I attended the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards last night. I drank a lot of red wine, Casey Bennetto sang, awards were given, people got emotional, Peter Temple was hilarious, there was a dessert buffet, and Penguin CEO Gabrielle Coyne and I had a conversation about Michael Jackson.
The Wheeler Centre, administering the awards for the first time this year (taking over from the State Library of Victoria) have done an official wrap over at their ‘dailies’ blog. A link to the winners can be found there, and a picture of them, too.
Also, I was on it with the live-tweetin’ last night. Thanks for those who were following.
Laurie Steed had his own cyber awards show going on, which I helped him out with a little. Here are some of his awards:
Best surprise of the night: pop rocks in the mousse
Most hilarious speech: Peter Temple
Best earrings: me (thanks, they cost $2)
Best red piece of clothing: Anna Kerdijk Nicholson (I might contest this with Mel Campbell’s red tights)
Best sideburns: VWC director Roderick Poole
I might add a few awards myself…
Best decision by the Wheeler Centre: Casey Bennetto as MC (closely followed by the decision to not have a keynote speech)
Most gorgeous conversation interruption: Kate Howarth, colourfully sidling in and announcing her conversation crash. Anytime, Kate!
Award I was personally most happy with: Brenda Walker’s moving Reading by Moonlight: How Books Saved a Life winning the Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-fiction
The ‘I am everywhere, even more than LiteraryMinded’ award: Martin Shaw, Readings Books
Most desserts eaten: The Voiceworks team, closely followed by Sophie Black (how do you guys stay so slim?)
Most inspiring speech: Liz Jackson, who won the John Curtin Prize for Journalism alongside Janine Cohen for the Four Corners story ‘Who Killed Mr Ward?’ Jackson was grateful that TV journalism was recognised at the awards, and brought to our attention the fact that although Mr Ward’s family received compensation, so far no one has been called to account for what happened to him. You can find out more about the report and watch it online here.
Most emotional speech: Tom Holloway, who won the Louis Esson Prize for Drama, for And No More Shall We Part, a play that began in a bakery on Sydney Road, over cheese pies. The play is about euthanasia – and how to say goodbye to friends and family. I hope I get to see this one someday.
It was an entertaining and enjoyable evening. I look forward to next year (I may even enter the unpub ms award if the work-in-progress is ready for eyes by then). It’s great that the runners-up now get some time and money to develop their manuscripts (thanks to the Wheeler Centre and the Readings Foundation, see more here).
If you’re in Melbourne the next event you might want to go to, and for a good cause, is Writers for Burma, on October 3.