An award given biennially by the Society of Women Writers Victoria to an outstanding woman author in Australia who writes books for children.
SWWV is offering the Nance Donkin Award biennially to perpetuate the memory of a benefactor to our branch, who was a dynamic and longtime member. Nance had expressed her wish that we validate authors of books for children, and made a gift to help have this done by the Victorian SWW.
We would like each of our sister Societies to nominate one or two authors who fit the criteria. When we have received your nominations, we will ask a suitable judge to choose the recipient from these nominations. We intend to give the award in June So we need to receive nominations before mid-May.
There will be a perpetual trophy, the Nance Donkin Trophy, which we are currently having sculpted.
About Nance Donkin
by Errol Broome
Nance Donkin AM 1915 - 2008
Nance Donkin was a pioneer and leading light in the world of Australian literature for children. She played a prominent role, too, in many other fields of learning. Nance began her writing career at the age of sixteen as the Maitland Daily Mercury's first female journalist. She continued in journalism on the Newcastle Herald and later, having married and settled in Melbourne, on ABC radio and television.
Nance's first book for children “Araluen Adventures” was published in 1946, and eighteen more were to follow, most with a historical setting. She became a respected reviewer of children's books and a force in the promotion of Australian children's literature. As president of the Victorian branch of the Children's Book Council from 1967 - 1975, Nance initiated a period of development, pushing for travel grants to enable authors to visit country schools. Her own writing continued throughout the 1970s with “House by the Water” and “Johny Neptune,” both novels set in the NSW convict era. A love of research and gift for words led to a string of successful novels for children.
In 1986, Nance was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the community in the fields of children's literature and adult education. Her series of CAE lectures on women in Australian history resulted in two books highlighting the roles of women. In 1990, she was awarded the Society's Alice.
Nance was a reader who held strong feminist and political views, and opened her mind to all current issues. She also possessed a spontaneous sense of humour. She will be remembered by the Society of Women Writers Victoria for her long-time support as member and benefactor. The biennial Nance Donkin Award, a fitting memorial to Nance's contribution to the children of Australia, was in planning before the time of her death in April 2008 and, with the support of her family, will be awarded for the first time this year.
The Nance Donkin Award sculpted by Lisa Herbert ('Herbs')