Premier and Minister for the Arts, Lara Giddings MP, today presented local author Richard Flanagan with the top award at the prestigious Tasmania Book Prizes ceremony at the Hobart Town Hall.
The biennial suite of prizes, collectively worth $35 000, recognise significant achievement across three categories: best book with Tasmanian content in any genre, best book by a Tasmanian writer and best book by a Tasmanian publisher.
The prizes are presented as part of the Ten Days on the Island program.
“Given the incredibly high calibre of the 69 titles submitted for consideration, the judges’ decision was a very difficult one,” Ms Giddings said.
“Inspired by historical events and set in the wilds of nineteenth-century Tasmania, Richard Flanagan’s Wanting is a powerful, evocative and profoundly moving novel examining the themes of art, love and the desire for human connection.
“It gives me great pleasure to present him the $25 000 Tasmania Book Prize for best book with Tasmanian content in any genre.”
Ms Giddings said the Margaret Scott Prize, for the best book by a Tasmanian writer, worth $5 000, was won by Kathryn Lomer for her young adult fiction work What Now, Tilda B?
“The novel explores teenager Tilda B’s journey of self-discovery as she looks outside of herself to discover where her heart really belongs,” Ms Giddings said.
“It is a novel about passion and following your dreams, even if you don’t know what they are yet.”
The University of Tasmania Prize, for best book by a Tasmanian publisher, worth $5 000, was won by independent publisher Pardolote Press for Postcards from the Asylum by Karen Knight.
“The Tasmanian literary sector makes such a significant contribution to our cultural lives, not only here in Tasmania, but nationally and internationally as well,” Ms Giddings said.
“To be able to honour our writers and publishers, who absolutely deserve this recognition for their work, is an honour in itself.”