Walkley Book Award 2012 Longlist Announced

This year marks the 57th annual Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism and the longlist for the 2012 Walkley Book Award has just been announced! The Walkey Foundation has celebrated and inspired hundreds of journalists since its foundation in 1956. The Walkely Book Award focuses on praising long-form and journalistic non-fiction writing. The shortlist for the Award will be announced on the 8th of November ahead of the Walkley Awards Gala Ceremony in Canberra on the 30th of November.
The longlisted titles are:

Broadcast Wars: The Money, the Ego, the Power Behind Your Remote Control

Michael Bodey

Broadcast Wars is an explosive look at a tumultuous period (2003-2011) in Australian television; as the Nine and Seven networks traded blows, whilst new technologies emerged and old personalities and management clung on for dear life. As showbiz and media writer for both The Daily Telegraph and The Australian at the time, Michael Bodey watched it all unfold. Highlights include sneaking into the VIP section at Kerry Packer’s memorial service to interviewing the personalities – such as Anna Coren, Eddie McGuire and Naomi Robson – as they shone brightly and flamed out. Using interviews with the participants, thorough research and arch interpretation, Broadcast Wars analyses the personalities and machinations behind Australia’s best-loved television (including Dancing With The Stars, Underbelly and Packed To The Rafters) providing readers with juicy insights into the major media events of the period.


Mine-Field: The Dark Side of Australia’s Resource Frenzy

Paul Cleary

Paul Cleary counts the true human and economic costs of Australia’s short-term mineral addiction, Australia is in the grip of a bad habit that won’t be easy to break. As royalty-hungry governments license breakneck development of our finite mineral resources, people, families, communities and industries are being steamrolled by the mining juggernaut. Politicians consider them expendable victims as they roll out one big mining and gas project after another. A ground-breaking piece of reporting, Mine-Field plots the dubious networks created and greased by mining companies to get their projects through and exposes regulatory gaps that must be addressed to avoid an enormous and irreversible cost on society and the environment.


The People Smuggler: The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi, the ‘Oskar Schindler of Asia’

Robin de Crespigny

After his father, brother and he were incarcerated and tortured in Saddam’s Abu Ghraib, Ali al Jenabi escaped from Iraq first to work with the anti-Saddam resistance in Iran and then to help his family out of the country. When Saddam’s forces advance towards their refugee camp, Ali helps his family flee into Iran before attempting to get to Australia – a country they know nothing about but understand to be safe, free and compassionate. When Ali reaches Indonesia he is betrayed by a people smuggler – a common experience – which prompts him to establish his own business that will treat fellow refugees more fairly. This account will open a country’s eyes to what refugees are fleeing from, and what makes them risk their lives and the lives of their families in seeking safety.

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Sins of the Father: The Untold Story Behind Schapelle Corby’s Ill-Fated Drug Run

Eamonn Duff

The story behind Australia’s most famous drug case. A reckless father, his dark past, an Adelaide drug trafficker and the Gold Coast beauty school dropout who kept her mouth shut. This is the explosive untold story of Schapelle Corby and how she took the rap for her father’s drug syndicate.
The result of a three year investigation, Sins of the Father returns to the beginning of Australia’s most famous drug case, to a time when nobody had ever heard the name Schapelle Corby. Finally, the missing pieces of the jigsaw fall into place as we are led, step by step, through the important weeks, days and hours leading up to her dramatic arrest. Shedding new light on her long-held claims of innocence, this is the book Schapelle’s army of supporters do not want you to read.


Hiroshima Nagasaki

Paul Ham

The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 100,000 instantly. Many hundreds of thousands more succumbed to their horrific injuries later, or slowly perished of radiation-related sickness. Ham challenges the view that American leaders claimed at the time: that the bombs were ′our least abhorrent choice′. Ham argues that the bombings were the culmination of a strategic Allied air war on enemy civilians that began in Germany and had till then exacted its most horrific death tolls in Dresden and Tokyo. In Hiroshima Nagasaki Ham describes the political manoeuvring and the scientific race to build the new atomic weapon. He also gives powerful witness to its destruction through the eyes of eighty survivors, from 12-year-olds forced to work in war factories to wives and children who faced it alone, reminding us that these two cities were full of ordinary people who suddenly, out of a clear blue summer′s sky, felt the sun fall on their heads.

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Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story

Walter Hamilton

This is a beautifully written, deeply moving and well-researched account of the lives of mixed-race children of occupied Japan. The author artfully blends oral histories with an historical and political analysis of international race relations and immigration policy in North America and Australia, to highlight the little-known story of the thousands of children that resulted from the unions of Japanese women and Allied servicemen posted to Japan following WWII. It is a powerful narrative of loss, longing and reconnection, written by the ABCs long-time Tokyo correspondent, Walter Hamilton.
A Tragedy in Two Acts: Marcus Einfeld & Teresa Brennan

Fiona Harari

This was not the ending either of them expected. Marcus Einfeld, former Federal Court judge and human rights champion, and his old friend Teresa Brennan, an exuberant, sometimes controversial US-based academic, had each spent years establishing demanding careers and international reputations, to create two lives that, on paper at least, exuded success. Then Einfeld was caught speeding. But rather than pay a small fine, the former judge told a court that Brennan had been driving his car. In reality she had been dead for three years. A Tragedy in Two Acts is the remarkable story of two outstanding Australians whose lives have been lived large, and who, ultimately, have been bound by tragedy.


The Sweet Spot: How Australia Made its Own Luck – And Could Now Throw it all Away

Peter Hartcher

Our country is both fair and free – and the only developed nation to have avoided a recession in the past twenty years. So how did it happen and why don’t we care? In The Sweet Spot Peter Hartcher takes readers on a vastly entertaining and thought-provoking tour through Australian politics and history. He shows how a convict colony could have become a banana republic but didn’t, how Australia came through the global financial crisis – it wasn’t just the mining boom – and how we could now throw our success away if we don’t recognise our strengths and demand true leadership of our politicians. Hartcher argues that Australia’s prosperity was not built on dumb luck. In a time when the authoritarian success story of China is strong, Australia offers a better model: a democratic success story. Is it perfect? Of course not. But on some of the most important and apparently intractable problems of the modern world, Australia, believe it or not, is as good as it gets. And the beaches aren’t bad either.

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The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for These Times

George Megalogenis

The Australian Moment is the page-turning story of our nation’s remarkable transformation since the ’70s. One of our most respected journalists, George Megalogenis, traces the key economic reforms and brilliant moments of collective instinct that opened our society to the immigration of capital, ideas and people to just the right degree. He pinpoints the events that shaped our good fortune and national character, and corrects our selective memory where history has been misunderstood or misdirected by self-interested political leadership. No one writing today is better at reading the numbers and telling the story around them than Megalogenis, and no one else has been able to coax our former prime ministers to candidly reassess each other’s contribution to The Australian Moment.


This year’s judges also commended:

The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe

John Maynard

A first in sporting literature, The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe is the largely untold history of Aboriginal involvement with the world game. Maynard examines an important aspect of our nations sporting history. The acceptance that Aboriginal players found within the postWorld War II migrant communities had a profound impact on their life directions and outlook. The multicultural environment of Australian soccer after the war provided them with a haven from the prejudice and racism of wider Australian society. Interweaving personal narrative and extensive research with links to the broader Indigenous world community, Maynard’s book is a celebration of the extraordinary journey taken by Aboriginal sportsmen and women to forge the way ahead for the present crop of talented players.

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