Applause: Latest funding and awards announced

Sculpture by the Sea artists tie for People's Choice Award, shortlist announced for $40,000 Douglas Stewart Prize, shortlist announced for NSW Premier's Literary Award, and more.
Applause: Latest funding and awards announced ‘Homer Homer’ by Cool **** takes out the Kids Choice Prize in Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe 2020. Image J Wyld.

Staff writer

Tuesday 24 March, 2020


In a dramatic end to Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2020, three artists – Mikaela Castledine and Ayad Alqaragholli from Perth and Marcus Tatton from Tasmania – will share the EY People’s Choice Prize of $5,000.

With only one vote between the three works, organisers decided to share the prize given voting had been cut short due to the early closure of the exhibition on Thursday 19 March, following news that community transmission of COVID-19 had begun in Perth.


Art collective Cool **** was awarded the Kids’ Choice Prize of $2,000 for Homer Homer, a 5m high inflatable head combining Homer Simpson and a bust of the Greek poet Homer. The prize is voted for by children who visited Cottesloe Beach during the exhibition.

Castledine’s crocheted polypropylene penguins, Black Emperors, delighted visitors as they wandered down the groyne at Cottesloe Beach, while Alqaragholli’s figurative bronze work, Anta Omri (You Are All My Life), of two figures kissing, also won hearts. Tatton’s wood and steel work Viral Escape, conceived last August and representing three large viruses sitting upon the white sands of Cottesloe Beach, doubtless prompted deep reflection.

This year marks the 16th anniversary of Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe, Perth’s largest free to the public event, attracting an estimated 210,000 visitors and creating Perth’s own version of the Italian passeggiata with thousands of people wandering among the sculptures at sunset each evening.

Seventy sculptures were on display from a range of West Australian and interstate artists, as well as a large gathering of international artists from the USA, Japan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portugal and Greece. 

Visit Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe for more information.

This year Sculpture by the Sea had three tied entries for the EY People’s Choice Prize. Image supplied


Australian independent booksellers, members of Leading Edge Books, have announced There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia) as their favourite book from last year, and the winner of The Indie Book Awards 2020 Book of the Year.

Bookseller judge Callum Macdonald (from Berkelouw Books) commented that: ‘Parrett’s latest carries the dreamlike subtlety that made readers fall in love with When the Night Comes and Past the Shallows ... This novel is a love letter to the stories that Parrett has been shaped by, and the personal history that at once defines and directs us. Melodious and poetic, this book is easy to love.’

On winning the Award, Parrett said: ‘It’s not a stretch to say that Australian Independent bookshops changed my life. Back in 2011, Past the Shallows was hand-sold with love across the county by you guys and that literally set my career path in stone. I am so very grateful. Over the years I have come to know many of you as good friends – like-minded souls who are full of passion. These friendships have been the highlight of becoming a writer. I’m truly sad that we can’t all be together celebrating. But I hope to see you soon.  There Was Still Love came straight from my heart and it means the absolute world to me win this award. I know my grandparents would be proud. It’s probably lucky I am not giving this speech in person, as I know I would burst into tears.  Thank you, thank you, thank you – my heart is very full.’

Louise Sherwin-Stark, CEO, Hachette Australia, said: ‘When Favel’s new novel was delivered to Hachette, I dropped everything to read it, and was not disappointed that I did. There Was Still Love is one of the most moving, powerful and beautiful books I've ever read. Favel's perfectly crafted sentences left me breathless and re-reading passages over and over again. I hope There Was Still Love becomes an Australian classic, it certainly deserves to be. And this award shows that many others agree with me.’

The Awards recognise and celebrate the indie booksellers as the number one supporters of Australian authors. What makes our Indies uniquely placed to judge and recommend the best Aussie books of the past year to their customers and readers, is their incredible passion and knowledge, their contribution to the cultural diversity of the Australian reading public by recommending books beyond the big brands, and their love of quality writing.

The individual category winners in Fiction, Debut Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustrated Non-Fiction, Children’s and Young Adult were also announced. From these five category winners, the independent booksellers selected the best of the best – The 2019 Indie Book of the Year.

Here are the Category Winners of the 2020 Indie Book Awards:

There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia)

There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia)

Tell Me Why by Archie Roach (Simon & Schuster Australia)

Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel (Macmillan Australia)

The Lost Boys by Paul Byrnes (Affirm Press)

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals by Sami Bayly (Lothian Children's Books)

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim (Allen and Unwin Children's)

Green Room Awards ceremony to be held online

Due to the ban on public gatherings and the closure of theatres, this year's Green Room Awards ceremony in Melbourne will be held online instead of at the Comedy Theatre.

Hosted by Otto & Astrid, Berlin’s (self-appointed) Prince and Princess of Art Rock and Europop, the nominees and winners will be announced by esteemed actor Rob Meldrum via a series of YouTube clips. Watch the ceremony at the Green Room Awards website from 7pm on 6 April 2020.

Shortlist announced for $40,000 Douglas Stewart Prize

Over 150 books were entered for the 2020 Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction this year.

The Douglas Stewart Prize ($40,000) is awarded to a prose work other than fiction. Books including biographies, autobiographies and works of history, philosophy and literary criticism may be nominated provided they display literary qualities.

This year’s shortlisted entries include:

  • The Seventies (Michelle Arrow, NewSouth)
  • The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat: A rodent history of Australia (Tim Bonyhady, Text)
  • Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the future (Alice Gorman, NewSouth)
  • Australianama: The South Asian odyssey in Australia (Samia Khatun UQP)
  • Tiberius with a Telephone: The life and stories of William McMahon (Patrick Mullins, Scribe)
  • The World Was Whole (Fiona Wright, Giramondo)

The judging panel said of the entries: ‘The books that kept our attention struck us with their originality, wit and a self-evident correspondence with contemporary affairs. Those that did not were marked by a rushed style, shoddy analysis, a reluctance to engage with existing bodies of knowledge and an indifferent attitude to the demands of the present.’

NSW Premier’s Literary Awards announces shortlist

The State Library of NSW has  announced the shortlist for the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, which includes works by leading and emerging Australian writers

Twenty-nine judges considered almost 600 entries across 10 prize categories. Up to $295,000 in prize money will be handed out, including sponsored awards, making them the richest state-funded literary awards in the country. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: ‘The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have celebrated local writers since 1979 and it’s fantastic our state continues to foster Australian talent every year. The diversity of the works produced by this year’s shortlisted writers makes for compelling reading. I congratulate each and every one of you and wish you luck ahead of the winners’ announcements next month.’

State Librarian John Vallance added: ‘The Premier’s Literary Awards are a highlight of our annual literary calendar. This year’s judges have been working through 595 entries to create a shortlist that shows the strength of writing and publishing in Australia.’

The shortlisted applicants include:

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction ($40,000) 

  • The White Girl (Tony Birch, UQP)
  • The Palace of Angels (Mohammed Massoud Morsi, Wild Dingo Press)
  • The Electric Hotel (Dominic Smith, A&U)
  • Exploded View (Carrie Tiffany, Text)
  • Wolfe Island (Lucy Treloar, Picador)
  • The Yield (Tara June Winch, Hamish Hamilton) 

Douglas Stewart Prize for Nonfiction ($40,000)

  • The Seventies (Michelle Arrow, NewSouth)
  • The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat: A rodent history of Australia (Tim Bonyhady, Text)
  • Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the future (Alice Gorman, NewSouth)
  • Australianama: The South Asian odyssey in Australia (Samia Khatun UQP)
  • Tiberius with a Telephone: The life and stories of William McMahon (Patrick Mullins, Scribe)
  • The World Was Whole (Fiona Wright, Giramondo)

Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry ($30,000) 

  • Enfolded in the Wings of a Great Darkness (Peter Boyle, Vagabond Press)
  • apparently (Joanne Burns, Giramondo)
  • After the Demolition (Zenobia Frost, Cordite)
  • Empirical (Lisa Gorton, Giramondo)
  • Archival-Poetics (Natalie Harkin, Vagabond Press)
  • An Open Book (David Malouf, UQP) 

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature ($30,000)

  • Detention (Tristan Bancks, Puffin)
  • One Tree (Bruce Whatley, illus by Christopher Cheng, Puffin)
  • Catch a Falling Star (Meg McKinlay, Walker)
  • Wilam: A Birrarung Story (Aunty Joy Murphy & Andrew Kelly, illus by Lisa Kennedy, Black Dog Books)
  • Young Dark Emu (Bruce Pascoe, Magabala)
  • Ella and the Ocean (Lian Tanner illus by Jonathan Bentley, A&U)

Ethel Turner Prize for Young Adult’s Literature ($30,000)

Multicultural NSW Award ($20,000)

  • Growing Up African in Australia (ed by Maxine Beneba Clarke, Black Inc.)
  • Room for a Stranger (Melanie Cheng, Text)
  • White Tears/Brown Scars (Ruby Hamad, MUP)
  • Australianama: The South Asian Odyssey in Australia (Samia Khatun, UQP)
  • The Pillars (Peter Polites, Hachette)
  • The Lost Arabs (Omar Sakr, UQP)

NSW Premier’s Prize for Indigenous writing (biennial award of $30,000)

  • Alfred’s War (Rachel Bin Salleh, illus by Samantha Fry, Magabala)
  • The White Girl (Tony Birch, UQP)
  • Too Much Lip (Melissa Lucashenko, UQP)

UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing ($5000) 

  • Lucky Ticket (Joey Bui, Text)
  • Dolores (Lauren Aimee Curtis, W&N)
  • An-Tan-Tiri Mogodan: Short stories (Florina Enache, Adelaide Books)
  • The House of Youssef (Yumna Kassab, Giramondo)
  • Little Stones (Elizabeth Kuiper, UQP)
  • Real Differences (S L Lim, Transit Lounge)

Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting ($30,000)

  • ‘Banging Denmark’ (Van Badham, Sydney Theatre Company)
  • ‘The Feather in the Web’ (Nick Coyle, Griffin Theatre Company)
  • ‘The Mares’ (Kate Mulvany, Tasmanian Theatre Company)
  • ‘THEM’ (Samah Sabawi and Lara Week, in collaboration with La Mama Courthouse)
  • ‘Counting and Cracking’ (S Shakthidharan and associate writer Eamon Flack, Belvoir and Co-curious)
  • ‘City of Gold’ (Meyne Wyatt, Queensland Theatre) 

Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting ($30,000) 

  • On the Ropes episode 1 (Tamara Asmar, Lingo Pictures)
  • Missing (Kylie Bolton, SBS)
  • H is for Happiness (Lisa Hoppe, Happiness Film Productions)
  • The Cry episode 2 (Jacqueline Peske, Synchronicity Films)
  • Buoyancy (Rodd Rathjen, Causeway Films).

The winners will be announced on 29 April. For more information on the awards visit the State Library of NSW website.

The 2020 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Shortlist Announced

The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) has announced the names of 31 mid-career artists shortlisted as finalists for The 2020 Sovereign Asian Art Prize is the 16th edition of Asia’s most prestigious prize for contemporary artists. 

Launched in 2003, SAF is a charitable organisation that raises funds for programs that support disadvantaged children through expressive arts. In tandem with SAF’s year-round fundraising initiatives, The Prize is now recognised as one of the most coveted annual awards in the region with a Grand Prize of US $30,000. Nurturing talent from across Asia Pacific, The Prize has acted as a springboard to help artists go on to achieve record prices as well as gain invaluable exposure to wider audiences.

Finalists for the 2020 Prize hail from 18 countries and regions across Asia-Pacific, of which Hong Kong has the strongest representation with four artists shortlisted, followed by South Korea and Indonesia with three artists each. Among the shortlist are 13 previous finalists of The Prize, who have opted to participate again. The winner of the Grand Prize, along with finalists to be awarded a Public Vote Prize of US $1,000 (decided through public votes online and at exhibition) and the Vogue Hong Kong Women’s Art Prize of US $5,000 (awarded to the highest scoring female finalist) will be announced in May 2020.

This year, over 600 entries from 30 countries and regions were submitted, marking the largest number of entries in the award’s history. A board of 88 independent arts professionals – mostly curators and academics who work closely with artists in their respective regions – nominated 400 mid-career artists into The Prize. 

Visit The Sovereign Art Prize website to view the shortlisted artists.

2020 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship recipient announced

Writers Victoria has announced Lance Richardson as the winner of the the 2020 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for his proposed biography of writer, naturalist and Zen Buddhist, Peter Matthiessen.

Established to commemorate the life, ideas and writing of Hazel Rowley (1951–2011), the Fellowship awards $15,000 to an Australian writer to support the writing and research of a non-fiction biographical work.

This year’s judges also gave a Highly Commended Award, and with it $5,000, to Gabrielle Carey for her project on writer Elizabeth von Arnim, a successful author in her own right and also the cousin of Katherine Mansfield.

This year’s Fellowship received over 60 applications, with nine shortlisted applicants. There was strong competition with the winning project selected from an outstanding shortlist of proposals from emerging and established writers that included Margo Beasley, Diane Bell, Shakira Hussein, Stephenie Cahalan, Tegan Bennett Daylight, Suzanne Robinson, Gabrielle Carey and Madelaine Dickie. 

2020 ABIAs to host awards ceremony online

The 2020 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) will this year be hosted as a virtual awards event as COVID-19 continues to cause havoc.

Instead of the ABIAs being a traditional Award Dinner, the 2020 Awards will be a live streaming Virtual Awards Event, with virtual doors open to everyone on Wednesday 13 May at 4pm.

The awards will celebrate the achievements of authors, publishers, editors, illustrators, designers, publicists and marketers. With the move onto a digital platform, the ABIAs can be experienced in a new way, taking it from 500 invited guests to thousands of people across Australia and around the world.

Casey Bennetto will continue to host this year's Virtual Awards, presenting the nominations for over 16 Book, Audiobook and Business Awards which are celebrated each year.

Everybody will be able to view the nominated authors, publishers and booksellers for each category and be part of all the winners' excitement upon receiving their awards. 

The Shortlist, Hall of Fame, Rising Star and Pixie O’ Harris Awards will be released prior to the main event on Tuesday 28th April.

Below are the revised key dates for this year’s ABIAs:

  • • Shortlist, Lloyd O’Neil Hall of Fame, Rising Star and Pixie O’Harris Awards Announced: Tuesday 28 April
  • • Virtual Event Broadcast: Wednesday 13th May at 4:00pm AEDT

Winner of 2020 Glover Prize announced

Bett Gallery artist Rob O'Connor has won the $50,000 John Glover Prize 2020.

Celebrating the legacy of John Glover, The John Glover Art Prize (Glover Prize) has become one of Australia's most significant awards for landscape painting, open to artists from anywhere in the world.

It is awarded annually by The John Glover Society Inc. for the work judged the best contemporary landscape painting of Tasmania. Landscape painting is defined in its broadest sense. The aim is to stimulate conversations about the meaning and possibilities expressed in the words landscape, painting and Tasmania.

The winner receives $50,000 plus a bronze maquette of colonial artist John Glover, designed by Peter Corlett and valued at $5000.

Visit the 2020 Glover Prize for more information.

Recipient of 2019/20 New Dimensions Award named

The recipient of the  2019/20 New Dimensions: NSW Visual Arts (Established) Fellowship, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, will focus on digital portraits of an Australian Spider with the money she has been awarded.

Developed in partnership with Create NSW and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) the fellowship supports the ongoing professional practice of visual arts practitioners in New South Wales with a grant valued of up to $50,000.

Colombian-born, long-time Sydney resident Maria Fernanda Cardoso has exhibited widely across Australia and abroad with a diverse practice encompassing sculpture, installation, performance and photography. 

Cardoso will receive $30,000 in funding from Create NSW to focus on a self-directed professional development program and will also undertake an additional project or acquisition commission from the MCA up to the value of $20,000. 

The Fellowship will enable Cardoso to create a new series of largescale digital portraits documenting various species of the brightly coloured Australian spider, the Maratus. 

For this project, Cardoso will work in collaboration with leading photo-microscopy expert Geoff Thompson to photograph up to 20 of the 80 species, and the pair will work consultation with museum curators and scientists with interest in the genus.

On being awarded the New Dimensions Fellowship, Maria Fernanda Cardoso said: ‘I am extremely grateful to Create NSW and the MCA for this opportunity and am excited to create new work around these extraordinary tiny creatures. Australia has immense invertebrate diversity, yet it is relatively understudied and certainly little known by the general public.’ 

More awards and funding news.

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