Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 16, 2017

Tony Birch wins 2017 Patrick White Award

This year’s Patrick White Award is a milestone in the award’s history: it’s the first time the award has gone to an Indigenous author and Patrick White, would have been delighted.  I heard the news today on Radio National’s Books and Arts program with Michael Cathcart, and in the interview the winner Tony Birch reminded us that apart from being a Nobel Prize winner, White used his profile and moral authority to champion a great many environmental and social causes, including Indigenous issues.

The PW award is for authors who’ve made a contribution to Australian literature but haven’t always had the recognition they deserve.  If you want to get to know Tony Birch, you can visit his Meet an Aussie Author page, and you can read reviews of his novels Blood and (my favourite) Ghost River.  

And the good news is that there is another novel on the way:)  In the interview at RN Tony says he’s going to start it on January 1st, and it will be handed over to his publisher in December!



  1. Great news! Thanks for sharing Lisa. I loved Tony’s novel Blood, if “loved” is the correct word here. More it was hugely impressive, concerned primarily with the most vulnerable members of our society – children.

    • Yes, it was an impressive debut (though he’d published short stories before that.)

  2. Love his work – well deserved

    • The PW awards people always get it right, IMO…

  3. The Age have the story now, $20,000. Says he’s going to take his family to his daughter’s wedding in Italy. Good on him.

    • Yes, good on him… *sigh* Italy, that’s a lovely way to spend it.

  4. Thanks Lisa, I hadn’t heard of this author, so I’ll check out his books.

    • That show you the value of the award, yeah!!

  5. Hi Lisa, yes it is great news. A worthy winner. A realistic writer with and understanding of his characters and environment.

  6. Oops, is it the 2018 award! I’ve written 2017. That’s what you get for listening to the radio while driving! I enjoyed Cathcart’s program too. It’s great seeing Birch win the award.

    • No, you’re right, it’s 2017, #Seniors Moment!
      (I swear, my new keyboard is out to get me, I keep typing wrong keys with this one!)

      • Well sometimes they do funny things with naming awards so I wasn’t sure. After seeing yours I went hunting and nothing seemed definitive. However I’m happy to blame keyboards. I nearly ended up recently with Another Iraqi instead of Anosh Irani!

        • Yes, they do sometimes, but not this time. (The PM’s awards are always very confusing because they so often run late, and then there are awards that only happen every 2nd year, they confuse me too).
          But this keyboard is very sensitive: I just typed ‘niot’ instead of ‘not’ and ‘omstead’ instead of ‘instead’ – and really my fingers are not so fat that I hit two keys at once! But of course spell check doesn’t pick up a wrong number so I didn’t notice it.

          • Oh dear, that PM’s prize. At least the judges have been advised now but there’s still no timing for this year even though applications closed back in March was it?

            As for keyboards. They are laws unto themselves!

            • LOL Given the constant #RevolvingDoor rumours about dumping the PM as soon as they can come up with someone else #NotAbbot #NotDutton #NotBishop and #NotSomeoneWHoMightNotBeACitizen, my guess is that the humble minions trying to sort it, are just hanging on for grim death.

              • Yes, I suspect so. They need to hand it to someone – NLA? – to manage, the way some other awards are.

Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: