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University writers shortlisted for top literary awards

21 October 2016
History stories in the running for $80,000 prize

Four members of the University community have been shortlisted across a number of catagories in the Prime Minister's Literary Awards for 2016.

Four University of Sydney authors have been shortlisted for the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield earlier this week announced Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland and Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Writer in Residence at the Charles Perkins Centre, Charlotte Wood, were shortlisted across different categories.

Alumnus and honorary associate Les Murray AO was also shortlisted for the poetry prize for his work, Waiting for the Past.

Now in their ninth year, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards recognise the best of Australian writing, with the authors of the winning book in each category taking home $80,000, while $5,000 is awarded to the remaining shortlisted entries.

Professor Barbara Caine, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said to have four members of the University community included among this year’s shortlisted authors was “a wonderful recognition of our wealth of talent, and our long and rich history of significant contribution to many disciplines.”

“I offer my warmest congratulations to each member of our faculty and community for their deserved inclusion,” said Professor Caine.

Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick

Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick, shortlisted in the Non-fiction catagory

The overlooked history of Stalin

Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick from the Department of History was nominated in the Non-fiction category for her book, On Stalin’s Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics.

“I’m delighted and honoured to be shortlisted, the University provided me with the ideal circumstances for writing the book,” said Professor Fitzpatrick.

The story explores Joseph Stalin and his Politburo, about a dozen men closest to him at the top of Soviet politics from the late 1920s through to the 1950s, a group previously overlooked in modern history.

Image of Suzanne Rutland

Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland, shortlisted for the Prize for Australian History 

A pivotal time in Australian-Jewish relations

Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland from the School of Languages and Culture was nominated for the Prize for Australian History for her work, Let My People Go: The untold story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89, co-authored by Sam Lipski.

“It was totally unexpected. I knew our publisher, Hybrid, had submitted the book but had no expectations of being shortlisted,” said Emeritus Professor Rutland.

The book explores Australia’s pivotal role in the struggle for Soviet Jews to be able to emigrate from the Soviet Union if they were unable to practice their religion freely, during the latter half of the 20th century.

Emeritus Professor Rutland said she was grateful to her co-author Sam Lipski AM for the “serendipitous collaboration”, and Isi Leibler for the unique access he granted to his private archive in Jerusalem, as well as the University.

“I actually began this research in 1998 and have had full support from my Heads of the School of Languages and Cultures throughout the period,” she said.

Charlotte Wood, who was announced as the Charles Perkins Centre’s Writer in Residence in May, was shortlisted in the Fiction category for her book, The Natural Way of Things, which was awarded the Stella Prize earlier in the year.

The full shortlist can be seen here.

Annika Dean

Assistant Media and PR Adviser (Humanities and Social Sciences)

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