This year five awards will be presented in the following categories: fiction (the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction); nonfiction (the Nettie Palmer Prize for Nonfiction); poetry (the CJ Dennis Prize for Poetry); drama (the Louis Esson Prize for Drama); and young adult (the Prize for Writing for Young Adults). The winner in each category will receive a cash prize of $25,000. In 2010, the fiction and nonfiction awards were each worth $30,000, while the poetry, drama and young adult fiction awards were each worth $15,000.
Sad as it makes me to admit it, if you attach dollar values to different literary genres then you are sending bright red neon signals about the other, less tangible ways in which they're valued. Sort of like paying women a smaller amount of money to do exactly the same job.
So it's excellent to see that poetry, drama and YA writing are now up there alongside the traditional big guns. Monetary value aside, it's an instant game-changer in that literary genres are now no longer being classified here into first-class and second-class citizens.