T A G Hungerford Award launches new Western Australian writing

Arts Minister, Sheila McHale MLA, will launch The Last Sky by Alice Nelson at the New Edition Bookshop on 7 August 2008.

Nelson’s unpublished manuscript won the biennial T A G Hungerford Award in 2006 for its beautiful and impressionistic evocation of life in Hong Kong during the lead-up to the handover of the colony to China.

The Award’s namesake, renowned local author Tom Hungerford AM, said he was compelled to read The Last Sky in a single sitting.

“This is the most wonderful writing I have come across for some considerable time.

“I am just so excited by the book, and thrilled that it has come from the competition that carries my name,” said Hungerford.

The T A G Hungerford Award, was established twenty years ago to recognize
outstanding works of fiction by unpublished Western Australian authors. It is awarded every two years and Alice Nelson is its most recent winner.

Nelson described winning the T A G Hungerford Award as an incredible honour.

“It puts me in great company – it’s an award that really launched the careers of some WA writers I admire greatly; Brenda Walker, Gail Jones [and] Simone Lazaroo,” said Nelson.

Mary-Anne Paton, CEO of the novel’s publisher, Fremantle Press, said she was proud of the Press’ ongoing involvement in the Award.

“T A G Hungerford Award-winners gain considerable experience in all aspects of the publishing process as well as the opportunity to polish their work under the guidance of an experienced editor and publisher over a period of around 12 months.

“This knowledge is invaluable when trying to establish a career as an author,” said Paton.

Former winners such as Gail Jones and Brenda Walker have gone on to successfully build national and international profiles and to have their books recognized in the short lists of well-known literary awards. Gail Jones was subsequently short listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Miles Franklin Award, and is a current entrant in the Western Australian Premier’s Australia-Asia Literary Award.

Professor Delys Bird, Chairperson of writingWA, said the T A G Hungerford Award complemented the Western Australian Premier’s Australia-Asia Literary Award. She said it provided an essential platform from which to showcase the talents of young and emerging West Australian authors and to bring those talents to public attention.

“The T A G Hungerford Award has proven its capacity to nurture and develop local authors capable of being real contenders for the new WA Premier’s Literary Award,” said Professor Bird.

The Last Sky will be launched at the New Edition Bookshop in Fremantle at 6pm on Thursday 7 August 2008.

About the Award
Presented in a partnership between Fremantle Press, New Edition Bookshop, The West Australian Newspaper and writingWA, the T A G Hungerford Award is a biennial award given for an unpublished work of fiction by a West Australian author who has not previously been published in book form. First established in 1988 by Fremantle Press, the Award honors West Australian author TAG Hungerford and his outstanding contribution to literature over a period of some sixty years.

The successful author wins prize money of $6,000 AUD from the New Edition Bookshop and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. The Award is administered by writingWA with media sponsorship from The West Australian.

Media Contact:
Claire Miller, Fremantle Press, 08 9430 6331

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