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David Malouf wins Australia-Asia Literary Award

CompleteStories David Malouf has won Australia’s newest and richest literary prize of $110,000 for his work The Complete Stories. It is given by the Western Australian state government to the best work of fiction primarily about Australia and Asia.

The interesting bit about the award is that it is state funded but doesn’t necessarily go to an Australian.

“It’s a wonderful piece of writing, a combination of decades of work, and it captures the human condition in such a deep and intense way,” said Nury Vittachi, a member of the judging panel, along with the Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie, and the Australian critic Peter Craven.

“His characters are very ordinary people and he captures the intense joys and sadness of ordinary life.”

The Complete Stories spans Malouf’s career, containing all the stories in his collections Dream Stuff (2000) and Every Move You Make plus 1985’s Antipodes and the two shorter pieces from Child’s Play (1982).

Vittachi agreed the decision to award the prize to a book of short stories was unusual.

“It might usually go to a novel. But there’s an ancient story form called a bracelet, where you have a sequence of stand-alone stories which when read together have as much power as a single, united novel. We thought this book worked as just such a bracelet.”

Full story from the Sydney Morning Herald

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