Two books share the spoils in 2010-11 Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History
- Minister for School Education
- Minister for Early Childhood and Youth
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A biography of a renowned historian and a fresh look at the experiences of Australian diggers in the Great War were the joint winners in the 2010-11 Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History.
School Education Minister Peter Garrett announced the winners and shortlisted books during a ceremony in Sydney today.
“The Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History is awarded annually for an outstanding piece of work which contributes significantly to the understanding of our nation’s history," Mr Garrett said.
“This year’s prize has been shared between A Three-Cornered Life: The Historian W K Hancock by Jim Davidson and Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder in the Great War by Peter Stanley.
“A Three-Cornered Life is an illuminating biography of W.K. Hancock, one of the leading Australian historians of the 20th century. The judges described Davidson’s biography as ‘shrewd in judgement and deft in its literary artistry.’
“Bad Characters uses military records to provide a new perspective on the Australian soldier. It reminds us of the reality of military life for servicemen in World War I in what the judges called a ‘salutary corrective to the romanticisation of the digger.’
“These outstanding entries were chosen from a field of 112 nominations, which demonstrates the strong interest in Australian history amongst our writers, film and television producers, and historians and researchers.”
Associate Professor Davidson and Dr Stanley received a grant of $40,000 and a gold medallion.
Four nominations were shortlisted this year:
- The Unknown Nation: Australia After Empire by James Curran and Stuart Ward;
- Beersheba: A Journey through Australia’s Forgotten War by Paul Daley;
- A Swindler’s Progress: Nobles and Convicts in the Age of Liberty by Kirsten McKenzie; and
- Savage or Civilised? Manners in Colonial Australia by Penny Russell.
“Paul Daley, Kirsten McKenzie and Penny Russell will each receive a grant of $5000 and James Curran and Stuart Ward will each receive $2500,” Mr Garrett said.
‘I would like to congratulate all the winners and the shortlisted nominees for making such a huge contribution to the study of Australian history.
‘I would also like to thank the Advisory Committee led by Professor Stuart Macintyre for their insightful and diligent work.”
From 2012 the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History will be administered by the Office for the Arts in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and aligned with the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.
Entries for both awards are now open until 1 February 2012, with the shortlist to be announced in May.
For more information on this year’s winners of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History visit www.deewr.gov.au/australianhistoryprize.
For more information on the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History and the Prime Minister’s Literary Prize visit www.arts.gov.au/pmliteraryawards.