Robert Kenny has won the 2008 Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History for his book The Lamb Enters the Dreaming: Nathanael Pepper and the ruptured world. Robert is a co-winner with Tom Griffiths.
The judges described the book as ‘truly original, surprising and profound.’
Robert Kenny will receive his prize of $50,000 and a gold medallion on 14 July at a ceremony in Canberra.
The prize money couldn’t be more timely, as Robert Kenny sadly lost his house and all his possession in the fires of Black Saturday at Redesdale, Victoria.
‘I feel so greatly honoured and gratified to receive this prize. When an historian takes chances in the endeavour to understand the past and how that past still lives within us, there is always the fear of being unheard, or even lampooned, but the reception The Lamb Enters the Dreaming has received — with this prize from the Prime Minister as its crowning point — has vindicated the approach taken as an important means by which we can touch again our troubling past,’ said Kenny.
The Advisory Committee in their judgement remarks said that ‘The Lamb Enters the Dreaming is a scholarly yet accessible book, elegantly written and powerfully argued. Kenny is meticulous in his use of existing sources: but he also goes beyond that and shows how historical imagination is not the enemy of accuracy.’
The Lamb Enters the Dreaming: Nathanael Pepper and the ruptured world also won the the First Book of History Award in the 2008 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and was the winner of the Australian History Association’s W.K. Hancock prize 2008.
Robert Kenny is currently an ARC Research Fellow at La Trobe University.