Writing WA is thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2019 Writing WA Literary Lions Medal is Rachel Bin Salleh, Publisher at Broome’s Magabala Books.
The announcement was made today at The Perth Mint by Sam Walsh AO, Chair of The Perth Mint and of Australia Council for the Arts.
Alongside Rachel Bin Salleh, the two other finalists for the inaugural Award – which includes a cash prize of $10,000 provided by Writing WA in addition to the Medal produced by the Exhibitions Team at The Perth Mint – were Gary de Piazzi, Secretary, WA Poets Inc and Lesley Reece AM, Founder and Director of The Literature Centre.
Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Shelagh Magadza said that it had not easy to come to a shortlist and even harder to single out one recipient from this award. “It is always a humbling exercise to go through this process and see not only a person’s achievements, but the quality of thought and the genuine care, that has been given by each of these people. I’d also like to thank my fellow judges whose carefully considered contributions helped us acquit a difficult task as best we could.”
Reflecting on Rachel Bin Salleh’s nomination, the judges acknowledged Rachel as a trailblazer in the literary industry and an unparalleled advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and stories. They also paid tribute to the impact she has had on Magabala Books over a 28-year association with the company.
The Literary Lions Medal was launched in 2019 to recognise 10 years of continuous philanthropic investment in WA’s writing culture by the Literary Lions, Writing WA’s private donors.
In celebrating this milestone 10th anniversary, the Medal was created to turn a spotlight back onto the many other passionate individuals and unsung heroes across the sector who are quietly working to ensure our writing culture thrives now and into the future. In celebrating the contribution and achievement of the individual, we champion the broad literary culture they participate in.
Writing WA warmly congratulates Medal winner Rachel Bin Salleh and finalists Lesley Reece and Gary de Piazzi for the recognition they all so richly deserve.
All images below: Chris Gurney