55th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism
The Walkley Foundation and the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance have announced the long-list finalists for the Walkley Book Award.
The Walkleys are Australia’s most prestigious media accolades across print, radio, television and photography, as well as publishing.
The Walkley Book Award celebrates excellence in non-fiction literature and long-form journalism. More than 60 books were entered this year, and the subject matter ranged from true crime and war to biography and investigative journalism.
The 2010 Walkley Book Award Long List finalists (in alphabetical order and together with judges' comments) are:
Changing Stations: The Story of Australian Commercial Radio, by Bridget Griffen-Foley
Changing Stations explains in detail the elusive world of radio throughout the years. Bridget Griffen-Foley has written an account of all fads and passing enthusiasms, from the days when wireless had a night-time monopoly to today, when it competes with television and every imaginable form of home entertainment. The book is a compendious, definitive and well-written account of the medium.
The Circle of Silence: A Personal Testimony Before, During and After Balibo, by Shirley Shackleton
This book is meticulously researched: Shirley Shackleton has dedicated her whole life to her subject matter. Where segments of the book are subjective and based on personal narrative, these are obvious and clearly delineated. Written with searing self-awareness and unrelenting enquiry, this book is incisive, newsworthy, and its timeliness will have a strong public impact.
Cruiser: The Life and Loss of HMAS Perth and Her Crew, by Mike Carlton
Mike Carlton’s Cruiser sets a fine example for the narrative historical non-fiction genre. While the book is forensically, tirelessly and flawlessly researched, never does it become mired in the technical details that are critical to its story. Carlton has deftly and passionately told a compelling story through the characters – all of them real people who live and breathe on the page – that he has discovered.
The March of Patriots: The Struggle for Modern Australia, by Paul Kelly
Melbourne University Press
The March of Patriots is a well researched and well executed piece of writing, combining excellent policy and political analysis, supported by primary research. The level of detail means anyone interested in Australian politics doing further research on the period covered will find this book required reading. Its core coverage is of the Keating government and the first half of the Howard years, continuing the author’s chronicling of politics in this country since the 1970s. This work highlights the similarities and differences between the prime ministers in a compelling yet not entirely orthodox way.
The River: A Journey Through the Murray-Darling Basin, by Chris Hammer
Melbourne University Press
As the Murray Darling river system becomes central to a widening national debate on sustainability and co-operation, Chris Hammer’s book The River is a reservoir of informed opinion. It’s about water, farmers, regional towns and river life. The love of the pub is there, too, and runs throughout the book like a counter-melody to the main story about the thirsty country. This is a relevant, satisfying and highly readable book produced by a journalist who saw and pursued a story for all the right reasons.
The Men Who Came Out of the Ground, by Paul Cleary
Australians and East Timorese fought the Japanese in the Second World War and Paul Cleary’s book, The Men Who Came Out of the Ground, examines that battle, and the tough and resourceful Australians who had on-the-job training as guerrilla fighters. It’s a sharp, fascinating account with vivid personal descriptions of the men involved.
Breaking News: The Golden Age of Graham Perkin, by Ben Hills
Breaking News breaks ground as the first panoramic account of an editor who redefined Australian journalism. Ben Hills’s meticulous research into Graham Perkin and his influence at The Age and on generations of reporters and their storytelling is an important piece of history, compellingly told.
Lambs to the Slaughter: Inside the Depraved Mind of Child-Killer Derek Ernest Percy, by Debi Marshall
Debi Marshall’s affecting account of child-killer Derek Ernest Percy, Lambs to the Slaughter, is a compulsively readable rendering of the crimes of a man who personifies pure evil. Her skilled, forensic examination stretches the reader’s and author’s comfort zones, while never diminishing Percy’s traumatic impact on victims and their families.
Murderer No More: Andrew Mallard and the Epic Fight That Proved His Innocence, by Colleen Egan
Allen & Unwin
Colleen Egan’s journalism shone a powerful light on a shameful miscarriage of justice – the conviction and jailing of Andrew Mallard for a murder he did not commit. Egan’s remarkable book, Murderer No More, tells an extraordinary story that should be compulsory reading for young journalists, lawyers and police.
The 2010 judges were:
Joel Becker, CEO, Australian Book Sellers Association
Deborah Cameron, presenter, ABC Radio 702
Rodney Cavalier, author and chairman, Sydney Cricket Ground Trust
Paul Daley, journalist and author
Malcolm Farr, national political editor, The Daily Telegraph
Kate Legge, author and journalist, The Australian
Alice Pung, author and editor
Hedley Thomas, journalist, The Australian
Peter van Onselen, contributing editor, The Australian; political presenter, Sky News; associate professor of politics, Edith Cowan University
The shortlist of three nominees will be announced on Thursday, November 18. The winner will be announced at the Walkley Awards Gala Ceremony on Thursday, December 9 at the Crown Ballroom in Melbourne. The awards ceremony will be televised on SBS Television. A full list of Walkley Awards finalists and judges is available at www.walkleys.com.
The chair of the Walkley Book Award judging panel, Malcolm Farr, is available for interview about the award. Malcolm is the national political editor of The Daily Telegraph.