Literary Success for Western Sydney University in the 2019 Prime Ministers Awards

Professor Gail Jones. Photo credit: Heike Steinweg

A Western Sydney University academic, and a work published through the University-supported Giramondo Publishing have won prestigious Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

Professor Gail Jones from Western Sydney University’s Writing and Society Research Centre received the fiction prize for her seventh novel, The Death of Noah Glass. The poetry prize went to Judith Beverage for her collection, published by Giramondo, Sun Music: New and Selected Poems.

The $80,000 prize celebrates outstanding literary talent in Australia and the valuable contribution Australian literature and history makes to the nation's cultural and intellectual life.

The Death of Noah Glass, published by Text Publishing, is about love and art, about grief and happiness, about memory and the mystery of time. Judges commented that the work epitomised Professor Jones’ talent for writing finely layered fiction that draws on deep knowledge of visual arts, cinema, and literature, including the Italian detective novel, as she lightly drops allusions and images that enrich the narrative.

Professor Jones’ work has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Prize four times – this is the first time she has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.

With work translated into sixteen languages, Professor Jones is the author of two short-story collections, a critical monograph, and the novels Black Mirror, Sixty Lights, Dreams of Speaking and Sorry. Her prizes include the WA Premier's Award for Fiction, the Nita B. Kibble Award, the Steele Rudd Award, the Age Book of the Year Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Fiction and the ASAL Gold Medal. Internationally, her fiction has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the IMPAC Award and the Prix Femina Étranger.

Judith Beverage’s Sun Music: New and Selected Poems, published by Giramondo, was noted by judges as drawing the reader into an electrifying encounter with language, guiding us through its flexure and torsion, its exacting grace.

Judith Beveridge

Judith Beveridge is noted as one of Australia most acclaimed poets. She has won the NSW and Victorian Premiers' Awards. She has published six collections of poetry which have won major prizes. She is a recipient of the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal and the Christopher Brennan Award for lifetime achievement in poetry.

Giramondo Publishing is edited by Professor Ivor Indyk from the Writing And Society Research Centre, and sponsored by Western Sydney University.

Professor Peter Hutchings, Dean, School of Humanities and Communication Arts, congratulated both authors on their achievement.

“This stellar achievement not only reflects the amazing talent of these authors, but also the impressive literary culture being fostered in western Sydney. It’s a growing movement which our Writing and Society Research Centre and Giramondo have been at the forefront of developing,” said Professor Hutchings.


24 October 2019

Emma Sandham, Senior Media Officer