Sisonke Msimang

Sisonke Msimang was announced a winner at the Western Australia Premier Book Awards at a ceremony in Perth, Australia on Wednesday, August 25, 2021.

The Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards supports, develops and recognises excellence in Western Australian writing. Awards are given in fiction, poetry, non-fiction, Western Australian History, children’s book, writing for Young Adults, scripts and digital narrative. They are made available by the Western Australian Government and are managed by the State Library of Western Australia.

The shortlists for the 2020 edition were announced in the categories of The Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship; The Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children; The Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer; and The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and YA. On June 17. Writers of African descent shortlistees were Sisonke Msimang for The Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship and Yuot A. Alaak for The Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer.

The winners of the awards were announced in a ceremony in Perth on Wednesday and Sisonke Msimang was revealed to be the winner in her category. The Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship is intended to assist any Western Australian writer of any genre to develop their writing practice and give them time to create new work. The judges for the Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship were Brooke Dunnell, Daniel Juckes, Kate McCaffrey, Rashida Murphy, Rachel Robertson, and Bruce Russell.

Sisonke Msimang while receiving her award said, “Wow. Thank you. Thank you to the judges. Thank you to this boodger (spelling?). Thank you to Simon for encouraging me to do this. Thank you to Caroline Wood for insisting that I do this. Incredible fellow shortlistees, thank you all for being part of an incredible writing community. And err… thanks. I’m never speechless, and I’m speechless. Thank you.”

After the event she Tweeted, “Wow!!! Thank you [email protected] the gift of time (and more $$ than any writer ever expects to win Eyes) And thanks to the judges and WA’s generous writing community. Mostly thank you to keepers & tellers of Noongar stories from whom I learn so much.”

The statement on the Western Australia government website stated after the event;

“Western Australian writer, activist and political analyst Sisonke Msimang, who is known for her works on race, gender and democracy, was last night awarded the $60,000 Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship as part of the Premier’s Book Awards.

Using the Fellowship, Msimang will write a novel tracing the stories of three African and Indian-heritage families who settle in Perth in the 1970s, exploring 50 years of change in Australian multiculturalism.”

Watch the ceremony in full below (Msimang win happens at 54th minute);