A sweeping history of politics in Australia written by a leading academic at the Australian National University has been named ACT Book of the Year.
Frank Bongiorno was named the winner in the 30th year of the award for Dreamers and Schemers, which the judges praised for its "perceptive honesty and contemporary sensibility".
"Bongiorno has achieved the difficult task of synthesising a large volume of material in a coherent, clear and accessible manner, and his fluent style allows deeper insight into the complex dynamics that have shaped politics in Australia," the judges said.
Professor Bongiorno is now a three-time winner of the award, which is worth $10,000. Bongiorno won the award in 2013 for The Sex Lives of Australians: A History and in 2016 for The Eighties.
Professor Bongiorno thanked his publishers and family for their support of his work.
"I'm an academic, I'm a historian, but I guess like a lot of historians in this country, I think it is important that we write books that will reach out to a broad range of readers that aren't simply for specialists, [and] that are affordable," he said.
Marion Halligan, who has also won the prize three times, was highly commended this year for Words for Lucy, a memoir about her family and the death of her daughter. Halligan was a joint winner of the first award in 1993 and won again in 2004 and 2010.
Julieanne Lamond, a lecturer in Australian literature at the Australian National University, was also highly commended for Lohrey, a monograph on the life and writing career of Amanda Lohrey.
Niki Savva's Bulldozed: Scott Morrison's fall and Anthony Albanese's rise had been shortlisted, along with former diplomat Robert Bowker's Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots, an account of his near four-decade career, spent mostly on postings in the Middle East.
Legitimate Sexpectations: the power of sex-ed by lawyer and researcher Katrina Marson was also shortlisted.
The six shortlisted books were selected from 38 eligible nominations for books published in 2022. The nominations ranged across fiction, non-fiction and poetry, the government said.
The prize was judged by Kaaron Warren, Adam Broinowski and Dylan Van Den Berg.
Arts Minister Tara Cheyne congratulated Professor Bongiorno and the highly commended, and shortlisted, authors.
"Frank Bongiorno's Dreamers and Schemers is an enthralling political history like no other, which will transform the way you look at Australian politics. Congratulations Frank!" she said in a statement.
"I'd also like to congratulate Julianne Lamond and Marion Halligan for their incredible highly commended works and of course the remaining shortlisted authors, Niki Savva, Katrina Marson and Robert Bowker. This year's shortlist was comprised entirely of powerful non-fiction works."
- Jasper Lindell was a judge of the 2022 ACT Book of the Year Award.