Kate Cole-Adams crowned this year’s Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award winner

23 November 2017


Waverley Council is delighted to announce Anaesthesia: The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness by Kate Cole-Adams, the winner of the 2017 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award.

The Nib is one of Australia’s most prestigious literary awards and the only major literary award run by a Local Council.  A total of $30,000 worth of prizes was on offer this year.

The official announcement was made this morning at a special breakfast event in North Bondi, hosted by ABC 702’s Richard Glover.

Melbourne-based writer and journalist, Kate Cole-Adams has worked for publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age (where until recently she trained reporters in writing and storytelling) and as a senior writer for Time Magazine Australia.

Anaesthesia, her second book, is a haunting, lyrical, sometimes shattering, tale about what happens in between going under anaesthetic and waking up. It leavens science with personal experience to bring an intensely human curiosity to the unknowable realm beyond consciousness.

Waverley Mayor, John Wakefield congratulated Ms. Cole-Adams and the five other short-listed winners for this significant achievement.

“Warmest congratulations to Kate Cole-Adams on winning the Nib Award for her outstanding book. This win is a testament to Kate’s exceptional research.”

“The judges had a difficult decision in reducing entries to a selection of just six as many of the entries were of equal calibre.

“Congratulations also to Ashleigh Wilson and David Dufty, both of their brilliant books have been recognised in their individual categories,” he said.

Head Judge Jamie Grant, described Ms. Cole-Adams’ book as a “masterpiece.”

“In Anaesthesia, Kate Cole-Adams has written a book that defies familiar categories. It is a personal memoir, a history, a scientific study, and a philosophical enquiry into the unconscious, and by drawing all these strands together the author has delivered a masterpiece.”

Cole-Adams is also the recipient of the Alex Buzo shortlist prize and along with five other authors who each received a $1,000 prize. The other winners include:

  • Richard Fidler, Ghost Empire (Harper Collins)
  • Bruce Munday, Those Wild Rabbits: How they shaped Australia (Wakefield Press)
  • Madeleine O’Dea, The Phoenix Years: Art, resistance and the making of modern China (Allen and Unwin)
  • Sebastian Smee , The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art (Text Publishing)
  • Ashleigh Wilson, Brett Whiteley: Art, Life and the Other Thing (Text Publishing)

Since the announcement of the shortlist in mid-September, there has been a tremendous response from members of the public who have voted for their favourite book. The winner of the People’s Choice Prize was Brett Whiteley: Life, Death and the Other thing by Ashleigh Wilson. This is Ashleigh’s first book and he received an additional $1000 Prize.

Wilson’s acclaimed biography of Whiteley reveals for the first time the full portrait of one of Australia’s most celebrated artists whose artistic career was bolstered by his celebrity status in Australia and overseas.

Written over four years with cooperation from Whiteley’s wife Wendy, the book includes illustrations from the late artist, rare notebook sketches and candid family photos to which Wilson had unprecedented behind-the-scenes access.

An annual Military History Prize of $3000 is also awarded for literary works that illustrates military, social or cultural aspects of war from an Australian perspective.

This year’s Military History Prize is awarded to David Dufty for The Secret Code-Breakers of Central Bureau: how Australia’s signals-intelligence network helped win the Pacific War.

Secret Code-Breakers is a ground-breaking work of Australian military history which tells the story of the country’s significant code-breaking and signals-intelligence achievements during the Second World War. It reveals how Australians built a large and sophisticated intelligence network from scratch and how Australian code-breakers cracked Japanese army and air force codes. These code-breakers played a vital role in the battles of Midway, Milne Bay, the Coral Sea, Hollandia, and Leyte.

“Being principal sponsors of such a significant award is a real honour. We have been privileged to see first-hand how important this recognition and these prizes are to our winning writers.  We are thrilled to be able to be support such talented researchers and writers and celebrate the best in Australian literature,” said co-sponsor Evette Moran.

Mayor of Waverley, John Wakefield said he is extremely proud that Council supports the Nib Award.

“The Nib is one of Council’s flagship cultural programs. For 16 years we have rewarded many deserving authors. This award is held in high esteem in the national literary community and we look forward to supporting more Australian writers through the Nib Award in years to come.”

The Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award is proudly presented by Waverley Council and substantially supported by Mark and Evette Moran, Gertrude and Alice Bookshop and Café, Friends of the Waverley Library and Bondi Junction, North Bondi and Rose Bay RSL sub-branches.