The Nita Kibble Literary Award - is for women writers of a published book of fiction or nonfiction classifiable as 'life writing'. Life writing for the purpose of this award includes novels, autobiography, biography, travel and other writing with a strong personal element.
Nita Kibble (1879-1962) was the first woman to be a librarian with the State Library of New South Wales. She held the position of Principal Research Librarian from 1919 until her retirement in 1943. Nita Kibble was a founding member of the Australian Institute of Librarians.
The award is administered by Perpetual Trustees (official site). A newspaper advertisement usually appears in November, applications close in December, the short list appears in April and the award winner is announced in May. The award is currently worth AU$25,000. The State Library provides a judge for the award.
Winner: Shirley Walker for The Ghost at the Wedding
American born and European educated Hephzibah Menuhin, a concert pianist esteemed by audiences internationally,married Australian Lindsay Nicholas, heir to the Aspro fortune, at the tender age of eighteen. The newlyweds took up residence at Lindsay's Victorian sheep property in 1938. They managed through the war, contributing to the community and raising their sons. During this period Hephzibah managed to keep her career alive and balanced this with meetingthe needs of her young family, her marriage in the context of 1940sand 50s Australia; and her relationships, both personal and professional.
Jacqui Kent's biography of HephZibah Menuhin combines her professional and empathetic approach with a brilliant and dynamic subject. The very best of biography tells a story, and crucially, shows the readerthe meaning in it. Ms Kent has skillfully painted Hephzibah on the canvas of her time, but in very different social contexts as she travels between Australia, North America and Europe. In her nuanced and vital portrayal, Kent has revealed how a young woman of the world came to be a loving wife and mother, and why she moved on.
In this outstanding Australian memoir, novelist Georgia Blain leaves the comparative safety of fiction to confront directly the memories of her bohemian family as it unraveled around her during the tumultuous 1970s. Blain Is the daughter of feminist, broadcaster and author, Anne Deveson, and her father was a well-known ABC presenter, and so there Is much here that is of more than personal interest: Deveson's decision to write a book about herson's drug addiction and his struggJe with mental illness, her work for the Human Rights Commission and the significantly unnamed father's celebrity interviews, including a memorable confrontation with Germaine Greer at the height of her powers.
It is 2006, and from the hard-won peace of her Blue Mountains home, novelist Kathleen Stewart revisits theharrowing events ofa single year in her adolescence: 1976. Those events include a toxic love affair with the dangerous Martin, rape,drugaddiction,twosuicideattemptsandaspellinapsychiatric hospital. The crisis is fuelled by her father's own struggle for sanity and her mother's pathological competitiveness. If the child really is 'father to the man', then what kind of adult life Ispossibleafter1976?
'The After Life'has the doubled perspective of a classic memoir, in which a woman looks back on her younger self while attempting to keep in playtheverydifferentperspectivesofthenand now. These layers resound from the opening line: 'Let me tell you about love'. As the ways of seeing shift restlessly across the thirty year gap separating innocence from experience, Kathleen Stewart recalls her own past With searing honesty in prose of forensic precision. And at every turn she is compelled to face the paradox of memory: 'surely, this Is person is not me'.
Ms. Lefevre won the prize ahead of the Miles Franklin short listed Sorry, by Gail Jones and Mireille Juchau's Burning In.
Carol Lefevre grew up in the Australian outback and although most of her adult life has been passed in cities and in countries far from home, the outback landscape remains a persistent presence and inspiration. She has worked as a singer, a barmaid, nanny, and writer for glossy lifestyle magazines. But whatever she happens to be working at, her real job is always writing.In 2005 Carol graduated from the University of Adelaide with an MA in Creative Writing. She lives between the Isle of Man and Adelaide, South Australia, where she combines freelance writing and photography with doctoral studies. Authors web site.
Nights in the Asylum by Carol Lefevre
Format: Trade Paperback
Imprint: Vintage Australia
Subject: Quality Fiction
If you believe that you will never need to seek asylum, think again.
Catastrophe can turn a comfortable life inside out and leave any one of us stranded, dependent on the kindness of strangers, or vulnerable to their cruelty - as the characters in this sensuous and moving novel discover.
Set in a mining town in the Australian outback, Nights in the Asylum is the story of three people seeking shelter. Stricken with grief and guilt following the death of her daughter, Miri flees the city for the quiet calm of Havana Gardens, a once fine but now dilapidated mansion built for her grandmother. On the road, she rescues Aziz, an Afghan refugee on the run from detention; then, in the attic of the old house, Miri discovers Suzette Moran and her baby daughter hiding, and grants them refuge.
Slowly, in the hot confined spaces of the house, the three runaways unravel their stories, but when Suzette's policeman husband comes looking for her, it sparks a chain of events that will disrupt their already fragile peace.
... a remarkable novel, measured and meditative, sensual and seductive. Lefevre writes with an assured and convincing integrity, revealing her characters layer by layer, like the peeling away of an onion skin. ... Crossing the barriers of language and culture it is, above all, about hope, and love, and faith, the kind of faith that transcends borders or religions, and reminds us that we are all humans. Petra Fromm, Wet Ink Magazine
"NIGHTS IN THE ASYLUM has some wonderfully realised moments that explore the complexity of lives under pressure. Its central mother-daughter relationship makes this a good literary read for Mother's Day". Shane Strange, Australian Bookseller + Publisher
"Lefevre conjures a beautiful, subtle, insightful story".
" The achievement of the novel is to give shape to and find language for a drama of change that is inward as much as vividly external, that is fired by cores of love and justice as much as wanton pressures of lust, prejudice or violence. And then to conclude with the subtle balance of timeless moments.
Nicholas Jose, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Adelaide
Sorry by Gail Jones (left) This is a story that can only be told in a whisper...â€™
In the remote outback of North-west Australia, English anthropologist Nicholas Keene and his wife Stella raise a curious child, Perdita. Her childhood is far from ordinary; a shack in the wilderness, with a distant father burying himself in books and an unstable mother whose knowledge of Shakespeare forms the backbone of the girl's limited education. Emotionally adrift, Perdita develops a friendship with an Aboriginal girl, Mary, with whom she will share a very special bond. She appears content with her unusual family life in this remote corner of the globe until Nicholas Keene is discovered murdered. Through this exquisite story of a young girl's survival against the odds,
Gail Jones explores the values of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice with a skill that has already earned her numerous accolades for her previous novels Dreams of Speaking and Sixty Lights.
Burning In by Mireille Juchau
In her late twenties, Martine Hartmann moves from Sydney to New York to pursue her career as a photographer, leaving behind her mother Lotte, a holocaust survivor. Nine years later, Martine's daughter Ruby goes missing in Central Park. Ruby's disappearance throws Martine into an emotional struggle which threatens to overwhelm her, but which also, in time, brings her to understand Lotte's anxieties and inhibitions, and to discover the act of abandonment at their heart.
Burning In is a closely observed psychological novel with an extraordinary eye for detail, and an unerring instinct for the suppressed rhythms of thought and feeling. Structured around two mysteries and three generations of Jewish women, it is an extended meditation on loss and guilt, exploring the long shadows cast by the past on the present, and the relationship between parental love and the imperatives of survival.
Mireille Juchau's first novel Machines for Feeling was shortlisted for the 1999 Vogel/Australian Literary Award. In 2002 her play, White Gifts, won the Perishable Theatre International Women's Play writing Competition and was performed and published in the US. Known also for her arts essays and reviews, Juchau has received grants from the Ian Potter Foundation, Arts NSW and the Australia Council, and is a recipient of a Marten Bequest Traveling Scholarship.
Deborah Robertson's debut novel Careless, was shortlisted for the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the winner of the2007 Nita Kibble Literary Award. Not a bad effort for a first full-length novel. Ms. Robertson had written only short stories before, but so well that her first published collection, Proudflesh, was awarded the 1998 Steele Rudd Award.
Pearl, an eight-year-old girl, has just lost her younger brother Riley, who was killed with fiveother children in a playground massacre. Meanwhile, the recently widowed Sonya is trying to get through the day on her own without her beloved husband, whose sunnier disposition kept her darker thoughts at bay.
The various narrative threads come together when Sonia invites the young and fashionable sculptor Adam to use her late husband's workshop as his studio. Adam hopes to be awarded the commission to create a memorial for the dead children. That's when he starts his affair with Pearl's neglectful mother Lily -- and starts to make designs for his magnum opus.
Link to SMH Review by Angela Bennie
2006 -Wing of Night, Brenda Walker - (also listed 2006 Miles Franklin)
2005 - Plenty: Digressions on Food, Gay Bilson
2004 - That Oceanic Feeling, Fiona Capp
2003 - Black Mirror, Gail Jones
2002 - A Certain Style: Beatrice Davis, A Literary Life, Jacqueline Kent
2001 - Tiger's Eye: A Memoir, Inga Clendinnen
2000 - Stravinsky's Lunch, Drusilla Modjeska
1999 - Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey From Down Under to All Over, Geraldine Brooks
1998 - Snake Cradle, Roberta Sykes
1997 - True Stories: Selected Non-Fiction, Helen Garner
1996 - Judy Cassab: Diaries, Judy Cassab
1995 - The Orchard, Drusilla Modjeska
1994 - Lovers' Knots: A Hundred-Year Novel, Marion Halligan
Agamemnon's Kiss, Inga Clendinnen
Captain Starlight's Apprentice, Kathryn Heyman
Dreams of Speaking, Gail Jones
Ida Leeson: A Life,Sylvia Martin
Careless, Deborah Robertson
The Secret River, Kate Grenville
The Butterfly Man, Heather Rose
The Wing of Night, Brenda Walker
Plenty, Gay Bilson
Joe Cinque's Consolation, Helen Garner
The Broken Book, Susan Johnson
Shot, Sydney Bauer
That Oceanic Feeling, Fiona Capp
Black Mirror, Gail Jones
The Truth About My Fathers, Gaby Naher
The Boyds: A Family Biography, Brenda Niall
The Fog Garden, Marion Halligan
A Certain Style: Beatrice Davis, A Literary Life, Jacqueline Kent
Other People's Words, Hilary McPhee
Tiger's Eye: A Memoir, Inga Clendinnen
Journey from Venice, Ruth Cracknell
Stravinsky's Lunch, Drusilla Modjeska
Isobel on the Way to the Corner Shop, Amy Witting
Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey From Down Under to All Over, Geraldine Brooks
Glass After Glass: Autobiographical Reflections, Barbara Blackman
Snake Cradle, Roberta Sykes
Paradise Mislaid: In Search of the Australian Tribe of Paraguay, Anne Whitehead
Night Surfing, Fiona Capp
The Service of Clouds, Delia Falconer
True Stories: Selected Non-Fiction, Helen Garner
Judy Cassab: Diaries, Judy Cassab
Caravanserai: Journey among Australian Muslims, Hanifa Deen
Auntie Rita, Rita Cynthia Huggins and Jackie Huggins
The World Waiting to be Made, Simone Lazaroo
The Orchard, Drusilla Modjeska
Lovers' Knots: A Hundred-Year Novel, Marion Halligan