Australian of the Year Finalists

Nominations for the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards are underway, with popular novelists Professor Kim Scott and Dr Anita Heiss, Ita Buttrose, Thisbanda Gracia Ngoy and Sarah Garnett placing as State Finalists.

Kim Scott (WA), nominated for overall Australian of the Year, is a poet and novelist and the first Indigenous writer to win the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award, for his debut novel Benang: From the Heart and his 2011 novel, That Deadman Dance. Scott is also deeply involved in community work with language and oral history recovery programs. He currently lectures as a Professor of Writing at Curtin University and mentors Indigenous students.


Anita Heiss is a NSW State finalist for the Australia’s Local Hero award. Heiss is a true role model as a novelist, poet, academic and activist. Among her social commentary novels and advocacy to include Indigenous Studies in the national curriculum, Heiss won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing this year for her most recent novel, Am I Black Enough For You? She is also the author of sassy, smart chick-lit novels including Manhattan Dreaming and Not Meeting Mr Right. Not Meeting Mr Right won a Deadly Award for Outstanding Contribution to Literature.


Also in the running for Australian of the Year is NSW finalist, Ita Buttrose AO OBE, author of A Passionate Life and known famously as the founder and editor of Australian CLEO Magazine and Australian Women’s Weekly. Ita Buttrose currently champions social and medical issues as the National President of Alzhiemers Australia and works with the National Advisory Council on AIDS (NACAIDS).

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The NSW state Finalist for the Young Australian of the Year award is Tshibanda Gracia Ngoy, a Commerce and Communications student of the University of Wollongong, caseworker for refugees, motivational speaker and freelance journalist. Her debut novel, A Little Recipe for Success aims to motivate young people to live successful, fulfilled lives. As a journalist, Gracia aims to build bridges between Australia and her native home of the Democratic Republic of Congo and has been awarded the Australian Young People’s Human Rights Medal and named Wollongong Young Citizen of the Year.

NSW Finalist Sarah Garnett is nominated for Australia’s Local Hero. Garnett is the founder of The Benjamin Franklin Footpath Library, a not for profit initiative that provides new and second hand books to the homeless, women’s refuges, homeless hostels and prisons. The Footpath Library aims to make reading accessible to socially disadvantaged members of society and operates in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The Australian of the Year Awards will be presented in Canberra, January 25 2013.

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