Fisherwoman memoir longlisted for Dobbie Literary Award

Albany author and fisherwoman Sarah Drummond was having lunch with her current boss, a landscaper, when she got the call to say she was longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award.

’We’d had a difficult morning working out levels and angles on some sleeper stairs. Everything seemed to go wrong, including the angles we’d decided upon – and then cut,’ said Drummond.

‘After lunch the mood was quite different. As soon as either of us got annoyed with our self-created debacle, the other would lean in and whisper “Nita May Dobbie.”’

It’s a typical story from the down-to-earth writer whose debut book Salt Story has been described by reviewers as ‘lyrical and utterly absorbing’ and ‘thoroughly original’.

Drummond said that while the longlisting came as a shock, award recognition was important to writers who feel they need to have a conversation with others in the world.

‘To me, awards can be signposts to reader – here is a writer who wants to talk with them,’ said Drummond.

The Dobbie is one of two prizes awarded by the Nita B Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers: awards which aim to encourage Australian women writers to improve and advance literature for the benefit of the community.

Drummond said she saw Salt Story as a love story for her region and the fishing culture that had stayed strong throughout the decades.

Salt Story both examines and busts up the gender tropes in Australian culture. I’ve always liked doing this – in writing – and in my other life where work is often physically demanding. I think the link is the poetry, the beguiling tales, an ear for “voice” and an antenna for provincial narratives,’ said Drummond.

The Dobbie Literary Award (currently valued at $5,000) recognises a first published Australian author. Fiona McFarlane, Margaret Merrilees, Kate Richards, Inga Simpson and Jill Stark also made the list. More information about the award is at

Salt Story was Fremantle Press’ fastest selling new release of 2013 and is now in its second print run. It is available from all good bookstores and online.

Books discussed
Salt Story

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