Arnold Zable receives the 2021 Australia Council Award

April 19, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Melbourne-based author Arnold Zable is one of the eight recipients of the 2021 Australia Council Awards.

Arnold Zable

The peer-nominated awards recognise outstanding and sustained contributions in music, literature, community arts and cultural development, emerging and experimental arts, visual arts, theatre and dance.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher congratulated the recipients.

He said: “Cultural and creative expression add to the richness and diversity of our national life, something which has been reinforced through the COVID-19 pandemic as Australians have turned to arts and culture for inspiration, connection and well-being.”

He added: “The Australia Council Awards are a fitting recognition of the distinguished contribution the recipients have made to cultural, economic and social well-being through their art forms and practice.”

In lieu of a physical awards event, this year’s recipients will be showcased in a series of online presentations which will be streamed on the Australia Council website from 19 April at

Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette said: “Everyone is invited to join us in celebrating the contributions of eight remarkable Australian artists, who each in their own way reflects the vibrancy of Australia’s diverse cultural life.”

Arts and creativity reflect who we are as a nation, helping us to see different perspectives and understand and connect across different experiences and cultures. They are crucial in understanding and shaping our sense of national identity.

Arnold Zable told J-Wire: “I am very touched by receiving this award, especially since it was first announced on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which broke out on April 19, 1943. These brave fighters have been my lifelong mentors and inspiration. They embodied courage and defiance of their brutal oppressors in the darkest of times. They stood up for their people, and for the spirit of human resistance. Eli Wiesel has said: there are stories to be told and not to tell them is to betray them.

My writing has been driven by a need to tell such stories, in all their shades of light and darkness, and by a passion for life, its beauty, as well as its demands and challenges. It has been a privilege to practice this vocation, and an honour to be recognised for it by the Australia Council in this way.”

Arnold Zable received the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature.

His works include the memoir Jewels and Ashes, three novels: Café Scheherazade, Scraps of Heaven, and Sea of Many Returns, and collections of stories: The Fig Tree, Violin Lessons, The Fighter and The Watermill. With his books, essays, articles, plays and others stories, Arnold shares his unique understanding of memory, history, displacement and community.

Arnold has worked in the USA, Papua New Guinea, China, and across Europe and Southeast Asia. In 1998 he worked with curators to produce the script for Victoria’s Immigration Museum. He is a University lecturer and can often be found at writers’ festivals across the country.

In 2013, Arnold received the Voltaire award for the promotion of free speech and human rights advocacy. He is a patron of Sanctuary, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the Eastweb Foundation, the Victorian Storytellers Guild, and a former member of the Victorian Immigration Museum advisory committee. He was also president of Melbourne Centre – PEN International – for many years.


One Response to “Arnold Zable receives the 2021 Australia Council Award”
  1. David Itzkowic says:

    mazaltov Arnold, well deserved !

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