Young adults and children in PM’s Prize

Writer/illustrator Sally Rippin

Writer/illustrator Sally Rippin

On his way out, Kevin Rudd selected an interesting shortlist for this year’s Prime Minister’s Prize.

Along with fiction (J. M. Coetzee, David Malouf and Alex Miller all made the grade) and non-fiction, this year also sees the inclusion of children’s fiction and young adult fiction for the first time. One favourite on the children’s list is Harry and Hopper which has already earned illustrator Freya Blackwood the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.

Another nominee for the children’s prize is writer/illustrator Sally Rippin who illustrated Mannie and the Long Brave Day by Martine Murray. Rippin told us “The most exciting thing about the list is that it shows the diversity of children’s literature. It encompasses junior fiction as well as illustrated books which is good because it recognises kids of all different ages are interested in a wide range of books.”

Judge of the children’s and young adult categories Mike Shuttleworth saw the inclusion of books for children as “a recognition of the contribution that children’s and young adult writing makes to Australian literary culture”. Although this is a new category, the list has great range. “We did include both picture books and novels because we wanted to pay regard to the range of books being produced for young people,” Shuttleworth says.

Shuttleworth is convinced that both images and text are equally important in the picture book category. “It’s a bit like judging a music prize - do you give prominence to music or lyrics? A picture book exists because it is the best medium for telling that story. There has to be a dynamism between text and image - they have to talk to each other.”

With interruptions for the election, the announcement of winners has been postponed until after 21st August.

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