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Books about media mogul Hector Crawford, Norway’s oil industry, Wall Street’s First African American millionaire and colonial businesswomen in Sydney are all contenders for Australia’s richest and most prestigious award for business writing, the State Library of NSW announced today.

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The following authors and titles have been shortlisted for the $30,000 2016 Ashurst Business Literature Prize:

  • Rozzi Bazzani – Hector (Australian Scholarly Inc.)
  • Catherine Bishop – Minding Her Own Business: Colonial Businesswomen in Sydney (NewSouth)
  • Paul Cleary – Trillion Dollar Baby: How Norway Beat the Oil Giants and Won a Lasting Fortune (Black Inc.)
  • Shane White – Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire (St Martin’s Press)

The shortlist was selected by an independent judging panel comprising Richard Fisher AM, General Counsel and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Sydney; leading business journalist and Walkley Foundation Board member, Narelle Hooper; and Margie Seale, a Non-Executive Director of Telstra Corporation, Bank of Queensland and Ramsay Health Care and former CEO of Random House Australia and New Zealand. 

Chair of the judging panel, Richard Fisher AM, commented: “The diverse shortlisted books this year cover three continents and two centuries, from an account of Wall Street’s first black millionaire in the nineteenth century, to the establishment of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund in the twentieth.”

Ashurst Vice-Chairman Mary Padbury comments: "Now in its 14th year, the Ashurst Business Literature Prize continues to attract exceptional works and set the standard for business literature in Australia. This year's shortlisted authors have explored a variety of interesting stories in ways that contribute to a deeper understanding of the past and present."

The award was established by law firm Ashurst (formerly Blake Dawson) and the State Library of NSW to encourage the highest possible standards of literary commentary on Australian business and financial affairs, written by an Australian author. 

Acting NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive, Lucy Milne said: “The range of topics covered by this year’s shortlisted books demonstrates how the genre of Australian business writing is thriving. The Library and its Foundation are thankful for Ashurst’s establishment and ongoing support of this unique award.”

The winner will be announced at a special presentation dinner on 29 March 2017.

Background information:

  • Books nominated for the 2016 Ashurst Business Literature Prize must have been first published between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016 and be commercially available in Australia within this period.
  • Writers whose works are nominated must be living Australian citizens or persons holding permanent resident status.
  • Last year’s prize was won by author and antiquarian book publisher Stuart Kells for Penguin and the Lane Brothers (Black Inc.).

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