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Eureka Street Writers Awards winners announced

Each year the Reader's Feast Crime & Justice Festival will partner with the Eureka Street to present two awards in the field of social justice/human rights writing — one for writers under 35 and an open category.

The 2008 Eureka Street/Reader's Feast Award for social justice/human rights writing (open age category) was offered to the writer of the essay that offers the best analysis of a current social justice or human rights issue from Australia or around the world. This award carries a prize of $5000.

The Margaret Dooley Award for Young Writers 2008 (junior age category, under 35) is offered to support the development of young writers. The award will recognise writing that offers reasoned ethical argument based on humane values. This award carries a prize of $1500.

The winner of the inaugural Eureka Street/Reader's Feast Award for Social Justice/Human Rights writing is Tony Kevin for his essay 'The Boat That Sank'.

Tony retired from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1998, after a 30-year public service career with DFAT and Prime Minister's Department. He was Australia's ambassador to Poland (1991–1994) and Cambodia (1994–1997). He is the author of the book A Certain Maritime Incident about the fate of the Indonesian fishing boat SIEV-X (Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel 'unknown'), which sank in international waters on 19 October 2001 with more than 400 asylum seekers on board.

In this reflective essay he takes Australian artist Kate Durham's cycle of SIEV-X paintings as his inspiration and revisits the tragedy and its politicised aftermath.

Highly commended were Maddy Oliver, Arnold Zable and Irfan Yusuf.

The winner of the Margaret Dooley Award for Young Writers (2008) is Ruth Limkin, a pastor of Northside Christian Church, a large contemporary Christian church in Brisbane. She is a freelance journalist who writes occasionally for the Brisbane Courier Mail.

Her article is a significant contribution to the contemporary debate about euthanasia. The essay develops three arguments against euthanasia: firstly, that euthanasia can never be completely voluntary because of the overwhelming influence of fear; secondly, that euthanasia is based on a false system of values which commodifies human life; and thirdly, that the notion of dignity on which euthanasia is based is offensive to people with disabilities.

Runners up were Jonathan Hill and Cara Munro.

The awards were presented by Reader's Feast's Mary Dalmau and Tim Kroenert from Eureka Street at the opening of the Reader's Feast Crime & Justice Festival on 18 July at 8pm at the Abbotsford Convent.

Topic tags: Eureka Street, reader's feast, writers awards, social justice and humanitarian writing, tony kevin, ruth


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