Honest History supporter Joan Beaumont wins PM’s prize

Honest History distinguished supporter, Professor Joan Beaumont of ANU, has shared the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History. The award was for Joan’s book, Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War. She shared the prize with Hal Colebatch, who wrote Australia’s Secret War: How Unionists Sabotaged our Troops in World War II.

Joan Beaumont last night also won a Queensland Literary award. She previously won the NSW Premier’s Award. Other distinguished supporters of Honest History to win awards this year were Paul Daley (Walkley Award) and Clare Wright (Stella Prize and other prizes). The Prime Minister’s speech included this paragraph:

[W]hen I respond to questions from young people about what they should read with the answer, the classics, Shakespeare and the Bible, it is seen as proof of a pre-existing world view – rather than an invitation to understand and appreciate the works that have shaped our culture and our world. If I thought that young people had no need of such counsel – because they were already reading what’s sometimes called the Western canon – I would not offer that advice.

Our reading, after all, should challenge our thinking, not just confirm it. And literature is at its best when it reveals to us a world not seen, a perspective not understood, or an aspect of life not yet contemplated. Through literature, we can grasp the fullness of life without necessarily having to have lived that aspect of it ourselves.

9 December 2014