Good Reading : April 2008
APRIL 2008 ı goodreading 13 ning, the award is proving to be highly successful. The inaugural winner was Will Elliott’s The Pilo Family Circus.The book has since won the Aurealis Award for Best Novel, the Ditmar for Best Novel and was shortlisted for the International Horror Guild Award. It was described by Delia Falconer – one of the judges that year – as ‘a world of comic book violence that is underpinned by a more sinister and ancient evil.’ Jo Mackay says: ‘It’s a wild ride’ and I’d have to agree it’s quite a blast and a great one if you’re into horror or like a dark, macabre read Stephen King style. It’s defi- nitely not for the faint-hearted and you may see very scary clowns after you turn the lights off at night. Two highly commended titles were also published in the inaugural year. The Crimes of Billy Fish by Sarah Hopkins is a sad but beauti- fully told story about a man trying to make good against terrible odds. Drawing on her extensive background in commercial and crim- inal law, Hopkins writes convincingly about life in the Sydney drug and crime scene, about friendships and the loving bond between brother and sister.The writing is informed by a gentle lyricism which somehow softens the harsh con- tent and this very successfully enables the reader to get close to the characters. Beating over 400 entries and 25 short-listed novels, Luck in the Greater West by Damian McDonald was the 2007 winner.The author drew on his experiences of living in housing commission accommodation while trying to become a rock musician. A starker, more brutal read than Billy Fish, it is another hard-hitting story about the Sydney ‘that exists a world away from middle-class Australia.’ Feeling somewhat emotionally battered after having read the above three titles in the space of three days, I was ready for a witty and entertaining coming-of-age story about love, sex, creativity and classical music.This is The Con by Jesse Pentecost, one of two highly commended titles from the 2006 competi- tion. Set in a conservatorium of music, it centres on the trials and tribulations of its main character, a pianist in the final year of his degree. The panel of four consists of Jo Mackay, a fiction writer, a local ABC Radio broadcaster and someone involved in intel- lectual or literary debate.This year’s judges are Murray Waldren, literary editor of the Australian, author/poet Luke Davies (Candy), and broadcaster Lindy Burns. Former judges have ncluded Richard Glover, Malcolm Knox and John Dale. So how could a judging panel of four ossibly tackle such huge mountains of manuscripts? Mackay explains there is a necessary ‘cull’ - a ‘cruel word’ as she says. enior fiction editors are seconded to help ompile readers’ reports resulting in a long- st for the panel.This year’s competition will, or the first time, include a shortlist to be nnounced by press release and on the ABC ebsite on Tuesday 11 March.The winner ill be named on 1 April at an Awards ceremony nd on ABC TV’s ‘First Tuesday Book Club’. So what does Jo look out for when she’s reading sub- missions? ‘A certain standard of writing, something hat has a connection to Australia, some sense of what it is to be living in Australia, ideas, a sense of ntellectual process, something that has a sense of ts place within literature, a strong, original voice coming through. At the end of the day you’re choosing what you enjoy the most, it’s what you love,’ says Jo. Luck in the Greater West by Damian McDonald and The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott are both $29.95. The Crimes of Billy Fish by Sarah Hopkins is $22.95 and has been shortlisted for the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. The Con by esse Pentecost is $24.95. All are published TERMS AND CONDITIONS rt of these conditions. 2. The promoter is Good Reading Magazine Pty Ltd. 3. Entry is open to all residents of Australia. 4. Entries must be made between 01/04/08 and 30/04/08 and be sent to Good Reading Magazine, GPO Box 3835, Sydney NSW 2001 or entries can be made at www.goodreadingmagazine.com 5. The draw will take place on 02/05/08. 6. Prizes cannot be transferred or redeemed for cash. 7. The promoter accepts no responsibility for late, lost or misdirected mail. 8. Any change in the value of the prizes between the publishing date and the date the prizes are claimed is not the responsibility of the promoter. 9 Winning entries will be those that are judged to have the correct answer. 10. The winners will be notified by mail and their names will be published in the June issue of Good Reading and on the Good Reading website during May 2008. Win This month 10 lucky readers could each win a copy of the inaugural winner of the ABC Fiction Award, The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott, valued at $29.95. To enter, tell us who wrote The Pilo Family Circus. Simply write your answer and your name and contact details on the back of an envelope and mail to ‘ABC Fiction Award Competition’ GPO Box 3835 Sydney NSW 2001 or enter online at www.goodreadingmagazine.com cover story From left to right: Emma Hardman, Jesse Pentecost, Will Elliott, Sarah Hopkins.