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Go Sleepers go!

Things we didn't see comingNice to see Steven Amsterdam’s Things We Didn’t See Coming, the first full length piece of fiction from indie publisher, Sleepers Publishing, take out The Age Book of the Year Award on Friday night (Guy Rundle’s account of the US Presidential election, Down to the Crossroads took out the Non-Fiction Award, while Peter Porter’s Better Than God won the Poetry Award). It’s a fantastic result for Sleepers, and more particularly for Sleepers’ founders, Louise Swinn and Zoe Dattner, who seem to me to be an object lesson in just how much you can achieve if you set your mind to it. Six years ago they were organizing readings in a Melbourne pub, a year later they used the readings as the springboard for the first Sleepers Almanac, now they’re publishing full-length fiction and winning major awards. Bloody legends, both of them.

On a more personal note, I’d like to extend my congratulations to the organizers and judges of The Age Book of the Year Award for being prepared to accommodate books which – like Amsterdam’s post-apocalyptic narrative – venture beyond the usually fairly confined territory of literary fiction. As a past winner of the award, and a past winner who won for what was essentially a science fiction novel (The Deep Field), it’s really refreshing to see some of the old preconceptions about what constitutes capital “L” literature being set aside.

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