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Since 1997 the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal for Excellence in Literature has been chosen by a single judge. It is awarded to an Australian writer whose work best reflects the high standards and distinguished literary accomplishments that Philip Hodgins consistently advocated and exemplified in his poetry.

The judge for the last three years has been Barry Hill who has performed his role with care and consideration, selecting David Malouf and Helen Garner as his first two recipients. Paul Carter, the 2020 recipient, will be receiving $5000 from the festival and a locally crafted medal in its own box.

Paul Carter writes, draws and co-designs places. Coming from the UK, via Spain and Italy, he derives his material from ‘the migrant condition’. In books like The Road to Botany BayThe Lie of the Land and Meeting Place he has proposed new forms of cross-cultural communication. He believes that the way we name and describe the world is ethical: poetics is politics. He has written extensively about the Mallee in Ground Truthing (2010) but also has deep links to memory sites in Berlin and Venice. His poems (Ecstacies and Elegies) explore the relationship between the plenitude of existence and the suffering of loss. His creative practice, Material Thinking, is named for a book published in 2004: it has produced a number of well-known projects including Nearamnew at Federation Square. He is also professor of design at RMIT University.

Barry Hill has won Premier’s Awards for poetry, non-fiction and the essay. His most recent book is Reason and Lovelessness: Essays, Encounters, Reviews 1980 – 2017, which derives from his major works, including Broken Song and Peacemongers. His poetic works include major studies of William Buckley and the celebrated English painter, Lucian Freud, which was shortlisted for the UK’s Forward Prize. His short fiction has been widely anthologized. His selected poems, Eagerly We Burn, has recently been released by Shearsman Books in the UK. His new book of poems is Kind Fire.

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