World News – AU – Prime Minister’s Literature Awards: Tara June Winch wins record year for indigenous labor


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Winch is the first indigenous writer to win Australia’s two most important writing awards for her novel The Yield

that same year

Tara June Winch is the first indigenous Australian to win both of Australia’s major writing awards in a year. On Thursday she got the « Fiction » category worth 80. Won $ 000 for the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literature Prize after turning 60 in July. Won $ 000 for Franklin.

This year’s awards announced on Thursday included a record for indigenous writers and writers of color, with the Gay’wu Group of Women winning the non-fiction category for songspirals. the Darug duo of Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson won in the children’s category for Cooee Mittigar; and Omar Sakr became the first Arab-Australian Muslim poet to be shortlisted – and then won – in the poetry category for his book The Lost Arabs.

I didn’t sleep last night. I’ll find out within 24 hours if I’ve got a rate of £ 80. 000 US dollars, the largest poetry award in the country. They don’t let the winner know in advance so there’s a real chance I won. I feel sick. It’s the difference between being able to own a house and not being able to own it.

Of the 40 authors selected, nine came from indigenous countries. « In a year like no other, the diverse contribution of local writers has never been more important to each of us, » Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement Thursday. Morrison did not appear at the ceremony but spoke over a taped video link. The prizes were presented by the Minister of Art, Paul Fletcher.

Winch’s best-selling novel, The Yield, took a decade to write. It tells the story of August Goondiwindi, who returns to her homeland of Massacre Plains for her grandfather’s funeral, only to find it is about to be demolished by a mining company – and that her grandfather wrote a dictionary of the Wiradjuri language that could prove this Indigenous community right to their own land.

Selected as one of the Guardian’s must-see books of 2019, the book blends narrative voices and historical fiction with a dictionary of Wiradjuri words that Winch learned with the help of the elders. « There’s no elevator seat for the book, » she told the Guardian from her home in Paris after she won the Miles Franklin. « It’s about language in the heart. It’s about decolonizing the tongue. ”

In their comments, the judges for the Prime Minister’s Literature Prize wrote: “Never didactically bring to life the story of a broken family and their struggle to preserve their culture, language and country, carefully and lovingly… A poetry As a generous writer Winch’s prose shimmers through this extraordinary story of cruelty, confusion, love and resilience. ”

The live stream was canceled halfway through the event and cut off the acceptance speeches from Winch or Sakr from the show.

Sorry, the live stream was canceled at the #PMLitAwards. We’re working to fix it and bring you the rest of the awards.

The non-fiction category was shared by two books: Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia by Christina Thompson, on the history of the Polynesians and their migration; and Songspirals: Sharing the country’s women’s wisdom through songlines from Gay’wu Group of Women.

Songspirals was the result of decades of collaboration between five Yolngu women and three non-Aboriginal women. In it they share – in both Yolngu language and English – five “song spirals”: ​​old landscape tales that are sung to “awaken the land and create and recreate the life-giving connections between people and place”, while simultaneously Yolngu’s knowledge and culture facilitate the transition across generations.

The judges praised Songspirals as « an important contribution to our understanding of contemporary indigenous culture » that will « certainly serve as a model for future [collaborative] projects » between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

The theme of indigenous language and cultural exchange has been included in the children’s category, won by writer Jasmine Seymour and illustrator Leanne Mulgo Watson for their picture book Cooee Mittigar: A Story About Darug Songlines.

The book – which describes itself as « an invitation to ‘yana’ (stroll) in Darug land » – introduces readers to Darug and includes ‘nura’ (land), language and seasons, like The Yield Glossary Helps young readers learn a new language while reading.

The judges called Cooee Mittigar “moving, informative, haunting, inviting, and potentially healing . . . a love song about the natural beauty of Australia and the proud traditions of its indigenous people « .

The Australian history category was won by Tiffany Shellam for Meeting the Waylo: Aboriginal Encounters in the Archipelago. The book tells the story of three indigenous men who died in the mid-19th. Century mediator between Phillip Parker King’s expedition to the northwest coast of Australia and the Waylo living there.

The book resulted from a careful and critical reading of historical texts, which Shellam “does not want to take at face value”, according to the judges. “She looks beyond the Eurocentric cultural assumptions underlying them to get a more subtle understanding of the cultures of both the mediators and the Waylo. ”

Omar Sakr won the poetry category for the Lost Arabs, which was described as a collection of “vital, energy-driven poems” that “speak with a clear and fearless voice, a voice that is often passionate and sometimes angry but always clear and warmly human.

« Some [the poems] are based on anger, others on compassion and gentleness, but all recognize the complexity of their subject and many of them are works of great subtlety and beauty. ”

How it feels to float by Helena Fox won in the young adult category. The protagonist of Fox’s debut novel is Biz, who lives with grief and depression that she tries to overcome by pretending that she is not there. The judges called it “a beautifully written, poetic, and heartbreaking display of grief, trauma, guilt, and mental illness . . . While confrontational and sometimes difficult to read, it is ultimately a book about hope, resilience, and survival. ”

« Your work helps define who we are as Australians and articulate what so many of us are feeling but often struggle to put into words, » Morrison said via videolink. “This has been a very difficult year for most of us. A book . . . was a welcome retreat to escape to another world. ”

Prime Minister’s Literature Awards, Literature, Tara June Winch, Miles Franklin Award

World News – AU – Prime Minister’s Literature Awards: Tara June Winch wins record year for indigenous labor


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