Another stellar gong for Tracker tale

Miles Franklin Award-winning author Alexis Wright has won another top literary prize for her biography of larger-than-life Aboriginal leader and entrepreneur, the late Tracker Tilmouth.

Ms Wright took out the top gong in the $50,000 Stella Prize, an annual literary award for writing by Australian women, at a ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney last week.

Her book Tracker was released in November.

Ms Wright, a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria who now lives in Melbourne, said she was “completely overwhelmed” by the award.

The judges described Wright’s biography as “remarkable”.

“This unique, majestic biography has been composed by Wright from interviews with family, friends, foes and Tilmouth himself,” they said. “It is one man’s story told by many voices, almost operatic in scale.

“With a tight narrative structure, compelling real-life characters, the book sings with insight and Tracker’s unique humour. Wright has crafted an epic that is a truly rewarding read.”

Tracker was also shortlisted for the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and is longlisted for the 2018 Australian Book Industry Awards.

In an interview with NIT in November, Wright said Tilmouth wanted a warts-and-all book and for other people to give their honest opinions of him.

She interviewed up to 60 people over the five years of the book’s making, including former ACTU president Martin Ferguson, former Labor MPs Nick Bolkus and Laurie Brereton, Bob Katter and Tasmanian activist and lawyer Michael Mansell.

Wright won the Miles Franklin Award in 2007 for her epic novel, Carpentaria.


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