The Age Book of the Year Awards

This is cross-posted from the Melbourne Writers Festival 2012 blog.

The Age Book of the Year awards were announced last night at the Melbourne Writers Festival 2012 opening event, prior to Simon Callow’s enthusiastic, informative Keynote speech on Charles Dickens.

The awards, now in their 38th year and highly regarded, were presented by Age literary editor Jason Steger. They went to…


Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears (Allen & Unwin)


The Brokenness Sonnets I-III and Other Poems by Mal McKimmie (Five Islands Press)


1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia by James Boyce (Black Inc.)

Overall winner / Age Book of the Year

1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia by James Boyce (Black Inc.)

Boyce was very humble about his win, he commended the Age for continuing to support literature and authors, and he very gratefully acknowledged author and historian Inga Clendinnen, who has been a supporter of his work.

This afternoon the winning authors will be reading from their work in The Age Book of the Year Reading. It’s a free event at 2:30pm at BMW Edge. Do come along.

Just in case I/we don’t get a chance to write about Simon Callow’s Keynote, his Lateline interview with Tony Jones is online, and of course, you can check out his writing. I can personally recommend (though not on the subject of Dickens) his essay in the latest Sight and Sound (UK) magazine on Orson Welles (another figure he’s passionate about, he’s currently working on the third volume of his biography). See also my Q&A with Callow on writing and playing Dickens.

3 thoughts on “The Age Book of the Year Awards

  1. Thanks for updating us! I am delighted to hear that Gillian Mears’s Foal’s Bread has been awarded again. I think it should have won the Miles Franklin, as a work that stands out, not only fo 2011, but since our literary consciousness as a nation began, from the host of other novels with an Australian theme. I posted a review of it a while ago, and compared it with Cloudstreet and Lillian’s Story in its creation of ” a world that is different than the one you live in, [where you] meet characters who are recognisable yet different, ordinary yet strange, lost, failed, broken, yet magnificent in their passion and their singularity.”

    • Thanks for your comment Christina, and for your words on Foal’s Bread. It certainly is a stunning book, and I, too, am very glad to see her awarded for it.

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