The University of Western Australia's Winthrop Professor Philip Mead has won the New South Wales Premier's Literary Prize for Literary Scholarship for his book, Networked Language: Culture and History in Australian Poetry.
Announced in Sydney last night, the NSW Premier's Literary Awards honour both new and familiar writers, novels, poems, biographies, histories, plays and screenplays.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson congratulated Professor Mead, who was appointed Chair in Australian Literature at the University last year.
"This award enhances Professor Mead's role as a national and international leader in the study and appreciation of Australia's creative writers and their work, and in taking Australian literature to national and international audiences," Professor Robson said.
In awarding the prize, the judges said: "This book appealed to the committee as adventurous and forward-looking as well as profoundly scholarly. It is insightful and constructive in its diagnosis of academic and public culture in Australia, and to changing attitudes to poetry as a ‘national' medium. It locates the local and national very thoroughly in the global. Finally, it looks back but also forward to a poetry that is perhaps not yet fully intelligible or recognisable to us."
Professor Mead is the former Coordinator of English at the University of Tasmania and Lockie Fellow in Creative Writing and Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne.
He was also poetry editor of the prestigious quarterly magazine Meanjin, founded in Brisbane in 1940 and credited with having introduced controversial writers such as Arthur Miller, Anais Nin, Ezra Pound and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to the Australian public.
His research interests are in Australian poetry, Anglophone poetics, literary regionalism, national bibliography, representations of Australian space and Shakespearean heritage in Australia.