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Kathleen Mitchell Literary Award
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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Established in 1996, the Kathleen Mitchell Award is an Australian literature prize for young authors. It is awarded only every second year.

The prize was established under the will of Kathleen Mitchell with the following aim: 'the advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian literature, to improve the educational style of the authors, and to provide them with additional amounts and thus enable them to improve their literary efforts'.

The prize is managed by The Trust Company, and is awarded to the novel of the highest literary merit published by an author under 30.

Source: Sighted: 26/11/2013.


2014 winner y separately published work icon Beneath the Darkening Sky Majok Tulba , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2012 Z1871105 2012 single work novel When the rebels come to Obinna's village, they do more than wreak terror for one night. Lining the children up in the middle of the village, they measure them against the height of an AK-47. Those who are shorter than the gun are left behind. Those who are taller are taken. Obinna and his older brother Akot find themselves the rebel army's newest recruits. But while Akot almost willingly surrenders to the training, Obinna resists, determined not to be warped by the revolution's slogans and violence. In the face of his vicious captain's determination to break him, Obinna finds help in a soldier called Priest, and in the power of his own dreams. Beneath the Darkening Sky describes a life unimaginably different from our own, but one that is the experience of tens of thousands of child soldiers. Uncompromising, vivid and raw, it is an astonishing portrait of a mind trying to make sense of a senseless world' (Publisher website).

Majok Tulba talks about and reads from his book here.
2012 winner y separately published work icon Berlin Syndrome Melanie Joosten , Carlton North : Scribe , 2011 Z1773756 2011 single work novel thriller '2006, Berlin. The once-divided city still holds its share of secrets.

'One afternoon, near the tourist trap of Checkpoint Charlie, Clare meets Andi. He's a native Berliner and English teacher; she's an architectural photographer who has taken leave from her job in Australia to travel through Eastern Europe. There is an instant attraction, and when Andi invites her to stay, Clare thinks she may finally have found somewhere to call home.

'But as the days pass and the walls of Andi's apartment close in, Clare begins to wonder if it's really love that Andi is after ... or something more sinister.' (From the publisher's website.)
2010 winner y separately published work icon The Boat Nam Le , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2008 Z1495449 2008 selected work short story (taught in 42 units)

'In the magnificent opening story, "Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice," a young writer is urged by his friends to mine his father's experiences in Vietnam - and what seems at first a satire on turning one's life into literary commerce becomes a transcendent exploration of homeland, and the ties between father and son. "Cartagena" provides a visceral glimpse of life in Colombia as it enters the mind of a fourteen-year-old hit man facing the ultimate test. In "Meeting Elise" an ageing New York painter mourns his body's decline as he prepares to meet his daughter on the eve of her Carnegie Hall debut. And with graceful symmetry, the final, title story returns to Vietnam, to a fishing trawler crowded with refugees where a young woman's bond with a mother and her small son forces both women to a shattering decision.' (From the author's website.)

2008 winner y separately published work icon Ten Things I Hate about Me Randa Abdel-Fattah , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2006 Z1311393 2006 single work novel young adult (taught in 5 units) There are a lot of things Jamie hates about her life: her dark hair, her dad's Stone Age Charter of Curfew Rights, her real name - Jamilah Towfeek. For the past three years Jamie has hidden her Lebanese background from everyone at school. It's only with her email friend John that she can really be herself. But now things are getting complicated: the most popular boy in school is interested in her, but there's no way he would be if he knew the truth. Then there's Timothy, the school loner, who for some reason Jamie just can't stop thinking about. As for John, he seems to have a pretty big secret of his own. (Source: Trove)
2006 winner y separately published work icon The Book Thief Markus Zusak , Sydney : Picador , 2005 Z1214315 2005 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 8 units)

'It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel's father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word - Kommunist - and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother's eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.'

[Source: Libraries Australia. Sighted 30/10/08]

2004 winner y separately published work icon The Showgirl and the Brumby Lucy Lehmann , Milsons Point : Random House , 2002 Z989283 2002 single work novel
2000 winner y separately published work icon The Hunter Julia Leigh , Ringwood : Penguin , 1999 Z129151 1999 single work novel (taught in 23 units) 'An unnamed man, M, arrives at a remote house on the fringe of a vast wilderness and soon disappears into a world of silence and stillness. His one mission: to find the last thylacine, the fabled Tasmanian tiger. She is said to have passed into myth but a sighting has been reported... Uncompromising and compelling, Julia Leigh's stunning first novel does not give up any of its secrets easily. The Hunter is a haunting tale of obsession that builds to an unforgettable conclusion.'
Source: Libraries Australia (Sighted 18/03/2011).
'While on his mission, the hunter lodges with a grief-ridden family of outcasts whose father has mysteriously vanished after sighting the Thylacine. The hunter succumbs more than he'd like to the family's scant charms and when tragedy strikes has to further purge his psyche to focus upon his elusive quarry. There is something tantalizing at large here as well as the mythical beast in this soul-stalking story about a group of doomed creatures whose unfortunate extinction is never really in doubt.' - Reviewed by Chris Packham, naturalist and broadcaster
Source: British Union Catalogue (Sighted 14/10/2011)
1998 winner y separately published work icon Wrack James Bradley , Milsons Point : Vintage , 1997 Z317165 1997 single work novel While searching for the wreck of a Portuguese ship which could rewrite the history of Australia, archaeologist David Norfolk stumbles upon a corpse buried fifty years before. Determined to understand its connection to the ship, David uncovers a story of obsession, secrets and sexual passion (Source: Publisher's description).
1996 winner y separately published work icon Sleeping Dogs Sonya Hartnett , Ringwood : Viking , 1995 Z238800 1995 single work novel young adult (taught in 8 units) The misanthropic, sadistic father of five children, ages 12 to 25, Griffin Willow runs a trailer park on his dilapidated farm in rural Australia. Isolated from all outside influences, even the neighboring small town, the Willow family has created its own oppressive, sheltered, and decaying world. Despite abuse from their father and a silent, withdrawn mother, all five children live at home and help run the trailer park. Twenty-three-year-old Michelle and her younger brother Jordan have found solace in an incestuous relationship, which they carefully conceal from their parents. When Bow Fox, an itinerant artist, comes to stay at the park, their 15-year-old brother, Oliver, accidently reveals their secret. So begins an agonizing, irreversible progression of violence and betrayal. (Source: Trove)