Wolfer and Simmonds win WA Premier’s Book Award

Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer and Brian Simmonds has won the Children’s Book category of the 2014 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards. Both creators were on hand to receive their award from the Hon. Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia at the awards ceremony at Hackett Hall in the Western Australian Museum.

Illustrator and fine artist Brian Simmonds said the award took him into another realm of art.

‘It’s a serious recognition of what I do and a distinctive point in my career. As work on Light Horse Boy progressed I, who have never been a soldier, felt I was growing to know my characters and be inspired by my gut feelings – this book has been quite an emotional ride,’ said Simmonds.

Light Horse Boy shared the award with The Swap by Jan Ormerod and Andrew Joyner. Dianne Wolfer said winning alongside the late Jan Ormerod, who was one of her writing heroes, was a particular honour.

‘I’m also excited that a Western Australian title with links to regional WA has been selected,’ said Wolfer.

‘When I began my research for Light Horse Boy in 2010, few people knew about Sandy, the one Australian horse that returned from WWI, or about the menagerie of mascots accompanying the soldiers. Winning the Premier’s Award means that Light Horse Boy will reach a wider audience and that many young readers will also discover interesting details from our past,’ said Wolfer.

My Superhero by Chris Owen and Moira Court was also shortlisted in the Children’s Book category alongside Fremantle Press titles shortlisted in the categories of Poetry (Tracy Ryan’s Unearthed), the Western Australian Emerging Writers Award (Sarah Drummond, Salt Story), the Western Australian History Award (Annie Boyd, Koombana Days) plus Fiction and the People’s Choice Award (Tracy Farr, The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt).

Both Light Horse Boy and companion volume Lighthouse Girl are being reprinted but copies should still be available at local bookstores.

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