UWS novelist wins Calibre Prize


Date: 14/04/2009

Professor Jane Goodall, a novelist and member of the University of Western Sydney's Writing and Society Research Group, has been announced as the joint recipient of the prestigious Calibre Prize for 2009.

Calibre, a joint initiative of Australian Book Review (ABR) and Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)'s Cultural Fund, is intended to generate brilliant new essays and to foster greater interest in the essay form.

Since its inception in 2007, Calibre has become Australia's premier essay prize and is regarded as one of the most lucrative in the world.

Professor Goodall's essay 'Footprints' is based on the theme of the human footprint and its relationship to ideas of ecological sustainability.

"The footprint speaks of an innate sense of human limits, because it expresses a literal kind of grounding," says Professor Goodall.

"One of the conclusions of the essay is that we need to understand 'sustainability' in a more essential way. It also questions whether we, as humans, can do away with our needs and wishes for the good of the environment."

The theme is explored through 'stories from different times and hemispheres' including a parable by Leo Tolstoy, and several classic fictional works about Australian land holders.

Professor Goodall says the Calibre is a very special prize because it brings together essay writers from across the country who have urgent things to say and a distinctly personal way of saying them.

"Writing can be a mysteriously isolated and inactive form of activity, but it always seeks connection back to the world," says Professor Goodall.

"'Footprints' is all about connections, starting with the strange ways that stories have of cross-linking their themes and images, even across great distances of space, time and culture. Ultimately, it's about the connection between the earth and the human foot."

Professor Goodall is the author of a series of psychological thrillers, 'The Calling' (2007), 'The Visitor' (2005) and 'The Walker' (2004), which follow the career of Briony Williams, a Detective with the Chelsea CID in London.

Professor Goodall has also written several critical books on literature and the performing arts, including 'Stage Presence' (2008) which has been shortlisted for the annual Theatre Book Prize, awarded by the Society for Theatre Research in London.

Judges Gay Bilson, Peter Rose and Rebecca Starford selected the winning essays by Professor Goodall and novelist Kevin Brophy from a pool of almost 200 entries.

Both winning essays will be published in the April issue of Australian Book Review.

For more information on the Calibre Prize, visit: http://www.australianbookreview.com.au

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