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Winners

2011 winner y separately published work icon That Deadman Dance Kim Scott , New York (City) : Bloomsbury , 2010 Z1728528 2010 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 43 units)

Big-hearted, moving and richly rewarding, That Deadman Dance is set in the first decades of the 19th century in the area around what is now Albany, Western Australia. In playful, musical prose, the book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers.

'The novel's hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy. Clever, resourceful and eager to please, Bobby befriends the new arrivals, joining them hunting whales, tilling the land, exploring the hinterland and establishing the fledgling colony. He is even welcomed into a prosperous local white family where he falls for the daughter, Christine, a beautiful young woman who sees no harm in a liaison with a native.

'But slowly - by design and by accident - things begin to change. Not everyone is happy with how the colony is developing. Stock mysteriously start to disappear; crops are destroyed; there are "accidents" and injuries on both sides. As the Europeans impose ever stricter rules and regulations in order to keep the peace, Bobby's Elders decide they must respond in kind. A friend to everyone, Bobby is forced to take sides: he must choose between the old world and the new, his ancestors and his new friends. Inexorably, he is drawn into a series of events that will forever change not just the colony but the future of Australia...' (From the publisher's website.)

2009 winner y separately published work icon The Slap Christos Tsiolkas , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2008 Z1739894 2008 single work novel (taught in 40 units)

'At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

'This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

'In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.

'What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity - all the passions and conflicting beliefs - that family can arouse. In its clear-eyed and forensic dissection of the ever-growing middle class and its aspirations and fears, The Slap is also a poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.' (Publisher's blurb)

2008 winner y separately published work icon The Time We Have Taken Steven Carroll , Pymble : Fourth Estate , 2007 Z1344340 2007 single work novel (taught in 3 units)

'One suburban morning in Summer 1970, Peter van Rijn, proprietor of the television and wireless shop, realises that his suburb is 100 years old. He contacts the Mayor, who assembles a Committee, and celebrations are eagerly planned. That same morning, just a few streets way, Rita is awakened by a dream of her husband's snores. It is years since Vic moved north, and left their house of empty silences, yet his life remains bound up with hers. Their son, too, has moved on - Michael is at university, exploring new ideas and the heady world of grown-up love. Yet Rita still stubbornly stays in the old street, unable to imagine leaving the house she has tended so lovingly for so long. Instead she has taken on the care of another house as well - that of the widowed Mrs Webster, owner of the suburb's landmark factory, now in decline. As these lives entwine, and the Committee commissions its centenary mural and prepares to commemorate Progress, History - in the shape of the new, post-war generation represented by Michael and his friends - is heading straight for them...'

(Source: Publisher's blurb)

2006 winner y separately published work icon The Secret River Kate Grenville , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2005 Z1194031 2005 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 69 units)

'In 1806 William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand.

'But the colony can turn a convict into a free man. Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim a hundred acres for himself.

'Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals - Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs Herring - are finding their own ways to respond to them.

'Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, soon has to make the most difficult choice of his life.

'Inspired by research into her own family history, Kate Grenville vividly creates the reality of settler life, its longings, dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is a brilliantly written book, a groundbreaking story about identity, belonging and ownership.' (From the publisher's website.)

2000 winner y separately published work icon Too Many Men Lily Brett , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 1999 Z330394 1999 single work novel 'Ruth Rothwax, a successful, independent, New York woman with her own business, Rothwax Correspondence, can find order and meaning in the words she writes for other people - condolence letters, thank-you letters, even you-were-great-in-bed letters. But as the devoted daughter of Edek Rothwax, an Auschwitz survivor with a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to the English language, Ruth can find no words to help her understand the loss her family experienced during World War II. Ruth is obsessed with the idea of returning to Poland with her father, Edek, but she doesn't quite understand why she feels this so intensely. To make sense of her family's past - and the way her parents' lives were suddenly torn apart by the Nazis - yes. To visit the places where her beloved mother and father lived and almost died, certainly. But there's more to this trip than Ruth's extraordinary perceptiveness can identify. By facing Poland and the past, she can confront her own future.' (Publisher's blurb)
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