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Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

The Hon. Peter Garrett, Minister for the Enviroment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, was at the State Library of Victoria’s Experimedia Centre this morning with the happy task of announcing the shortlists for the 2009 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

Now I have the happy task of reporting that Murray Bail’s The Pages is on the fiction shortlist, and David Marr’s The Henson Case is on the non-fiction shortlist.

Congratulations to Murray and David. Now we eagerly await the announcement of the winners, on November 2nd.

The chair of the fiction panel, Prof. Peter Pierce, and Chair of the non-fiction panel, ABC broadcaster Philip Adams both spoke of the incredibly high standard of books submitted for the Awards. They agreed that the quality and variety of books, from a range of publishers, large and small, indicated that Australian literature and book publishing is as vibrant and exciting as ever.

(Philip Adams also made a pointed aside to the Minister that the publishing industry ‘ain’t broke’ and that any attempt to ‘fix’ it may mean the judges have fewer good Australian books to read for these awards in the future—a reference to the recent report by the Productivity Commission on parallel importation rules.)