12 March 200912 March 2009 Main Posts Congratulations, Christos Tsiolkas Jeff Sparrow The Slap‘s now won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for South East Asia and the Pacific. Nice — and characteristic — quote from Christos here. Tsiolkas’s book was up against Helen Garner’s The Spare Room, Tim Winton’s Breath, Joan London’s The Good Parents, Aravind Adiga’s Between The Assassinations and New Zealander Paula Morris’s Forbidden Cities in the regional category. “Competition is a weird thing in the arts — how do you judge between such different writers?” Tsiolkas said before the ceremony yesterday. The real reward, he said, was being acknowledged in such accomplished company. And, he added, “It’s nice to know Mum and Dad will be proud of this.” In the three months since it came out in November, The Slap has sold 35,000 copies, according to publisher Allen & Unwin. But Tsiolkas said books could not be written with sales or prizes in mind. “I wanted to write a contemporary novel set in my suburban world,” he said. The Slap is about the ramifications of a man slapping someone else’s child at a backyard barbecue. The Australian’s reviewer, Venero Armanno, wrote of it: “It’s often said that the best politicians are those who can instinctively divine the zeitgeist of their country’s centre. For the ones who can’t, I would place The Slap as mandatory bedside table reading.” The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, which is chaired by an Australian, Nicholas Hasluck, was established in 1987 to reward the best authors writing in English across the Commonwealth. New Zealand author Mo Zhi Hong won the regional prize for best first book for The Year of The Shanghai Shark. Jeff Sparrow Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland. More by Jeff Sparrow Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 11 November 202211 November 2022 Main Posts On the last day of Subscriberthon, our amazing online editor gives you one last (very good) reason to subscribe Editorial team What's in store for the last day of Subscriberthon? First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202210 November 2022 Main Posts On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, our favourite editor-duo give you reason #1002 to subscribe to Overland Editorial team What's in store for the second-last day of Subscriberthon?