The Colin Roderick Award was founded in 1967 by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies at James Cook University and is presented for an ‘original work dealing with some aspect of Australian life’ which ‘is of the highest literary merit in its own genre’. The judges said of The Water Dreamers: ‘This highly innovative work tells how water has shaped the Australian psyche, history, society and culture, and is written in an entertaining style which enhances its factual detail.’
The award is open to works from all fields, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as can be seen from the shortlist:
Michael Cathcart, The Water Dreamers
Anna Goldsworthy, Piano Lessons
Alan Gould, The Lake Woman
Richard Guilliat and Peter Hohnen, The Wolf
Sonya Hartnett, Butterfly
Alex Miller, Lovesong
Dorothy Porter, The Bee Hut
Past winners of this prestigious award include Peter Temple, Tom Keneally, Ruth Park, Thea Astley and Peter Carey.
The winner will be announced in Townsville on Thursday 4 November.