Six Australian Novels have made the shortlist for this Year’s Barbara Jefferis Award.
The Australian Society of Authors offer the award, now in its fifth year, to novelists who depict women in a positive light through their writing.
Valued at $35,000, the award carries one of the highest prize values in the Australian literary landscape.
Author Claire Corbett made the shortlist with her novel ‘When We Have Wings’. “I’m thrilled to be shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award, not only because it is one of the most important prizes in Australia, but because it is specifically a literary prize,” she said.
“Literary merit comes first, then the criterion of depicting women or girls in a positive way or otherwise empowering the status of women. It is wonderful to be shortlisted among some of Australia’s finest writers” she said.
The Vancouver-born author worked on ‘When We Have Wings’ for ten years, which has now been sold in Spain, Portugal and The Netherlands.
“I think they’ve been quite bold in listing my book, especially as I’m the only debut writer on the list. I have no idea why a book with ideas and imagination should not also be recognised as possessing literary craft but I can only hope that prejudice is beginning to fade” she said.
“I have wondered if readers and especially literary readers would be able to find their way to this book and am so happy that the Jefferis judges were able to judge the book on its own terms and merits.”
Anna Fundar was also shortlisted for her novel ‘All That I Am’ which depicts the tyranny of Nazism in 1933.
“’All That I Am’ has women at its moral centre, and at the centre of its action” she said. ”The main character Ruth emigrates to Australia, becomes Australian, lives most of her life here and loves this country.”
The novel, based on real events, was the winner of the Independent Bookseller’s Award for Best Debut Fiction and Indie Book of the Year 2012
“My books are centrally concerned with women of extraordinary conscience and courage” she said. “The main characters of this novel are well-educated, feminist women of the first half of the 20th century. This is my true focus.”
By Georgia Fullerton