6 April 2023

Canberra region writers book their place on 2022 honours list

| Sally Hopman
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Author and poet Omar Musa from Queanbeyan is one of the finalists in the 2022 ACT Book of the Year for Killernova. Photo: Supplied.

Seven of the Canberra region’s leading writers have been shortlisted for the 2022 ACT Book of the Year.

ACT Minister for the Arts Tara Cheyne announced the shortlist this week, saying they came from 43 nominations for books published in 2021.

She praised the calibre of writing by ACT-based authors, saying that the shortlisted authors showcased excellent works across the genres of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

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The 2022 ACT Book of the Year shortlist is Milk by Dylan van den Berg; The Kindness of Birds by Merlinda Bobis; Two Afternoons in the Kabul Stadium: A History of Afghanistan Through Clothes, Carpets and the Camera by Tim Bonyhady; Killernova by Omar Musa; Believe in Me by Lucy Neave; Failures of Command: The Death of Private Robert Poate by Hugh Poate; and As Beautiful As Any Other: A Memoir of My Body by Kaya Wilson.

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Palawa writer Dylan van den Berg is a graduate of the Australian National University. Photo: Supplied.

Ms Cheyne said their work demonstrated the depth of writing talent “in our city, highlighting their excellence and creativity”.

The nominees are:

Dylan van den Berg, a playwright, actor and director tells stories about First Nations people. The Palawa writer from the northeast of Tasmania is a graduate of the Australian National University in Canberra.

Award-winning writer Merlinda Bobis, originally from the Philippines, is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University’s College of Arts.

Emeritus Professor Tim Bonyhady is an environmental lawyer, cultural historian, curator and writer at the Australian National University.

Omar Musa is an award-winning writer, poet, rapper and visual artist based in Queanbeyan.

Lucy Neave is an award-winning writer and academic from the Australian National University.

In his book Failures of Command, Hugh Poate writes as the father of Private Robert Poate on a quest to find out why his son died in 2012 in Afghanistan.

A surfing accident in 2016 led Kaya Wilson, who had been living as a woman, to question his life, listen to his body, and become the person he knew he was always meant to be.

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The award recognises the important contribution our local authors make to the ACT’s arts and culture community and aims to inspire emerging local writers to be part of the Canberra story.

“If you have an idea, a story to tell, I encourage you to write that book and make that dream a reality,” Ms Cheyne said.

The winner of the ACT Book of the Year will be announced later this month.

Go to the website for more information.

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