Fremantle Press books win two Premier’s Awards

Books by Fremantle Press poet Tracy Ryan, author Michelle Gillespie and illustrator Sonia Martinez were amongst the eight winners announced at the 2011 Western Australian Premier’s Awards on Monday 17 September.

The Argument by Tracy Ryan and Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck by Michelle Gillespie and Sonia Martinez won the poetry and children’s literature categories respectively from a record number of 596 entries.

In her speech, Martinez, who has also published two books with Craig Silvey, thanked Fremantle Press for supporting new and emerging local authors and illustrators.

‘They’ve opened up the world for me,’ said Martinez.

Michelle Gillespie said she was excited to be able to share a local Western Australian story with kids and thanked her long-time mentor children’s author Norman Jorgensen for many years of support and encouragement.

Accepting the award on behalf of Tracy Ryan, Poetry Publisher Georgia Richter said Fremantle Press was the first to publish Ryan’s work and would be bringing out a new collection, Unearthed, in 2013.

In their report the judges commended “_Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck_ “:/books/1271 for the way the ‘clear writing and the bold, striking illustrations combine to creating an exciting retelling of this true-life adventure.’ They called The Argument the work of a poet at the ‘height of her powers. Eloquent and insightful, this argument achieves poetry’s great task and wrests the beauty and the vulnerability of life’s experience from the inevitability of death, the eventual onset of silence.’

The overall winner of the award was Justice by Fiona Skyring. In a media statement following the awards, Premier Colin Barnett said; ‘It is very pleasing to see a WA title win the overall $25,000 Premier’s Prize this year – with 596 entries received nationally – and it is also very pleasing to announce that WA authors have won several other prize categories.’

The Argument and Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck are available in all good bookstores and online at

More information about the awards is available here

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