ACT News

Canberra poet Melinda Smith and ANU Professor Joan Beaumont take out Prime Minister's Literary Awards

Two Canberrans were among the winners at the Prime Minister's Literary Awards announced on Monday night.

Canberra poet Melinda Smith won the poetry category for Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call and ANU Professor Joan Beaumont won the Australian history prize for Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War.

For the first time in the awards' seven-year history two writers shared the fiction prize, Richard Flanagan and Melbourne novelist Steven Carroll.

Flanagan was a favourite to win the Prime Minister's prize for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North despite criticising Tony Abbott when he received this year's prestigious Man Booker Prize for the same work.

Carroll, a Melbourne writer, won the prize for his ninth novel A World of Other People, which draws on the life of poet T.S. Eliot with particular reference to Little Gidding (1942).

Also at the awards, Tony Abbott announced a new body to tackle the woes of the book industry.

The Book Council of Australia will "celebrate good reading and good writing," Mr Abbott said, but did not offer details on the structure of the body.

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