Helen Trinca has been awarded the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for nonfiction.
RMIT Journalism academic adviser and Managing Editor of The Australian newspaper Helen Trinca won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for nonfiction with her book Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John.
Ms Trinca was appointed to the Program Advisory Committee for the Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) in 2014.
Dr Antonio Castillo, Program Director of RMIT Journalism, said Helen Trinca's appointment had professionally and academically enriched the RMIT community.
“The appointment of such a high profile journalist and author to the Program Advisory Committee committee (PAC) has been a major source of proud. We welcome Helen to our community of scholars," Dr Castillo said.
For the last 35 years Ms Trinca has worked as a journalist with publications that include The West Australian, the ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald, and BOSS magazine through to The Australian Financial Review.
Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John, published by Text, 2013 is the definitive biography of one of Australia's most significant writers. Madeleine St John was the first Australian female novelist to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997. In 2012 Text Publishing reprinted the four novels of Madeleine St John, four years after her death from emphysema. Helen Trinca’s award is jointly shared with writer Gabrielle Carey.
The quest to find information about the personal life of St John was challenging as St John had destroyed many of her papers and correspondence prior to her death. Ms Trinca contacted St John’s contemporaries and found Judith McCue who had 9 hours of audio tapes of St John talking about her early life with a view to Judith one day writing a biography of the author.
Journalism RMIT Adjunct Professor Morry Schwarz said the journalism program was most fortunate to have Helen Trinca as an advisor.
“She is at the pinnacle of print journalism and a mighty fine writer. I congratulate her for receiving the Prime Minister's Literary Award for her biography of Madeleine St. John, Adjunct Professor Schwarz said.
The biography of St John was also shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, 2014, The Nib: Waverley Library Award for Literature, 2013 and longlisted for The Stella Prize 2014.
Steven Carroll, who previously taught drama at RMIT, was also recognised at the Prime Minister’s Awards, for his novel A World of Other People (published by Harper Collins), jointly sharing the Fiction Prize with Richard Flannagan.
The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards celebrate the contribution of Australian literature to our cultural and intellectual life. In addition to the 2014 awards, the Government announced the formation of a new Book Council of Australia to promote Australian writing nationally and internationally and encourage and promote reading.