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Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2011 Shortlist

Literary Stars of Tomorrow - Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2011 Shortlist

Commonwealth Writers' Prize Shortlist Reveals Exciting Mix of Established and Undiscovered Stars

The Commonwealth Writers' Prize, internationally recognised for its role in celebrating ground-breaking works from both new and established writers, has today revealed the literary icons of tomorrow in the South East Asia and Pacific regional shortlist for the 2011 Prize.

The Commonwealth Writers' Prize, supported by the Macquarie Group Foundation and now in its 25th year, has selected both household names and other emerging stars for the shortlist for Best Book and Best First Book awards. The winners from South East Asia and the Pacific will go on to compete against writers from across the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Writers' Prize's final programme to be held at Sydney Writers' Festival from 16-22 May.

The shortlisted writers for the South East Asia and Pacific Best Book are:

Reading Madame Bovary by Amanda Lohrey (Australia) That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott (Australia) Time's Long Ruin by Stephen Orr (Australia) Hand Me Down World by Lloyd Jones (New Zealand) Notorious by Roberta Lowing (Australia) Gifted by Patrick Evans (New Zealand)

The shortlisted writers for South East Asia and Pacific Best First Book are:

21 Immortals by Rozlan Mohd Noor (Malaysia) A Man Melting by Craig Cliff (New Zealand) The Graphologist's Apprentice by Whiti Hereaka (New Zealand) The Body in the Clouds by Ashley Hay (Australia) Traitor by Stephen Daisley (Australia/New Zealand) A Few Right Thinking Men by Sulari Gentill (Australia)

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For the last 25 years the Commonwealth Writers' Prize has played a key role in unearthing international literary names, bringing compelling stories of human experience to a wider audience. Winners of this year's Commonwealth Writers' Prize will follow in the footsteps of the biggest names in fiction, such as Peter Carey, who won the Best First Book award in both 1998 with Jack Maggs, and in 2001 with True History of the Kelly Gang.

The regional winners of the Best Book and Best First Book prizes will be announced on the 3rd March, with the final programme commencing on the 16th May at Sydney Writers' Festival in Australia. This will bring together the finalists from the four different regions of the Commonwealth, and the two overall winners will be announced on the 21st May.

Commonwealth Foundation Director, Dr. Mark Collins, said:

"The Commonwealth Writers' Prize aims to reward the best of Commonwealth fiction written in English and underlines our commitment to promoting cultural exchange and diversity. This year the range of subjects, the breadth of genres and the diversity of writers will bring the very best of Commonwealth literature to new audiences. The support of the Macquarie Group Foundation has seen the Prize gain in international standing and expand its reach. This year we're delighted to be holding our final award programme in Sydney, the home of Macquarie, at Sydney Writers' Festival."

David Clarke, Chairman of the Macquarie Group Foundation, the main supporter of the Prize, added:

"The Macquarie Group Foundation's continuing support of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in its 25th year is the cornerstone of Macquarie's arts philanthropy. The Prize plays a valuable role in recognising and rewarding diverse literary talents and, in so doing, connects global communities."

Commenting on the shortlist for Best Book, Dr. Paul Sharrad, South East Asia and Pacific Regional Chair, said:

"We had an eclectic range of ideas for Best Book, from Kim Scott's imaginings of first contact between whalers, settlers and Aboriginals in Western Australia to Lloyd Jones' story of an African illegal immigrant tracking down her stolen child in Europe. We were taken on a tale of intrigue involving Rimbaud's diary, childhood memories of Adelaide incorporating the famous unsolved disappearance of children, the life of a Chinese worker who migrates to Australia and how a cook manages to control terrorist invasion of a Bali hotel."

Commenting on the shortlist for Best First Book, Dr. Paul Sharrad added:

"The first entries are notable for their fresh ideas. They include a comic treatment of the Rapture in the US, a story of Aborigines, a detective thriller involving an historical right-wing militia culminating in the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge, an obsessive cartographer and her twin sister living down trauma from the collapse of Yugoslavia, and the laconic lives of casual grape pickers in rural Australia."


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