting read. Yesterday, I went to my library and was excited to see Go Get a Watchman by Harper Lee on display, and available for loan. It was with a group books that have a limited loan period of one week. I rushed home and read it. Fortunately I was able to eat lunch and dinner to keep my energy up. Scout is now Jean Louise and it was only the last 100 pages that made it a good read.


    • LOL I’m delighted to hear that you were underwhelmed by GSAW: I am really cross about the way the Australian book media has slavishly promoted this book, giving it oceans of publicity that Australian authors and publishers would kill for – and for what? I haven’t been able to avoid some commentary and all I’ve seen so far is that Harper Lee’s editor was right to make her rewrite it.


      • I share your annoyance at the promotion of GSAW – read in the paper today that it has sold some phenomenal number and have read the same sort of commentary that you have, suggesting that it should have stayed in the bottom drawer. But this is a market, and whatever works in the market works. Should we be any more annoyed at this than at the sales of ’50 Shades of Grey” or ‘The Da Vinci Code’?


        • LOL I am utterly consistent: I’m *always* annoyed when the Australian media get on the bandwagon about second-rate overseas products at the expense of better quality Australian ones.


          • Oh look, you might as well get annoyed at crappy commercial media or crappy political coverage. Lowest common denominator rules, especially if it’s profitable, and we need just to be zen about it if we don’t want to turn into crazy old ladies talking to ourselves.


            • Fortunately I don’t see much of that…I never watch commercial TV except for Masterchef!


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