A new book on the origins of literary awards will discuss how the awards were created and how they are still used today.
The author, academic and poet, Dr Rebecca Rambukkana, says literary awards began as a way of giving awards to the most deserving of people.
“It is a way to honour someone who has been deserving of something.”
When I was a kid I used to think, ‘Well, that’s not fair.
What are you giving them for?’,” she said.”
But the truth is that this is a privilege.
“They are people who have made a difference to people.
They are people whose stories have influenced the lives of people who are otherwise invisible.”
If we give awards to people who can change the world, who have done something extraordinary and are deserving of recognition then we will all be better off.
“Her book, Deconstruction: Literary Awards and the Modernist Critique of Literature, will be published in February by Bloomsbury.
Ms Rambuksana said she came up with the idea for the awards after she was invited to the Writers’ and Artists’ Festival in Sydney in 2015.”
I was looking around the stalls, and I saw some really great people,” she said, adding that they were being awarded for their writing.”
One person I recognised was a poet, the great William Wordsworth.
I thought that would be really nice.
“So I decided I would put out a book on what I called the literary award.”
And it just snowballed from there.
“The award’s origins Ms Rambuka said she had previously thought of the awards as a form of recognition for writers.”
The fact that writers are considered worthy of awards in a way that we can see it on the stage, in the press, is very important to me,” she explained.”
To give people that recognition, it was important to have it reflected in the awards.”‘
A great story’Dr Rambkana said the literary theory of writing, which has been around for decades, was at its peak during the Victorian Civil War when poets were encouraged to write about their experiences.”
There was a great story being told, and a great poem being told,” she noted.”
That’s what gave me the idea that literary awards should be a celebration of those stories.
“Those stories were telling people about the Victorian War and that is what it was really about.”
Ms Rangkana is a professor of English literature at the University of Western Australia and a member of the Writers and Artists Committee of the Australian Poetry Society.
She said the idea of awards started with writers in the Victorian era, and continued in the US and in countries such as France and Italy.
“Literary awards were first awarded in America in 1895 and the French awarded it in 1904,” she revealed.
“In England, the idea really started in the 19th century, but it took off around 1905 and it’s become very popular over the last 30 or 40 years.”
She said literary theory was at the centre of the Victorian and British literary awards.
“Writers who had written great stories and who were worthy of being recognised for their work were the ones who were awarded,” she remarked.
“For the first time in history, we were talking about writing great stories.”