Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Genre writer Peter Temple wins literary award

From several quarters comes the news that Peter Temple has won Australia's Miles Franklin Award, given annually to "the best Australian published novel or play portraying Australian life in any of its phases." Nothing about best crime, just best.

Previous winners include Tim Winton, Peter Carey, and Patrick White.

Read Detectives Beyond Borders' discussions of Peter Temple and his work here (click link, then scroll down), including several witty interviews and reviews.

Says one newspaper account of the award: Temple's Truth "makes history for being the first work of genre fiction to win the award, which was established in 1957." And that's good crime news.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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35 Comments:

Blogger Snail said...

This might be of interest. ABC Radio National's Book Show had a discussion this morning about Truth winning the Miles Franklin. They also replayed an earlier interview with Peter Temple in which he discussed the structure of the book.

The show's web page is here. The Temple episode is Wednesday 23 June.

June 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm listening to the show now. That was a good, incisive discussion of the award, keeping it fresh, and of media coverage.

Now they're talkins about Temple's bveing a crime writer, and how this ensured good press coverage.

June 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And he cited a horse race in his acceptance speech!

June 22, 2010  
Blogger Gary Corby said...

I'm very pleased for him! And, I confess it, surprised he got up. I hope it's a sign of more good things to come.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Gary, have you heard the radio discussion and the interview to which Snail has posted a link above? I'm listening to Peter Temple talk about the book, and he's speaking about it in some depth.

June 23, 2010  
Anonymous Adrian said...

This is great news. Temple's was a deserved win. PT is one of Australia's great writers. Not one of Australia's great crime writers but great writers period.

Maybe I'm biased but I actually think he's the best prose stylist working in Australia today.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Snail said...

Glad that it's accessible outside Australia.

That ep will probably only be available for a week, but the ABC may put up a transcript later.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Gary Corby said...

Just finished listening to it, and fascinating stuff it is too. The award made page 3 of the Sydney Morning Herald this morning.

I liked the comment about needing a glossary of 120 terms for the US edition!

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I've called the man a fine prose stylist, so I can well believe he might be the best in Australia. In idle moments, one might wonder what makes a great crime writer a great writer, period. I don't ask such questions, though I am happy when I come across such a writer.

I haven't read "Truth," which I have not yet found despite occasional searches, most recently last week.

The interview to which "Snail" kindly provided a link includes substantive and interesting discussion of a number of issues. Temple said he agreed to a publisher's suggestion, for example, that the U.S. edition of "Truth" include a glossary. I think he said it contained 120 terms. Better that than Americanizing the language.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Listen I'm no Aussie and I had no trouble understanding Truth at all. No glossary is required. Common sense fills in all the gaps.
You read Adrian Hyland without difficulties, right? There was no glossary there and none was needed.

I'm giddy about this for some reason. Really excited, almost as if I had won.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

I just knew it! I knew he could do it! Good on ya, Peter Temple!!! It really was the most astonishing novel I've read for a very long time - in any genre. I envy all of you who have yet to read it - you have such a treat in store.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Kiwicraig said...

Very cool to see the judges looking outside the narrow constraints of what's generally considered 'literary' by many such awards (not to mention festivals etc) down this way. From all I've heard (I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of his work yet), Temple is just a flat out great writer - so the fact he entwines this with an exciting story as well, well, what more could you ask for.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Gary, I liked both interviews. The one about the award asked pertinent questions and elicited interesting answers, the sort that offer cheering evidence of intelligence in the universe. And Temple's interview went into good depth as well. I liked the glimpses of self-doubt.

In re the 120 terms, I have written many times that slang, dialect and unfamiliar terms are among the absolute delights of reading fiction from other parts of the English-speaking world, especially Australia. I don't suppose a glossary will hurt, as long as it does not intimidate readers or disrupt their reading by getting them flipping back and forth.

And say g'day to Adrian here, in Melbourne.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Snail has ...

Glad that it's accessible outside Australia.

That ep will probably only be available for a week, but the ABC may put up a transcript later.


I may look for it if they do. The Peter Temple interview contains some sentiments worth saving.

I'm also glad it was accessible. It's frustrating when overseas broadcasts are unavailable here. What is the Internet for? After attening the 2008 All-Ireland hurling final, I was disappointed when the Internet broadcast of the 2009 final was unavailable in my country.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I'm less of an Aussie than anyone else here, and I don't need a glossary for Peter Temple or Adrian Hyland or Christ Nyst or Shane Maloney or Garry Disher or anyone from Australia. But better that than translating into American.

I got an ARC of Vikram Chandra's "Sacred Games" without a glossary. I thus was able to experience the great joy of figuring out the meaning of maderchod from context alone, then looking the word up later and finding that my guess was right.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I just knew it! I knew he could do it! Good on ya, Peter Temple!!!

Bonza!

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Craig, I wonder what other crime writers have been recognized in thie way.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Listen I'm no Aussie and I had no trouble understanding Truth at all. No glossary is required. Common sense fills in all the gaps.
You read Adrian Hyland without difficulties, right? There was no glossary there and none was needed.

Adrian,

I'm with you on this one. Been reading Irish, English, Scottish, and South African crime novels. Sure, there were words / slang I didn't know, but as I read, I figured them out. Can't imagine AUS fiction being any different or harder to figure out.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's easy to assume that American readers are stupid and parochial and need everything spoon-fed to them. But I wonder if that little challenge of having to figure out some delightful slang, dialect and other unfamiliar words might attract readers through its very novely, if nothing else. Could it be that publishers give readers too little credit?

June 23, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Glad Peter Temple won this award.

I read "The Broken Shore," and liked it a lot, especially the characters. Understood the words.

Had a bit of trouble with Hyland's language but figured out what he meant.

Can't wait to read "Truth."

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, it's fun to guess at a word or expression's meaning and fun to be right. I have never been so confused or puzzled by an unfamiliar word that I lost the thread of a story.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

I learned Australian English as a second language, American English being my first. There were a few early embarrassments but nothing that couldn't be laughed away. It was great fun to learn and earned me a swag of great new friends. Learning 'by the book' is a pleasure, too, and you aren't likely to make a fool of yourself in the process. You could do worse than have Peter Temple as your tutor. He is a truly great writer.

June 24, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, never lost the thread of a story if I didn't know a word of phrase; that's the "truth."

However, after I finished Hyland's first book, I did look at the glossary--but not while I was reading it.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I learned Australian English as a second language, American English being my first. There were a few early embarrassments but nothing that couldn't be laughed away.

Pat, I have heard that root might elicit chuckles in Australia that it would not elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, that's an interesting way of handling the problem of umfamiliar words. I expect you gained some retrospective pleasure as you browsed the glossary after reading the novel.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Gary Corby said...

Root does indeed have a special meaning. Unluckily, although Americans and Australians pronounce the word router (a networking device) something like R-HOW-TER, our British friends say ROOTER. This causes much merriment at the expense of Britishers living in Australia.

There are two quite common American names which unfortunately also have special meanings: Chuck and Randy. Americans with these names must be careful how they introduce themselves.

I've worked with very many Americans over the years and therefore have learned to control my sense of humour when a man introduces himself with the words, "Hi, I'm Chuck." Which in Australian vernacular refers to the usual result of drinking too much alcohol.

Similarly, any lady who introduces herself to Australian men with the words, "Hi, I'm Randy," will probably not get the response she expects.

There was a very funny book years ago called "Let Stalk Strine," which when pronounced with a strong Australian accent will be heard by normal people as "Let's Talk Australian."

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

At my expense, too, since, possibly because I am from Canada, I pronounce the word root in all uses. Hmm, I might say, "r-how-ter" if ever called upon to say that word at all.

Randy occasionally gets a chuckle here, but Chuck remains innocent of any indecent or questionable associations in my experience.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

Yes, Gary's right. There is much merriment to be had in the learning. While 'rooting' for one's team is frowned upon here (by most), I still haven't worked out the origin for the correct form of the phrase, "to barrack" for your team. Peter Temple probably knows.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I suppose if one is going to root, one might as well do so for one's team (the old expression about batting for the other team does not enter into this discussion).

I don't remember ever having heard to read "to barrack." One article I just found on the Internet, which means it should be accorded no more respect than it deserves, has this:

"To barrack for," Australian slang for "to vigorously and noisily support a sports team," most likely comes from the Aboriginal Australian word "borak," meaning "nonsense or silliness." One of the earliest Australian English uses of the word, in the late 19th century, was in the phrase "to poke borak," meaning "to make fun of," and "to barrack" the opposing team still means to hurl jocular insults or sarcastic advice at them.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

Yes, barracking does certainly include both supporting your team and hurling insults at the 'tourists' - a common term for the visiting team. Also, spectators are not segregated to one side of the field or the other depending upon which 'side' (team) you barrack for, so there can be quite a lot of action going on in the stands as well as on the field. I'm referring to Australian Rules football here as I've never attended any Rugby or Soccer matches.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Gary Corby said...

I suppose if one is going to root, one might as well do so for one's team...

Careful there Peter! About 6 months ago I listened to a radio interview with a lady who admitted she had indeed rooted for her team. 12 of them at the same time, if I recall correctly.

My OED says "barrack" is probably from a Northern Irish dialect but doesn't give the derivation. Aboriginal nouns permeate the language, particularly for place names, but very few verbs have crossed into English.

Another example of disjoint: in The Pericles Commission I described a character at one point as, "out to it". My US copyeditor changed it to something which made absolutely no sense, so I stetted. It was only later, fortunately before I returned the pages, that I realized "out to it" is a purely ANZ phrase. The North American equivalent is, "out cold".

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Pat, there is normally no segregation of fans in North America except at U.S. college games (The U.S. is probably unique in the world in the emphasis it places on university sports.), and that segregation is generally voluntary. so a team's fans can sit together. I think segregation of this kind is primarily a European phenomenon.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

12 players and not 12 teams, I hope.

"Out to it" would make no sense to me out of context; I'd be curious about what your copy editor changed it to -- what he or she thought it meant, in other words. I always like to think context would make meaning clear and thus, if a change were requred, suggest a North American alternative that would make sense.

June 24, 2010  
Anonymous Gustav said...

The origin of 'barracker' and the verb 'to barrack' probably lies in the sporting encounters between soldiers and others. The soldiers, men from the barracks, were known as barrackers and in time the term became applied to any group of supporters and the act of supporting a team or anything else.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I always wonder if a combined origin is possible. People hear a word -- in an Aboriginal language, or Ulster slang or whatever -- and it's similar to a word they already know, so they easily assimilate it into their own language.

June 24, 2010  

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