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Australia Council for the Arts Kathleen Mitchell Award

Black and white image of Holden Sheppard in front of graffitied building

The Kathleen Mitchell Award, presented biennially to the author, aged 30 or under, of an outstanding novel or novella has been awarded to Holden Sheppard for his novel Invisible Boys.

Established in 1996 by the will of the late Kathleen Adele Mitchell, the Kathleen Mitchell Award aims to encourage the advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian literature, and to provide emerging writers with funding to further their practice.

On receiving the award Sheppard said, “I am absolutely stoked to be the recipient of the 2019 Kathleen Mitchell Award. This award has gone to some incredible writers in past years – among them, the iconic Markus Zusak – so I’m a bit in awe at the calibre of fellow award winners I am now among.

“Writing isn’t an easy road, especially being a young author from a working-class background. I’ve put myself under major financial strain in order to write my first two novels, so winning this award will enable me to reduce my hours at my day job. I’ll be able to focus more on writing my third book without having to worry about how I’m going to pay the bills each fortnight or fix my car when it breaks down. This is a dream come true for any writer, and I’m seriously so grateful that the judges thought Invisible Boys was worthy.”

The Australia Council for the Arts also awards the Dal Stivens Award, presented biennially to an author aged 30 or under, for a short story or essay of the highest literary merit. This year, the Dal Stivens Award has gone to Jonathan Dunk for his essay Park.

Dal Stivens was a mutli-award winning Australian author and the Foundation President of the Australian Society of Authors and was instrumental in establishing the rights of Australian authors within the commercial sphere. This award in his name was established in the will of Juanita Cragen in 2007.

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