Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand congratulates Yarning Strong: His Father’s Eyes author, Ali Cobby Eckermann, on winning one of the world’s richest literature prizes for her poetry.
The celebrated Indigenous poet and writer was one of eight recipients of the 2017 Windham-Campbell prize, who each received $215,000. The prizes were awarded to writers of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and drama.
Eckermann wrote His Father’s Eyes, part of the OUP ANZ and Laguna Bay Publishing Yarning Strong series. The Indigenous education series is aimed at young Australians aged between 10 and 14 and their teachers, introducing readers to the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. A committee of Indigenous educators guided the development and content of the series, which have all been written by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander authors.
His Father’s Eyes touches on the themes of absence of family, life changes, loss and fear of loss, and the discovery of strength through family.
Eckermann’s writing career began in 2009 with her first collection of poetry, Little Bit Long Time. Since then, she has published three collections of poetry, verse novels Ruby Moonlight and His Father’s Eyes and memoir Too Afraid to Cry, drawing on her experience as a member of the Stolen Generation. She is also the founder of the Aboriginal Writers’ Retreat.
The Windham-Campbell prize, established in 2013, aims to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work, independent of financial concerns.
English language writers from anywhere in the world are eligible, with recipients nominated confidentially by leaders in the literary field, and judged anonymously.