Adelaide-based writer and University of Adelaide academic Professor Brian Castro has taken out the poetry category of this year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Award.
A prolific poet and author, Castro was recognised for his latest book Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria which also won the 2018 Mascara Avant-garde Award for Fiction in March.
This win marks the latest addition to an already crowded trophy shelf for Castro, having previous won the Australian/Vogel Literary Award, The Age Fiction Prize, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and National Book Council Prize for Fiction. Castro was also awarded the Patrick White Award for Literature in 2014, first established by White using winnings from his own Nobel Prize win in 1973. In addition to his own writing, Castro is Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide.
“This award means being inspired again,” says Castro of the latest honour. “A writer’s life is filled with disappointment. One is only as good as the last book, but this win is a game-changer – a new lease of life. The award brings me back to the lonely desk, but the room is brighter and lighter.”
Just 30 writers were shortlisted for the 2018 awards across six different fields including fiction, non-fiction, young adult literature and Australian history. Other winners included John Edwards’ John Curtin’s War, his first volume in a biography of Labor’s wartime Prime Minister, and Richard McGregor’s analysis of our regional neighbours in Asia’s Reckoning: The Struggle For Dominance. Gerald Murnane’s Border Districts, also released by Castro’s publisher Giramondo Publishing, won the fiction category.
Castro was awarded prize money of $80,000 as part of the win.