Arnold Zable’s lifetime achievement honour
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Arnold Zable’s lifetime achievement honour

Author Arnold Zable has been honoured by the Australia Council for his writing which spans more than three decades.

AUTHOR Arnold Zable has been honoured by the Australia Council with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement in Literature award.

The award was announced this week in recognition of the contribution his writing and follows an Australia Council fellowship for literature that he received in 2017. 

The Australia Council held an online ceremony which also recognised seven other recipients in different categories including musician William Barton and visual artist Vivienne Binns.

The Melbourne-based author of books including Jewels and Ashes (1991), Wanderers and Dreamers (1998), Cafe Scheherazade (2001), The Fig Tree (2002), Violin Lessons (2011) and The Watermill (2020) said he was surprised but delighted at the Australia Council award.

Arnold Zable. Photo: AJN file/Peter Haskin

“I am very touched by the award – you don’t expect them to come along,” he told The AJN.

“Many memories come to mind at times like this, with each of my books being a journey.”

This year the Australia Council pre-recorded interviews with all the winners and is posting them on its website this week. Zable’s interview was recorded at the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre in Elsternwick with background music by Gideon Preiss, a member of The Bashevis Singers.

“At the heart of literature is empathy and compassion and putting yourself in other people’s shoes and seeing it through their eyes,” he said.

“I write a lot in cafes, because I like the sense of humanity around me of being connected, and of course my book Cafe Scheherazade was centred in a cafe.”

Further coverage in this week’s AJN.

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