Holden Sheppard wins at the WA Premier’s Book Awards

The winners of the 2019 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards were announced at the State Library of Western Australia on Friday night.

Holden Sheppard was awarded the $15,000 Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer for his young adult novel Invisible Boys. The judges lauded the powerful young adult novel as funny, yet devastating with vividly imagined characters and dialogue.

Sheppard’s novel tackles homosexuality, masculinity, anger and suicide and has picked up a swag of awards since it was released last year.

The night’s major winner was Amanda Curtin, who won the $60,000 Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship. Amanda will utilise the Fellowship to work on a literary historical fiction set in Western Australia during the 1890s gold rush.

Meg McKinlay won the $15,000 Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children for Catch a Falling Star, a poignant story about love, life and grief that will be popular amongst middle grade readers.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and Young Adult Fiction was open to indigenous writers from across Australia, and was won by Teela May Reid for Our Matriarchs Matter. This award was administered and funded by Broome-based indigenous publisher Magabala Books with support from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

The Premier’s Book Awards are Western Australia’s peak awards for writers and focus on supporting Western Australian writers, with a major Fellowship awarded for the second time. At $60,000, the Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship is one of the most valuable awards in Australian arts.

Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said it was hard to make a living as a writer, and encouraged people to support local talent.

“I congratulate all the winners tonight – they are wonderful Western Australians that are rightfully being recognised for their work.

“I am particularly pleased that these awards have been refocused on promoting Western Australian writers. Making a living from writing is not easy and it is important to promote our writers because our stories are important.” the minister said.

“It is fitting that the awards are held in the State Library as it is a place of learning, a place where literature and writing is celebrated.

“I urge the Western Australian community to support our local writers, and a good place to start is with the winners and those on the shortlist of these important awards.”

OIP Staff

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