Western Australia Minister for Culture and the Arts John Day
Literary Review Strengthens Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards
Victor P Taffa
The Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards will receive an additional $80,000 a year in State Government funding, following a comprehensive external review of two literary awards.
Western Australia Minister for Culture and the Arts John Day said he made the decision to strengthen the successful and popular WA Premier’s Book Awards (PBA), while the Australia-Asia Literary Award (AALA) would be discontinued.
Mr. Day said although the Government fully supported the original intent of the AALA to draw international recognition to WA and its community of writers, there was no capacity for it to continue as there was no funding allocated beyond 2012.
“Given the economic pressures, the AALA does not represent the most prudent use of funds and is unsustainable.” Mr. Day said.
“The Premier’s Book Awards have a long and proud history and, with some additional support, can maintain the outward looking vision of the AALA.”
“The AALA will be discontinued immediately so we can free up some of those funds for an improved Premier’s Book Awards.” Mr. Day said.
“These funds will allow for an increased prize pool, specialist judging expertise and improved promotion, with an emphasis on attracting sponsorships and partnerships.”
The Minister said the PBA would be broadened to allow all Australian writers to enter, widening the award’s prestige and bringing PBA in line with other significant interstate awards.
Entries were now open for Australian works published in 2008 and 2009 with increases to the top prize (Premier’s Prize) and the following categories:
- Young Adult;
- WA History;
The ‘Premier’s Prize’ would be increased to $25,000 and when combined with one of the sub-categories, this top prize value would be worth up to $40,000.
The two years would be judged separately, have access to separate prizes and would be recognised at a single event in August 2010. Category winners would be shortlisted for the two Premier’s Prizes for 2008 and 2009 which would be awarded at the event.
Further changes to award categories would be introduced in 2011 and be announced at the August event. One of the new categories would include a People’s Choice Award, designed to create greater interest in Western Australian writing through a public voting process.
In addition to changes to the Premier’s Book Awards, the Government would support Writing WA in 2010 with $30,000 towards the costs of a WA Writer’s Showcase to be programmed within the Visiting Industry Program for the 2010 Perth Writers’ Festival which starts this month.
The showcase would be attended by artistic directors of leading international literature festivals and would promote the work of local writers to international markets.