Cold Stone Soup by Alison Stewart winner of the FAW 2013 National Literary Awards (Jim Hamilton Award)

Cold Stone Soup, my memoir about growing up under apartheid and the travails of emigrating from South Africa to Australia has won the Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Awards Jim Hamilton Award for a non-fiction manuscript.

Professor Terri-ann White of UWA Publishing said in the judges’ report:

“This manuscript starts with a most memorable sentence: ‘I was born with a caul, which the nurse brought my mother in a jar.’ It continues with an excellent and lively voice that carries the memoir across 80000 words or more; a story of growing up in South Africa and carrying that heritage through a life and a century filled with incident and change for people who called themselves South African. Many memoirs have the unfortunate trick of beating out a thumping blow-by-blow of detail, achievement, exception. This one makes me believe every word I’m told, and it does so because of the crisp, precise sense that the writer knows how narrative works: how it can drive a reader through hundreds of pages with a believable, humorous, wry, knowing, and reflective voice. The author has clearly read widely and understood where the power of storytelling lies, and has then applied this knowledge to telling her story lightly. There is nothing forced, nothing boring here. For publication I expect an editor would trim the text a little but overall my reading of Cold Stone Soup was a wholly pleasurable experience in telling an interesting story well, giving the reader an insight into history as lived through a childhood in Africa and an adulthood in Australia, observing a beloved and troubled homeland from afar.
I commend the writer for the quality of her work and the planning and successful execution of a complex whole.”

About alisonstewartwriter

Alison is a writer, journalist and travel writer, born in South Africa, now living in Australia. She has had nine books published - two books for adults and seven for young people. Four of them have been translated into Italian, Danish, Dutch and Thai. Her latest project, Cold Stone Soup, an unpublished memoir about growing up under apartheid and migrating to Australia has won the FAW 2013 National Literary Awards (Jim Hamilton Award for a non-fiction manuscript). Cold Stone Soup was also runner-up in the 2010 Penguin/Varuna Scholarship. Her first book for adults, Born Into the Country (Justified Press 1988, South Africa) was shortlisted for the 1987 AA Mutual Life Vita Young Writers’ Award. Heinemann Australia published her next adult novel, Bitterbloom in 1991. Her YA novel, The Wishing Moon was shortlisted for the 1995 Australian Multicultural Children’s Award and was a 1995 Children’s Book Council Notable book. Her YA dystopia, Days Like This, published by Penguin Australia was a finalist in the inaugural 2010 Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award in the YA category. Alison worked for years as a news and feature journalist. She is now a regular travel writer for The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age and online Fairfax Media publications.
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