The winners of 2018’s Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards were announced over the weekend at the State Library of Western Australia. We’re so delighted to share that our very own A.J. Betts has taken home the prestigious Western Australia’s Writing Fellowship, worth $60,000.
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Here’s me trying not to cry as I accepted the WA Writer’s Fellowship at the Premier’s literary awards last night. Argh!!! Thanks so much to the judges at @statelibrarywa and everyone involved in this amazing night. Congrats to fellow nominees @amandalookingupdown @kylie_howarth Madeleine Dickie and Craig Silvey. And well done to @kelly_canby for winning the children’s category, @kirli.saunders for the indigenous YA/junior category, and @ren_schipp for the emerging category! I’m so honoured by this. @writingwa @macmillanaus @literaryagent1 @loveozya
A.J. was announced as the inaugural winner of the fellowship – beating out a shortlist of acclaimed authors. The fellowship tops off the stellar few years A.J. has had in her career, with her latest novels, Hive (2018) and Rogue (2019) winning the hearts of YA fans all around Australia. The former of the duology, Hive, made several shortlists for Australian book awards.
The fellowship will allow A.J. to work on her next YA novel and she says this one will be centred on a teenage band trying to record a song to enter the triple j ‘Unearthed High’ competition. The novel will explore the experiences of year 12 students growing up in Australia. With themes like ‘friendship, honesty, courage and identity’ it looks likely that Betts is putting the money towards developing another superb exploration of Young Adult life.
The winners and shortlisted authors and illustrators for the prize gathered at the event which was ‘not only a celebration of the value of libraries, literary and artistic achievements, it was also a platform to share insightful, humorous, personal and sometimes powerful stories that left no guest unmoved,’ State Library of Western Australia.