The ACT government has urged Miles Franklin-listed author Omar Musa to resubmit his application for the 2015 ACT Book of the Year competition, after being ruled ineligible on first attempt.
Earlier this week, the Queanbeyan based poet and rapper was told his application had been rejected as he did not identify himself as a member of the ACT arts community.
Musa, whose novel Here Come the Dogs received national praise, voiced his frustration at the initial rejection on his blog earlier this week.
"I just got informed that my novel Here Come the Dogs is not eligible for nomination in the ACT Book of the Year because I have not adequately displayed 'an ACT-based arts practice'," he said.
"The point is that so-called 'regional' artists like myself or Jackie French can contribute to the development of writerly culture in Canberra but not be awarded for it."
But ACT government official Gary Rake said Minister for Arts Joy Burch had urged Musa to resubmit his application to ensure his eligibility in the award.
"It was a matter of technical compliance – that's where Omar's application fell over," he said.
"The application guidelines made it clear the applicants needed to specifically and strongly demonstrate their ACT based practice and quote connections to the ACT during the past two years."
Mr Rake said Musa's application was submitted by his publisher and did not make strong claims against the criteria with some examples up to eight years old.
'We acknowledge that he is from Canberra and we are proud of him, he just needs to go through the application process," he said.
Musa said the Queanbeyan and Canberra arts community were "inextricably linked" and he was known as a member of the arts, poetry and hip hop scene.
"I launched Here Come the Dogs twice in Canberra because the city has been focal to my arts' practice," he said.
"Hell, a couple of years ago, I even advocated for the creation of a territory-wide ACT slam poetry competition for high school kids, which was subsequently funded by the ACT government."