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Selection Panel 2013

The selection panel for the inaugural UC Book of the Year comprised  eminent academics, authors and scholars charged with the challenge of choosing the most appropriate novel from a short-list of great books. The University of Canberra appreciates the work of all the panel members:

Professor Nick Klomp, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Canberra

Professor Nick Klomp is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Canberra, responsible for academic policy, teaching and learning quality and enhancement, and student support and equity.  He has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from Curtin University, First Class Honours from Murdoch University and a PhD in ecology from Glasgow University. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Klomp was the Dean of the Faculty of Science at Charles Sturt University, leading one of the largest and most diverse science faculties in Australasia. Under his leadership the Faculty enjoyed enormous growth in its research and teaching programs, underpinned by multi-million dollar grants and many new collaborations with government, industry and education providers.

Professor Klomp has won the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence, was a weekly Science Correspondent for ABC radio for more than eleven years, and has thrice been nominated for the Eureka Prize for the Promotion of Science.

In addition to his extensive teaching career, Professor Klomp is recognised internationally for his research in applied ecology and environmental science, having authored two books and hundreds of publications, successfully supervised more than a dozen doctoral students, and attracted several large nationally-competitive grants.

Professor Nick Klomp commended the panel’s choice saying:

“Jasper Jones is a terrific book. It made me laugh and it made me misty. It tackles some tough issues but it doesn’t pontificate. I think staff and students will love it. The book is required reading for all commencing students, and the themes and characters of the book will work their way into subjects, activities and campus life throughout 2013. We’ll even get a visit by the author, Craig Silvey, to hear about how he created this enthralling tale.”

Professor Jen Webb, Professor of Creative Practice, University of Canberra

Jen Webb studied in South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. She holds a PhD in cultural theory (art and society) and a DCA in writing (creativity and embodiment). She is Professor of Creative Practice in the Faculty of Arts and Design, where she leads research in creative writing. Her academic interests focus on the relationship between artistic practice and society, including how representations are made of human rights issues, conflict and crisis, and how individuals perceive themselves and their lived experience. She also investigates the links between creativity and knowledge, and particularly about how research training can best be conducted in art disciplines. 

Jen's research has resulted in a variety of outputs, both creative and critical. Her books include titles on the works of Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, and on the topics of globalization, visual culture and representation, as well as the collection of poems, Proverbs from Sierra Leone (Five Islands Press, 2004) and the short story collection Ways of Getting By (Ginninderra Press, 2006). Her academic essays, articles and reviews, and her poems and short stories, have been widely published in Australia and overseas, and her artist books exhibited in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Jen is currently writing a book titled Understanding the body (with Dr Jordan Williams; for Sage Publications, London), and a volume on creative research (for P&H Publications, Cambridge).

Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, Director-General of the National Library of Australia

Anne-Marie Schwirtlich took up the position of Director-General of the National Library of Australia in March 2011 having served as the Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian at the State Library of Victoria from 2003 to 2011. Over the course of her career, which included positions with the National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial, she has focused on the joys and challenges of acquiring, assessing, documenting and making accessible a range of collections and of thinking and planning how policy, technology, services and institutions can ensure that such work continues to be of the finest calibre. Over the course of 2012 she was proud to be an Ambassador for the National Year of Reading.

William McInnes, Patron of the National Year of Reading

William McInnes is one of the most accomplished and popular actors on the Australian landscape today. In 2006 William was awarded the Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald and the Age Australian Star of The Year Award. Equally at home in theatre, film and television, comedy and drama, he has played countless lead and supporting roles in some of the most successful and memorable productions this country has had to offer and has multiple AFI and Logie nominations for this extensive body of work.

In television, William has shone in dramatic lead roles in The Shark Net, My Brother Jack, Blue Heelers, Stepfather of the Bride, Seachangeand more recently in the critically acclaimed ABC telemovie Curtin, about Australia’swartime prime minister and in the hard hitting SBS television series East West 101.

William’s work in Australian cinema is also widely acknowledged, by both industry peers and audiences alike. The feature film, Look Both Ways, saw William achieve a nomination for Best Lead Actor by the Australian Film Institute and receive the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor. William received an AFI Award and a Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for his performance in Unfinished Sky. In 2009, William featured in David Caesar’s Prime Mover and Blessed directed by Ana Kokkinos. In early 2011, William was seen in the New Zealand feature, The Hopes and Dreams of Gazza Snell, directed by Brendan Donovan.

His many lead roles on the stage only further highlight William’s remarkable career. His performances include Don Juan for Sydney Theatre Company, Macbeth and Ray’s Tempest for Melbourne Theatre Company and Darcy forboth company’s landmark productions of Pride and Prejudice. Most recently, William appeared on stage in Equus for Perth Theatre Company and My Fair Lady in New Zealand.

William is also the author of five best selling books. A Man’s Gotta Have a Hobby, winner of a 2006 Australian Book industry award, Cricket Kings which is a 2007 Australian book industry award nominee, That’d Be Right and The Making of Modern Australia. His fifth book, Worse Things Happen at Sea, co-written with his late wife Sarah Watt, was awarded the 2012 Indie Non Fiction Book of the Year. William’s next book, The Laughing Clowns, will be released in October 2012.

He is Patron of The 2012 National Year of Reading and also Chair of the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra at Old Parliament House.

In 2012, William will star in the telemovie, The Homicide Franchise – Dr Wainer’s Summer Offensive and new series, The Time Of Our Lives on the ABC. He has also been seen as the host of Auction Rooms.

Nigel Featherstone, Award-winning author

Nigel Featherstone is an Australian writer of contemporary adult fiction and creative journalism.  He is the author of the much-loved novellas I’m Ready Now (Blemish Books 2012) and Fall on Me (Blemish Books 2011), which won the 2012 ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Fiction.  His novel Remnants (Pandanus Books 2005) was published to considerable acclaim, as was his short-story collection, Joy (2000). 

Nigel is also the author of 40 short stories published in Australian literary journals, including Meanjin, Island, and Overland, as well as in the US. Since 2007 he has been a frequent contributor to Panorama, the weekend magazine of The Canberra Times. Nigel has held residencies at Varuna - the National Writers’ House (Blue Mountains), Bundanon (Shoalhaven River), and the Kingsbridge Gatekeeper’s Cottage, Cataract Gorge, courtesy of the Launceston City Council; in late 2013 he will undertake a residency fellowship at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra.  Nigel is the founding editor of literary journal Verity La, for which he received a 2012 Canberra Critics Circle Award. Born and raised in Sydney, he lives in Goulburn on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.