Fremantle Press refuses to pick a favourite from the abundance of books and authors in the running to win a Western Australian Premier’s Book Award

award winners

Twelve Fremantle Press writers have been shortlisted in the 2021 WA Premier’s Book Awards across four categories.

In the emerging writers category, the novels Eye of a Rook by Josephine Taylor and Locust Summer by David Allan-Petale, and the poetry collection Vociferate by Emily Sun, made the shortlist. In The Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children, Stellarphant by James Foley and Where do the Stars Go? by Katie Stewart both made the shortlist, alongside Fremantle Press creatives Cristy Burne and Shirley Marr. And all five writers in the running for the $60,000 Writer’s Fellowship have been published by Fremantle Press.

Fremantle Press CEO Jane Fraser congratulated the writers who made the list, but refused to speculate as to who might win. She said, ‘We are so proud of these storytellers who continue to trust their inner voice, continue to strive to tell the best story they can tell, and who are unstinting in sharing their creativity with readers. Writing is not for the faint-hearted and requires empathy and vulnerability, both emotionally and financially. Awards and prizes targeted specifically at WA writers are essential, and we hope this leads to more support from the local book buying community as well.’

Eye of a Rook author Josephine Taylor said, ‘Waking to this jolt of joy is the highlight of my year. I couldn’t be happier to be shortlisted amongst such stellar emerging authors, and I am enormously grateful to the WA Government and the WA State Library for this recognition. Challenging stories need courageous publishers, readers and industry support, and Eye of a Rook is reaping this, to my stunned delight.’

Katie Stewart, the author and illustrator of Where do the stars go? said, ‘I can’t begin to express how thrilled I am to be shortlisted for this wonderful award! Just to be amongst such a great line-up of books is a huge honour. Many thanks to the State Library of WA and to Fremantle Press.’

The awards support, develop and recognise excellence in Western Australian writing. In a statement made on the WA Government media website, Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said, ‘The Western Australian authors and illustrators have told incredible and spellbinding stories. There is something for everyone. We know that reading and books are so important for literacy development, which is why these awards celebrate children’s books in particular. I encourage you to pick up and read these incredible books.’

The winners will be announced at the State Library of Western Australia on 17 June 2022. At the ceremony, a Western Australian writer will be inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame.

The complete shortlists:

 The Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer ($15,000)

  • Debesa by Cindy Solonec (Magabala Books)
  • Eye of a Rook by Josephine Taylor (Fremantle Press)
  • Homecoming by Elfie Shiosaki (Magabala Books)
  • Locust Summer by David Allan-Petale (Fremantle Press)
  • Vociferate by Emily Sun (Fremantle Press) 

The Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children ($15,000)

  • A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • One Thousand Snapshots by Steve Heron (Shawline Publishing Group)
  • Stellarphant by James Foley (Fremantle Press)
  • Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows by Cristy Burne and Denis Knight (Hachette Australia)
  • Where do the Stars Go? by Katie Stewart (Fremantle Press) 

The Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship ($60,000)

The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and YA ($15,000 and a publishing contract with Magabala Books)

  • Robert Runs by Mariah Sweetman
  • Jack Trials: Whistling Spider by Sean Owen
  • That one summer by Shirleyann Wilson  

For information about the Awards, go to the State Library of Western Australia’s website at

Books discussed
Locust Summer
Fish Song
Vociferate è© 
The Future Keepers
Eye of a Rook
Little Jiang
Beneath the Trees

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