Novelist and poet John A. Scott wins David Harold Tribe Fiction Award

The University of Sydney’s Department of English was pleased to present the David Harold Tribe Fiction Award 2014 to novelist and poet John A. Scott on Friday evening.

The $12,000 prize for a short work of literature was given to Scott for his piece Picasso: A Shorter Life. The expert judging panel consisted of Director of Creative Writing at the University of Sydney, Associate Professor Kate Lilley, leading Australian novelist Fiona McFarlane, and author and literary journalist Ed Wright.

“The judges agreed that John Scott’sĀ Picasso: A Shorter Life was a worthy winner. Its numbered prose passages form an arresting poetic biography of Picasso and his unfortunate lovers, at once spare and melodramatic, elegantĀ and brutal,” said Associate Professor Kate Lilley.

John A. Scott explains that his winning tale “tells, in a series of vignettes, the story of how the artist destroyed the lives of his wives and mistresses – especially those who were trying to build an artistic profile of their own.

“The more I researched into his activities, the more I disliked him. Mostly, the truth was bizarre enough, but on occasion I introduced lies because he deserved it,” said Scott.

The award is designed to encourage the writing of fiction and promote interest in Australian fiction generally, and was open to writers across the nation.

“The David Harold Tribe Fiction Award is an important step in the daunting journey to visibility,” said Scott. “To win something like the Tribe gives you encouragement – something of which authors receive far too little.

“Getting the news was the most wonderful thing that’s happened for a long while.”

The award was made possible by a donation from David Harold Tribe through the David Harold Tribe Charitable Foundation. The Fiction Award
forms part of a comprehensive awards program that supports a diverse range of cultural pursuits at the University of Sydney. The program offers five prizes worth $12,000 each in the areas of fiction, poetry, philosophy, sculpture and symphony. These categories rotate each year to inspire ingenuity in artistic fields that are often overlooked when it comes to charitable support.

This is the second David Harold Tribe Fiction Award, the first of which was awarded to Patrick Mountford in 2009 for his short story Theobald, Tailor.