Only problem is, the author of Cloudstreet and Breath, as well as the kids’ series Lockie Leonard, does sometimes annoy the powers-that-be by getting in the way of tourist developments on parts of the WA coastline that are both remote and extraordinary.
But this week, they officially inducted him into the State Library of Western Australia’s Hall of Fame.
Seems like this is a bit like the AFL’s Hall of Fame: it can be a bit tricky talking everyone into agreeing. The criteria for selection is that you have to be either “notable” or “prolific”.
Tim is certainly both, although it’s been five years since he published what is arguably his best novel, Breath, and that one was his first in seven years.
He just started very early (winning the Vogel Award for his stories, An Open Swimmer, in 1981).
Cloudstreet, still his best-known book, had its 21st anniversary last year, celebrated with a new edition of the book that became a brilliant stage play.
Cloudstreet has now become a television production and Tim Winton, with Ellen Fontana, was awarded the script prize this week in the WA Premier’s Book Awards.
Anna Funder, who has won just about everything this year, took out the fiction prize for All That I Am, and she also won the People’s Choice Award.
The interesting thing about the WA awards is that they were scrutinised very closely when the coalition government came to power, and it appears a compromise has been reached: while not exclusively, WA writers are given priority, when possible.
The Premier’s Prize went to Fiona Skyring, for a book about the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA, published by UWA Press.
This is in stark contrast to the response to the state’s literary awards by Premier Campbell Newman in Queensland: he came into power this year and promptly cancelled them, just a couple of months out from the announcement of winners.
Also interesting in the WA prize list is the announcement of Max Barry’s Machine Man as winner of the “digital narrative” prize, a way of describing e-books, and one of the first prizes to acknowledge this now not-so-new form of publishing.