Melbourne GP and poet wins “Book of the Year” at Tamworth with book for children
A Melbourne GP and poet, Stephen Whiteside, has won a Golden Gumleaf for “Book of the Year” at the Australian Bush Laureate Awards.
The announcement was made at a special awards ceremony at the Tamworth Town Hall last night. The ceremony takes place during the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
The book, The Billy That Died With Its Boots On and Other Australian Verse, was published by Walker Books Australia in May 2014. It contains 65 poems over 150 pages, and is targeted at children aged 9+. The poems are all in rhyming verse, in the style of ‘Banjo’ Paterson and C. J. Dennis. There are also a number of elegant paper cut out illustrations by first time book illustrator Lauren Merrick.
Whiteside said today he was thrilled to have won the award. “It is particularly pleasing, because the Bush Laureates’ “Book of the Year” is not specifically an award for children’s books. To win against books written for adults is especially gratifying.”
The Billy That Died With Its Boots On had a long gestation. Whiteside commenced writing it in 1990, twenty-five years ago.
It contains the poem “The Sash”, which won a Golden Gumleaf for “Children’s Poem of the Year” in 2013, and tells the true story of how a young Ned Kelly was awarded a bright green sash after saving a younger boy from drowning in a flooded creek.
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