Renowned Australian writer Frank Moorhouse has won the coveted $25,000 Premier’s Award at the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature for Cold Light, the third in his award-winning trilogy about Edith Campbell Berry’s entry into the world of diplomacy in the 1920s.
This award is ‘best of the best’ presented every two years on behalf of the South Australian Premier.
Mr Moorhouse also won the $15,000 Fiction award for Cold Light, the finale in the author’s ‘Edith novels’ Grand Days and Dark Palace. Cold Light traces the main character Edith’s return to Australia after the demise of the League of Nations and the discovery of her husband’s unconventional sexuality. She settles in Canberra and while aspiring to become Australia’s first female ambassador, becomes caught up in the planning of the national capital.
During the 20 years it took Mr Moorhouse to write the Edith trilogy, he lived abroad, researching his novels in Canberra, Geneva, France, Washington DC, the Middle East and in the UK. Cold Light was shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award. The second novel in the series, Dark Palace, won the Miles Franklin award in 2001 and the first book Grand Days won the Fiction Award at the 1994 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature.
Ten authors across the country shared in the $167,500 prize purse and the prestige attached to the Adelaide-based celebration of Australian literature. The winners were announced today in a presentation at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden for Adelaide Writers’ Week which is held as part of the Adelaide Festival.
Introduced by the South Australian Government in 1986, the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature are managed by Arts SA, and offer five national awards and two awards and three fellowships specifically for South Australian writers. The Premier’s Award is selected from the winners of all the national categories.
South Australian author Vikki Wakefield won the Young Adult Fiction award for Friday Brown. It’s the second consecutive win for Ms Wakefield, who won in 2012 with her debut novel All I Ever Wanted.
New this year was the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fellowship for South Australian writers. The $15,000 Tangkanungku Pintyanthi Fellowship, which translates from the Kaurna language to ‘writing from the heart’, was won by Ali Cobby Eckermann for Hopes Crossing.
The Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award, named in honour of the late Ms Blewett’s contribution to theatre, was increased this year to $12,500 from $10,000. This award supports the creative development of a new play by a South Australian writer, with the assistance of the State Theatre Company of South Australia. This year’s winner was Phillip Kavanagh for Replay, a dark comedy exploring memory, family history and sacrifice. Mr Kavanagh won the 2011 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award for Little Borders and the 2011 Flinders University State Theatre Company of South Australia Young Playwrights’ Award for Plain Jane.
Here is the full list of 2014 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature winners:
Premier’s Award $25,000
Frank Moorhouse for Cold Light (Vintage Books)
Children’s Literature $15,000
Catherine Jinks for A Very Unusual Pursuit (Allen & Unwin)
Frank Moorhouse for Cold Light by (Vintage books)
2014 John Bray Poetry $15,000
Lisa Jacobson for The Sunlit Zone (5 Islands Press)
Kate Richards for Madness: a Memoir (Viking/Penguin)
Young Adult Fiction $15,000
Vikki Wakefield for Friday Brown (Text publishing)
Wakefield Press Unpublished Manuscript $10,000
Cassie Flanagan-Willanski for Here Where We Live (short story collection)
Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award $12,500
Phillip Kavanagh for Replay (un-produced)
Barbara Hanrahan fellowship $15,000
Jennifer Mills for Common Monsters
Max Fatchen Fellowship $15,000
Helen Dinmore (writing as Catherine Norton) for Falling
Tangkanungku Pintyanthi Fellowship $15,000
Ali Cobby Eckermann for Hopes Crossing