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Tasmania Book Prize
Subcategory of Tasmania Book Prizes
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For the best book with Tasmanian content in any genre.


  • The Tasmania Book Prize was inaugurated in 2005 and is offered bi-ennially in conjunction with Tasmania's Ten Days on the Island festival. The Prize 'celebrates work published in the last two years' with no restriction on genre or place of publication. Source: Ten Days on the Island website, Sighted: 26/03/2007

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Bridget Crack Rachel Leary , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2017 11540812 2017 single work novel historical fiction

'Van Diemen's Land, 1827. When Bridget Crack arrives in the colony, she has never seen such a place as Hobart Town. A spirited girl, she finds the life of an indentured domestic servant intolerable. But when she is punished for her insubordination, she realises there are far worse places to be. Sent to the 'Interior' and a brutally hard life with a cruel master, she escapes only to find herself imprisoned by the impenetrable Tasmanian wilderness. There she is saved from certain death by Matt Sheedy, a man on the run. But her precarious existence among volatile and murderous bushrangers is a different kind of hell. Surrounded by roaring rivers and towering columns of rock, hunted by soldiers and at the mercy of killers, Bridget finds herself in an impossible situation. In the face of terrible darkness, what will she have to do to survive?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2017

winner y separately published work icon Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity Rebe Taylor , Melbourne : Melbourne University Press , 2017 10715274 2017 single work biography

'In 1908 English gentleman, Ernest Westlake, packed a tent, a bicycle and forty tins of food and sailed to Tasmania. On mountains, beaches and in sheep paddocks he collected over 13,000 Aboriginal stone tools. Westlake believed he had found the remnants of an extinct race whose culture was akin to the most ancient Stone Age Europeans. But in the remotest corners of the island Westlake encountered living Indigenous communities. Into the Heart of Tasmania tells a story of discovery and realisation. One man's ambition to rewrite the history of human culture inspires an exploration of the controversy stirred by Tasmanian Aboriginal history. It brings to life how Australian and British national identities have been fashioned by shame and triumph over the supposed destruction of an entire race. To reveal the beating heart of Aboriginal Tasmania is to be confronted with a history that has never ended.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2013

winner (People's Choice Award) y separately published work icon Last Days of the Mill P. R. Hay , Hobart : Forty Degrees South , 2012 Z1918801 2012 selected work poetry art work biography 'For seven decades 'The Pulp' constructed the social, economic and environmental circumstances of life on the North-West Coast. In 2011, on the last day of its operation, artist Tony Thorne went on site armed with sketchpad and camera. And writer Pete Hay came to Burnie armed with notepad and recorder, to talk to displaced mill workers. The result is this extraordinary collaboration of dramatic monologues in the vernacular voice of the mill floor and artworks of stark, confronting beauty that vividly capture the dying days of an industrial colossus.' (Publisher's blog.)

Year: 2011

winner y separately published work icon Wanting Richard Flanagan , North Sydney : Knopf Australia , 2008 Z1534034 2008 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 5 units)

'It is 1839. A young Aboriginal girl, Mathinna, is running through the long wet grass of an island at the end of the world to get help for her dying father, an Aboriginal chieftain. Twenty years later, on an island at the centre of the world, the most famous novelist of the day, Charles Dickens, realises he is about to abandon his wife, risk his name, and forever after be altered because of his inability any longer to control his intense passion.

'Connecting the two events are the most celebrated explorer of the age, Sir John Franklin - then governor of Van Diemen's Land - and his wife, Lady Jane, who adopt Mathinna, seen as one of the last of a dying race, as an experiment. Lady Jane believes the distance between savagery and civilisation is the learned capacity to control wanting. The experiment fails, the Franklins throw the child onto the streets and into a life of prostitution and alcoholism. A few years later Mathinna is found dead in a puddle. She is nineteen years old. By then Sir John too is dead, lost in the blue ice of the Arctic seeking the North West Passage. A decade later evidence emerges that in its final agony, Franklin's expedition resorted to the level and practice of savages: cannibalism. Lady Jane enlists Dickens's aid to put an end to such scandalous suggestions.

'Dickens becomes ever more entranced in the story of men entombed in ice, recognising in its terrible image his own frozen inner life. He produces and stars in a play inspired by Franklin's fate to give story to his central belief: that discipline and will can conquer desire. And yet the play will bring him to the point where he is finally no longer able to control his own wanting and the consequences it brings.

'Based on historic events, Wanting is a novel about art, love, and the way in which life is finally determined never by reason, but only ever by wanting.' (Provided by publisher.)

Year: 2007

winner y separately published work icon In Tasmania Nicholas Shakespeare , London : Harvill Press , 2004 Z1156480 2004 single work prose Shakespeare weaves his personal history and that of his forebears with the history of Tasmania from the time of European settlement onwards.

Works About this Award

Gunns Tale Wins State Book Prize 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Mercury , 3 December 2015; (p. 4)
Writing Pals Battle for Prizes Jennifer Crawley , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Mercury , 2 December 2015; (p. 14)