Yesterday the winners of this year’s Kibble and Dobbie Awards were announced at the State Library of NSW. The Kibble and Dobbie Awards predate the Stella Prize in their support of Australian women’s writing. The awards were established in 1994 as part of the legacy of Nita May Dobbie in honour of her aunt, Nita Bernice Kibble, the State Library’s first female librarian.

The Awards recognise the works of female authors of fiction or non-fiction classified as ‘life writing’. This includes novels, autobiographies, biographies, literature and any writing with a strong personal element. The Kibble Literary Award recognises the work of an established author while the Dobbie Literary Award recognises a first published work. (Source.)

The judges for this year’s awards were Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Webby, Dr Rachel Franks and Dr Rosie Scott.

The winner of the 2016 Kibble Literary Award, and the recipient of $30 000 prize money, was Small Acts of Disappearance: Essay on Hunger by poet and author, Fiona Wright. Wright’s book, which describes her experience of an eating disorder, was also shortlisted for the 2016 Stella Prize. In her acceptance speech, Wright mentioned her ambivalence about writing such a personal story, but affirmed the importance of women writing from their own life experiences:

It’s so important that we, as women, tell our own stories, so that we can advocate for change.

You can find links to reviews of Small Acts of Disappearance by participants in the AWW challenge here.

The winner of the Dobbie Literary Award, with its $5000 prize money, was Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar. When accepting the award, Treloar told the audience that the book was inspired by her forbears’ experience of life in the Coorong district of South Australia in the mid 1800s. Treloar mentioned how important it was for her to find an editor who believed in her work and she listened when Alex Craig, formerly of PanMacmillan, told her, ‘Don’t be afraid to think big.’ The result was a book that has already won the ABIA’s Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, and is shortlisted for the prestigious Miles Franklin Award, to be announced next month.

Links to AWW reviews of Salt Creek can be found here.

Congratulations, Fiona and Lucy!

Fiona Wright, Small acts of disappearanceSalt Creek