A book by La Trobe staff member and PhD scholar Adrian Hyland about Australia’s worst bushfire disaster – Black Saturday, 7 February 2009 – has been shortlisted for the prestigious Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.
It is one of five works chosen for the non-fiction category of the awards, which this year have attracted the highest number of entries ever.
Titled ‘’Kinglake 350‘ and published by Text, the book was written as part of his candidature in La Trobe’s creative writing program.
Mr Hyland said he was ‘happy to be shortlisted’ for the awards, which celebrate the contribution of Australian literature and history to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life, and thanked the University for its support.
The judges described his book as a ‘powerful work’ which deals with the ‘personal and poignant’. It tells ‘human stories so powerfully you feel the heat of the advancing firestorm,’ they added.
Adrian Hyland is also author of ‘Diamond Dove’ and ‘Gunshot Road’. He lives in St Andrews, north-east of Melbourne, and teaches at La Trobe’s International College.
Another book, a post apocalyptic verse novel ‘The Sunlit Zone’, by Honorary Research Fellow and former PhD student, Dr Lisa Jacobson, was launched in May by celebrated Melbourne poet, Chris Wallace-Crabbe.
The work was originally shortlisted for the 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award as an unpublished manuscript. Judges described it as ‘a moving elegy of love and loss, admirable for its narrative sweep’ and ‘a risk-taking work of rare, imaginative power’.
‘Being shortlisted’ says Dr Jacobson, ‘was a great gauge of the book’s appeal, which lead to its publication.’
Published by Five Islands Press, the novel is set in coastal Melbourne in 2050 and presents a futuristic vision of the city, with themes of cloning, extinction, designer babies, and the impact of science and technology on people’s daily lives.
‘This novel in verse, at once magical and irresistible,’ says Emeritus Professor Wallace Crabbe, ‘draws us into a vivid future.
‘In Lisa Jacobson’s telling, the Australian fascination with salt water and sea change is made over anew. Romance holds hands with science and takes to the ocean.’ □