The winners of the 2015 Kibble and Dobbie Awards were announced at an event at the State Library of New South Wales today.

Joan London won the $30, 000 Kibble Literary Award for established writers with her novel The Golden Age (Vintage Australia).

Ellen van Neervan won the $5, 000 Dobbie Literary Award for a first-time published author for Heat and Light (UQP).


Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Webby AM, on behalf of the judging panel said: ‘In her beautifully measured and tender novel The Golden Age, Joan London vividly imagines the lives of young victims in a real children’s polio convalescent home. In spite of the grimness of its subject matter, this is a novel luminescent with joy, sensuality and wisdom. Written in flawless, clear-eyed prose, this book is sure to become a classic.’

Of Heat and Light, she said: ‘In a style mystical, sensual and realistic all at once, Ellen van Neerven’s remarkable debut collection of stories is startlingly original. She combines down to earth dialogue, descriptions of country and the dailiness of people’s lives with passages of lyrical intensity, which effortlessly convey both the mystical dimension of country as well as its undertones of violence.’

This year’s judges were Professor Elizabeth Webby AM, State Library of New South Wales Coordinator-Education and Scholarship, Dr Rachael Franks and novelist, Dr Rosie Scott.

The shortlist for this year’s awards Kibble Awards was:

Warning Cyclone Tracy Cunningham thishouseofgrief-garner GoldenAge

The shortlist for this year’s Dobbie Awards was:

the-strays after darkness - christine piper Ellen van Neerven, Heat and light

Perpetual’s National Manager of Philanthropy, Catriona Fay said: ‘As trustee of the Kibble Awards, we are proud to support and promote Australia’s established and emerging female writers and we congratulate Joan and Ellen on their outstanding achievements.’ She described the Kibble Awards as ‘an excellent example of the impact philanthropy can have in contributing to Australian culture.’

Congratulations to the winners and to all the shortlisted and longlisted authors.

PS: Currently reading my way through the list. Savouring This House of Grief by Helen Garner. And treasuring my signed copies of the winning titles when I had them signed at the SWF 2015 Varuna program in May. Once a book groupie, always a book groupie!

About me

I’m a freelance reviewer, journalist, writer and editor. I blog over at Wordsville and can be found in the library (I work in one) and on Twitter @PaulaGrunseit