The Prime Minister's Literary Awards recognise literary excellence in fiction and non-fiction Australian writing. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the books chosen by the judging panel are an impressive indication of the outstanding breadth and quality of modern Australian literature. Both winners receive a prize of $100,000 each. The winners are:
Non-fiction: Ochre and Rust by Philip Jones which takes Aboriginal artefacts from their museum shelves and traces their stories, revealing charged and nuanced moments of encounter in Australia's frontier history. Philip Jones positions them at the centre of these gripping, poignant tales, transporting the reader into the heart of Australia's frontier zone. Ochre and Rust builds incrementally, resulting in a convincing new insight into our frontier past and the motives of its characters (Wakefield Press).
Fiction: The Zookeepers' War by Steven Conte is a story of passion and sacrifice in a city battered by war. It is 1943 and each night in a bomb shelter beneath the Berlin Zoo an Australian woman, Vera, shelters with her German husband, Axel, the zoo's director. As tensions mount in the closing days of the war, nothing, and no one, it seems, can be trusted. The Zookeeper's War is a powerful novel of a marriage, and of a city collapsing. It confronts not only the brutality of war but the possibility of heroism (Fourth Estate). For more details on the awards go to: http://www.arts.gov.au/books/pmliteraryawards