All That I Am by Anna Funder (Penguin) has won this year’s Barbara Jefferis Award, presented by the Australian Society of Authors (ASA).
Funder’s novel was selected for the $35,000 award from a shortlist of six, which also included Too Close To Home (Georgia Blain, Vintage), When We Have Wings (Claire Corbett, A&U), Five Bells (Gail Jones, Vintage), Foal’s Bread (Gillian Mears, A&U), and Cold Light (Frank Moorhouse, Vintage). A further three titles were highly commended for this year’s award.
Funder’s win adds another award to a growing collection of literary honours for All That I Am, her first novel. As previously reported by Bookseller+Publisher, All That I Am won the Indie Book of the Year Award and the Indie Award for Best Debut Fiction in March, and last week was named Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs), as well as picking up the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year. All That I Am is one of five titles shortlisted for this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award, which will be announced in June, and one of five titles shortlisted in the fiction category of this year's Prime Minister's Literary Awards.
The Barbara Jefferis Award is presented annually for ‘the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society’. This year’s judges Debra Adelaide, Sophie Cunningham and Poppy Gee said that ‘in narrator Ruth Blatt and her cousin Dora Fabian, Funder creates two complex and fascinating heroines who pursue the possibilities, and suffer the consequences of, both action and inaction in times of great peril’.
‘Steeped in a little-known area of modern history, this novel explores the nuances of the committed political life, friendship and love, and the broader human qualities of passion and idealism,’ said the judges.
The ASA said that 55 books from 19 publishers were submitted for this year’s award, including titles from self-published authors. ‘The judges were delighted to discover that a number of very different novels by both male and female authors met the criteria of the award,’ said the ASA.
The 2011 Barbara Jefferis Award was presented to G L Osbourne for Come Inside (Clouds of Magellan). More information about the Barbara Jefferis Award can be found here.