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University authors win PM’s Literary Awards

9 November 2016
History stories honoured with country's top writing prizes

Three University of Sydney authors have been awarded Prime Minister’s Literary Awards across a number of categories for 2016.

This is yet more evidence of the extraordinary things happening at the University of Sydney.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison

Three University of Sydney authors have taken home Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for 2016.

At a ceremony in Canberra, Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull announced Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland OAM and Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick, from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Writer in Residence at the Charles Perkins Centre, Honorary Associate Charlotte Wood, had won in their respective categories.

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.

This year, a number of categories featured joint winners.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison said on the back of the University’s success at the PM’s Science Prizes, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were another amazing night for recognition of research excellence at the University. 

“Many congratulations to all members of our University community who took home an award,” said Professor Ivison.

“With two winners from our Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences this demonstrates it is one of the most outstanding faculties in the world and this is yet more evidence of the extraordinary things happening at the University of Sydney.”

Professor Barbara Caine, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, offered her “warmest congratulations to each member of our faculty and community that took home a Prime Minister’s Literary Award last night.”

“To have not one but two winners from within our faculty demonstrates our wealth of talent and recognises the significant contribution that the humanities can make to the wider community," said Professor Caine.

Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick

Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick, joint winner for the Non-fiction Prize

Stories of Stalin

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

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.

"It's a great feeling to have won, especially as I’ve spent so much of my career abroad," said Professor Fitzpatrick.

"I would like to thank my friendly and supportive colleagues at the University, as well as Louise Adler, the head of Melbourne University Press, and my editor there, Sally Heath."

The award was shared with Karen Lamb for her work, Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather.

Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland OAM

Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland OAM, joint winner for the Prize for Australian History

Untold Australian-Jewish history

Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland OAM, from the School of Languages and Culture, was jointly awarded 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 AM.

The book explores Australia’s pivotal role in helping persecuted Soviet Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union, during the latter half of the 20th century.

“I am absolutely delighted, I had not expected to be shortlisted, let alone to win,” said Emeritus Professor Rutland.

“The campaign for Soviet Jewry was a major issue which contributed to the collapse of the Soviet regime, so I am very glad that the book has received this recognition.”

They shared the award with Geoffrey Blainey AC for his book The Story of Australia's People. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia.

Another award for Wood

Charlotte Wood, Writer in Residence at the Charles Perkins Centre, jointly took out the Fiction Prize for her book The Natural Way of Things, alongside The Life of Houses by Lisa Gorton.

Charlotte Wood joined the University of Sydney as an Honorary Associate in May 2016 as winner of the inaugural Writer in Residence Fellowship at the Charles Perkins Centre.
 
The Stella Prize-winning author will lend her creative talents to the complex issue of aging as part of the one-year residency – the first of its kind in Australia.

The full list of winners can be seen here.


Stalin and his politburo

Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick discusses her award-winning book On Stalin’s Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics.

Annika Dean

Assistant Media and PR Adviser (Humanities and Social Sciences)

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