2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize – Regional Shortlists

22 Mar


The list of works is quite long and should be up on the website soon. In the meantime, the following books have been shortlisted in the South East Asia and South Pacific region (January 25, 2006):

Best Book

Sandstone by Stephen Lacey
Grace by Robert Drewe
Surrender by Sonya Hartnett
March by Geraldine Brooks
Blindsight by Maurice Gee
The Marsh Birds by Eva Sallis
The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers by Delia Falconer
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Ballad of Desmond Kale by Roger McDonald

Best First Book

Affection by Ian Townsend
Winter Journey by Diane Armstrong
The Grasshopper Shoe by Carolyn Carolyn
An Accidental Terrorist by Steven Lang
The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw
Road Story by Julienne Van Loon
Everyday Rules for Scientific Living by Carrie Tiffany
The Patron Saint of Eels by Gregory Day
Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs by Linda Olsson
A Red Silk Sea by Gillian Ransfead

I have just finished Everyday Rules for Scientific Living (2005), thanks to Surry Hills Library. It is a wonderful novel. You may read about Carrie Tiffany and her novel on ABC Radio National.

Carrie Tiffany: Well the book is a kind of a fairly classic nature/nurture struggle I think. So my characters start on the better farming train and they have fabulous ideals about how science is going to solve the problems of Victoria, particularly the farming problems. And they decide to test their ideas on a real scale, not on the train scale and so they get off the train in a little town called Wycheproof which is in the mallee it’s halfway between Melbourne and Mildura and set up a scientific farm, a wheat farm. But this is the 30s and they suffer terrible droughts and a shocking mouse plague and also these soil storms, which people remember from the 30s where hundreds of years of topsoil just blew away in days sometimes.

Robyn Williams: Gigantic storms.

Carrie Tiffany: Uhm, terrifying storms and I was reading some farm diaries from women in the area at the time and this one scene that was so poignant I had to put it in my book, but one farm woman her children would sleep on the sleep-out outside the farm house as many Australian would and at night she would have to get up every couple of hours when there was a soil storm on and she would blow the dust out of their eye sockets because it built up during the night.

Robyn Williams: How awful. And so tell us a tiny bit more about the stories so that I who am about to read the book can be tempted…

Read on!

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Posted by on March 22, 2006 in Australia and Australian, British, Fiction, OzLit, Top read, writers


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