AUSTRALIAN writers will now vie for a $50,000 prize in the Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award instead of the previous $30,000, thanks to a generous annual contribution from the trust of the late Margaret Roderick.
Starting from next year, the winner of the Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award, given for the Australian book judged best overall in that year, will now receive $50,000, one of the country’s largest literature awards.
The prize is administered by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies (FALS) based at James Cook University.
FALS Chair Dr Paul Hardisty said he was thrilled by the announcement, which now puts the Prize “firmly among the largest and most prestigious prizes for writing in the country”.
“This forms part of FALS’ long-term strategy to promote Australian writing and literary scholarship in all genres and categories, with a strong focus on raising the profile of regional, country and first peoples’ literature,” he said.
“Now in its 57th year, the Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award has established itself as one of Australia’s most important book prizes.
“Its stature is reflected in the range and above all the quality of the entries it attracts and is unmatched by any other Australian literary competition in terms of its broad scope and number of entries.”
FALS Life Governor and Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award judge Mary Vernon said the increase in prize money underscored the Rodericks’ commitment to advancing the cause of Australian literature.
“This is a fantastic announcement not only for the Foundation, but for Australian literature,” Ms Vernon said.
“If it spurs more interest in the Award and results in more people supporting Australian writers, then that’s a great thing.”
Ms Vernon said entries had more than doubled in the 13 years she had been on the Award judging panel, in a sign of its increasing prominence amongst the literary community.
“This year, we had more than 230 books entered across all genres and the diversity was incredible,” she said.
“The anticipation for next year’s Award is only building.”
FALS Deputy Chair and JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs paid tribute to the Rodericks’ generosity and the lasting impact their legacy will have.
“Margaret and Colin Roderick were literary visionaries and the Literary Award underscores their passion for promoting Australian literature,” he said.