Wildflower pair win nature writing prize

Stanley and Kaisa Breeden have won the 2010 Eric Rolls Prize for Natural History Writing for their story ‘Larry comes to Bulurru’.

The Breedens’ work, which tells of the terrible invasion of Cyclone Larry, was chosen anonymously (and unanimously) from more than 40 entries across Australia.

In announcing the winner of the inaugural prize, Ian Templeman, chair of the judging panel and former Fremantle Arts Centre Press Director, was enthusiastic in his praise for the high quality of the entries, the variety of approach and the affectionate understanding of the writers for the diversity of Australian landscapes.

Templeman said the winning entry, ‘Larry comes to Bulurru’, was a wonderful story of a love affair with the landscape and the plants and animals that share the territory.

“Their story ends with the wonder of the forest’s resilience and the landscape’s slow renewal,” he said.

This biennial prize was established by the Watermark Literary Society to honour Eric Rolls who died in 2007. He was a Founder of the Society and remains Perpetual Patron.

The Breedens said they were great admirers of Rolls’ work as a natural history writer and poet who wrote passionate and beautiful books about the Australian environment.

“Eric enjoyed Stan’s writing, too so it’s just a shame they never got to meet,” said Kaisa.

Although Stanley and Kaisa have already collaborated on the photography in Wildflower Country, Kaisa said that it was the Breeden’s first joint writing venture.

“Our writing styles are very different, but complementary … two sets of eyes and two hearts writing about observing and loving the natural world gives a wider perspective … and it is lovely to see people recognise and respond to this,” said Kaisa.

The judging panel also included Nicholas Drayson and Rolls’ wife, Watermark President Elaine van Kempen.

Van Kempen said Eric would have been delighted with the range of subject and genre and very pleased with the literary skill of the writers.

As part of their Prize, Stanley and Kaisa Breeden will participate in the June 2011 Watermark Muster at Kendall, New South Wales.

Images from Wildflower Country are on exhibition at the Kings Park Festival throughout September. Wildflower Country is available from all good bookstores.

Books discussed
Wildflower Country: Discovering Biodiversity in Australia's Southwest

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