Barbara Jefferis Award
The Barbara Jefferis Award is an Australian Literary award prize. The award was created in 2007 after being endowed by John Hinde upon his death to commemorate his late wife, author Barbara Jefferis. It is funded by his $1 million bequest. Originally an annual award, it has been awarded biennially since 2012.
Jefferis was an Australian writer, and a founding member and first female president of the Australian Society of Authors. She died in 2004. Australian author, Tom Keneally, described Jefferis as "a rare being amongst authors, being both a fine writer but also organisationally gifted".
The Award, which comprises an annual prize of at least $35,000, is one of Australia's richest literary prizes. It is awarded to "the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society". The novel can be in any genre and does not have to be set in Australia. The award does not specify the author's gender. It is administered by the Australian Society of Authors, and is one of Australia's richest literary awards. It is expected to rival the Miles Franklin Award ($42,000) and the biennial Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize ($40,000).
The prize was first awarded in 2008 to Rhyll McMaster for Feather Man (Brandl & Schlesinger).
The announcement of the award caused a minor controversy in Australian literary circles due to its target. Susan Wyndham, journalist and literary editor, best summarises the issue in her the questions opening her article in The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs: "Does Australia need a new fiction award that encourages 'positive' portrayals of women and girls? Or is it an outdated gesture in a post-feminist culture rich with female authors, characters and readers?"
Wyndham reports Rosalind Hinde, daughter of John Hinde and Barbara Jefferis, as saying that her father had "the very clear and strong intention to honour my mother's writing, her feminism and her devotion to other writers". Several writers have supported the award, including Tom Keneally, Helen Garner, Frank Moorhouse, Gerald Murnane, Anne Deveson, Kerryn Goldsworthy and Brian Castro. However, writer and critic, Andrew Reimer doesn't like the idea of focusing on "social agenda" over "novelist's skill and imagination", and novelist Emily McGuire agreed, stating that she doesn't "like the idea of judging fiction based on its message". Author and critic, Debra Adelaide, expressed her concern that the award might encourage "safe and constrained" writing and wondered whether "we are getting to the point where we have more awards than publishing opportunities".
- 2008 – Feather Man, Rhyll McMaster, Brandl & Schlesinger, Blackheath, ISBN 978-1-876040-83-3
- 2009 – The Spare Room, Helen Garner, Text, Melbourne, ISBN 978-1-921351-39-6
- 2010 – The China Garden, Kristina Olsson, University of Queensland Press, ISBN 978-0-7022-3697-6
- 2011 – Come Inside, G.L. Osborne, Clouds of Magellan ISBN 978-0-9807120-2-5
- 2012 – All That I Am, Anna Funder
- 2013 – not awarded. The 2014 award was for 2013/2014
- 2014 – Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan AND The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane
- 2016 – Hope Farm, Peggy Frew
Winners are listed in bold type.
- The Anatomy of Wings, Karen Foxlee, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, ISBN 978-0-7022-3616-7
- Feather Man, Rhyll McMaster, Brandl & Schlesinger, Blackheath, ISBN 978-1-876040-83-3
- The Seamstress, Geraldine Wooller, University of Western Australia Press, Perth, ISBN 978-1-920694-93-7
- The Lost Dog, Michelle de Kretser, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, ISBN 978-1-74175-339-4
- Burning In, Mireille Juchau, Giramondo, Sydney, ISBN 978-1-920882-27-3
- The Gospel of Gods and Crocodiles, Elizabeth Stead, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, ISBN 978-0-7022-3602-0
- People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks, Fourth Estate (HarperCollins), Sydney, ISBN 978-0-7322-8037-6
- The Spare Room, Helen Garner, Text, Melbourne, ISBN 978-1-921351-39-6
- The Lifeboat, Zacharey Jane, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, ISBN 978-0-7022-3642-6
- Addition, Toni Jordan, Text, Melbourne, ISBN 978-1-921351-24-2
- The Good Parents, Joan London, Vintage (Random House), Sydney, ISBN 978-1-74166-793-6
- The Last Sky, Alice Nelson, Fremantle Press, Fremantle, ISBN 978-1-921361-12-8
- The Lost Life, Steven Carroll, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-7322-8480-0
- Swimming, Enza Gandolfo, Vanark Press, ISBN 978-0-9803500-2-9
- The World Beneath, Cate Kennedy, Scribe, ISBN 978-1-921372-96-4
- The China Garden, Kristina Olsson, University of Queensland Press (UQP), ISBN 978-0-7022-3697-6
- Headlong, Susan Varga, UWA Publishing, ISBN 978-1-921401-23-7
- The Good Daughter, Honey Brown, Penguin/Viking, ISBN 978-0-670-07443-3
- Like Being a Wife, Catherine Harris, Vintage, ISBN 978-1-86471-039-7
- Sustenance, Simone Lazaroo, University of Western Australia Press, ISBN 978-1-74258-071-5
- Indelible Ink, Fiona McGregor, Scribe, ISBN 978-1-921215-96-4
- Come Inside, G.L.Osborne, Clouds of Magellan, ISBN 978-0-9807120-2-5
- Too Close to Home, Georgia Blain, Vintage
- When We Have Wings, Claire Corbett, Allen & Unwin
- All That I Am, Anna Funder, Penguin
- Five Bells, Gail Jones, Vintage
- Foal's Bread, Gillian Mears, Allen & Unwin
- Cold Light, Frank Moorhouse, Vintage
- Sufficient Grace, Amy Espeseth, Scribe Publications
- The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt, Tracy Farr, Fremantle Press
- The Pilgrimage, Jacinta Halloran, Scribe Publications
- Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan, Allen & Unwin
- The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane, Penguin
- The First Week, Margaret Merrilees, Wakefield Press
- The Mountain, Drusilla Modjeska
- This Picture of You, Sarah Haopkins, Allen & Unwin
- A Guide to Berlin, Gail Jones, Vintage
- Laurinda, Alice Pung, Black Inc.
- The Protected, Claire Zorn, University of Queensland Press
- Hope Farm, Peggy Frew, Scribe Publications
- The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood, Allen & Unwin
- James Bennett (Firm) "Australian Society of Authors: Barbara Jefferis Award" Accessed: 2007-09-02
- Wyndham, Susan (2007) "Rich new award for feminist fiction" in The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs: Entertainment Accessed: 2007-09-01wron