Adelaide Biographer Wins National Award

An Unsentimental Bloke by Adelaide biographer,Philip Butterss, has won the prestigious 2015 National Biography Award.

An Unsentimental Bloke: The life and work of C.J. Dennis has just been announced as the winner of this year’s National Biography Award (Monday 3 august 2015).

At $25,000, the national Biography award is Australia’s richest prize for biographical writing and memoirs. it is a well deserved win for author Philip Butterss who was pleasantly surprised when he received the award earlier today at the state library of NSW. he commented that he had ‘no idea until the announcement’ and thanked everyone at Wakefield Press for ‘making this happen’.

the judges have praised Butterss for his deeply informed, illuminating and delightfully readable work hailing it as a ‘long overdue’,‘meticulously researched account of the life and times of CJ Dennis’.

NSW state librarian & chief executive Alex Byrne added:‘C.J. Dennis was an extraordinarily successful poet whose books were in every home although he has now fallen out of fashion. his rhymes and wry humour, his take on Australia’s growing cities were repeated by all with smiles on their faces.this new biography, An Unsentimental Bloke, will restore his prominent place in Australia’s rich literary landscape.’

the sentimental Bloke and Doreen are famous characters in Australian popular culture, but their creator deserves to be better known CJ Dennis transformed the larrikin from a street thug into
a respectable image of Australian identity, and helped shape the ANZAC legend. An Unsentimental Bloke traces CJ Dennis’s personal and literary struggles, his triumphs, and his profound impact on the ways that Australians see themselves. Many people have regarded Dennis himself as a sentimental bloke, but Butterss shows he was a much more complex and sometimes darker well as examining his humorous and lovable side, this biography is frank about Dennis’s struggles with alcohol and depression, his political activism, his marriage, and his financial dealings.

Philip Butterss grew up in Melbourne, studied at the university of Sydney, where he completed a Phd on Australian ballads, and now teaches Australian literature and film at the university of Adelaide. he has published widely on Australian cultural history and is currently working on a history of literary Adelaide.

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