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Biblio Art Prize 2023
(established 2009)

Full exhibition online:

Grand Prize Shortlist:


Inspired by Search History by Amy Taylor

Judges' comments:  There’s a poignancy to what Yen Yen Lo has chosen to represent from the book. The glazed glossy melting ice-cream with the biscuity crunchiness of the raw ceramic cone and the grotesque wonky face is an out of control dripping mess. The judges thought “MSN Boy” a playful and heartfelt “analog”response to the online world of the protagonist. 


Judges' comments:  When viewed from a distance, “Drawing for the Settlement” appears  a familiar sepia-toned colonial coastal landscape. Closer inspection reveals the process of the making of the work - a painstaking build up of lines like seismic waves, each layer describing Australia’s evermore complex history.


Inspired by 'The Glass Abattoir' in JM Coetzee's The Pole & Other Stories

Judges' comments:  The judges responded to the power, the poetry and the ambiguity in this painting. The interwoven, tangled and angled legs and arms of the man and his goat make a strong composition. Is it a hold of comfort for the animal, or is it a struggle, a portent of the goats fate? There’s a lot going on in this painting.  Confident in its choice of colour, and simple in its subject matter, it packs a punch. 



Storyteller Prize

The Blarney Books & Art Storyteller Prize was awarded to Rebecca Rowe for her work, 'Maelstrom'. We felt that with her sculptural piece she captured the feelings in Sophie Cunningham's novel This Devastating Fever of an overwhelming confluence of life and creative ideas, of an overflow of not only the richness of life but also of the obstacles, and the humour. It's a delightfully playful and thoughtful work.

Rebecca receives a cash prize of $1000.

Fennessy Fine Art Prize

The Fennessy Fine Art Prize, sponsored by and selected by Helen & Ben Fennessy, is this year awarded to Alison McIntosh for her work, The Apology, which was inspired by the novel A Routine Infidelity by Elizabeth Coleman. Alison's artist statement reads: ‘The Apology” is a work inspired by the book: A Routine Infidelity by Elizabeth Coleman. It is a story of a woman who is a private investigator who with her little dog is trekking down clients partners who are living duplicitous lives. But in fact she carries her own dark secret. This artwork captures a pivotal moment where she is forced to confront her own hidden truths. At this moment she realises that the act of an apology is both liberating and enlightening. The bird seems a perfect metaphor for this sentiment. Alison wins a package valued at $1000 - a two night stay at the Killarney Beach Retreat, and an art/printmaking workshop with Ben Fennessy. 


The Starving Artist Prize

The Starving Artist Prize, sponsored by and selected by Coffin Sally and Time & Tide on the High Seas, is this year awarded to Robert Gatt for his work, The Boat, which was inspired by the novel Limberlost by Robbie Arnott. Alison's artist statement reads: "I based my piece on the book Limberlost by Robbie Arnott. It is a beautiful book where the words wash over you like warm water. Ned, the protagonist, shoots rabbits to sell to the army to make slouch hats so that he can buy a boat. Ned, as a very young child, sits in the boat hands off the tiller with a quoll, and a rabbit wearing an army great coat. This scene does not appear anywhere in the book, but I feel it recreates the poetry. Winding a handle at the front of the sculpture makes the boat rock gently as a whale surfaces behind. This piece has been mainly digitally sculpted, 3d printed, and hand painted. I like this process because it allows me to try different iterations with minor changes." Robert wins a package which includes a cash prize of $250, and meals at Coffin Sally and Time & Tide on the High Seas.

NB: Artists do not have to be starving to win this prize. This is a prize created to include the local community and build a sense of fun. So many art prizes are oh-so serious.


The Boat by Robert Gatt

inspired by limberlost by Robbie Arnott

People's Choice Winner

The People's Choice winner, which is decided by the artwork receiving the greatest number of votes in-store over the length of the exhibition, was awarded to Lorena Carrington for her photographic montage, Deep Waters, which was inspired by Hydra, the novel by Adriane Howell. Lorena's statement reads: "Adriane Howell's HYDRA is an darkly elegant, unsettling read, and I wanted to reflect that sense of uneasy but intense beauty. I had also been wanting to experiment with format, and this was a great chance to go tall. Or deep, I suppose... The ocean is a great metaphor for the deep, dark parts of our internal selves, and so are the imaginary monsters within it: grasping yet ungraspable, what we don't see is what we fear most. But, of course, there is so much splendour in the unknown too." Lorena wins $1000 for this prize.



Artists enter the competition by submitting a registration with a one-off payment of $25. You are then allocated a random book title. You, the artist, will read the book, and then create an artwork inspired by it.


The actual book can be obtained from any source - it is not required that you purchase the book from Blarney Books & Art. It can be borrowed from the library (did you know authors receive royalties for library borrowings?). The point is that the book informs the artwork. Through this competition, we aim to highlight and support our Australian/NZ authors, and put books into your hands which you might not have otherwise picked up.

Artists from anywhere across Australia and New Zealand are eligible. We encourage all artists to enter - from amateur to professional, young and old. Any and all mediums welcome.

PLEASE NOTE: Artists 18 years old and under are welcome to enter without any entry fee, and are welcome to choose their own book (by an Australian author) to use as inspiration. In this case, you only need to complete the form at the time of submission (indicating your age). 

Artists have from the date of entry to end of October to complete their works. From the images submitted via our online submission forms over November, a selection will be made for our Summer exhibition. From those exhibited, the Grand Prize will be selected by independent judges, as well as a raft of other prizes (see below).


2023 PRIZES 


(Non-acquisitive): $2000

Independent Judges: TBC


(Non-acquisitive) $1000

(Selected & sponsored by Blarney Books & Art)


$500 cash prize donated by RWR McDonald

1 night Bed & Breakfast in a Queen Suite and dinner to $150

at Port Fairy's exclusive Merrijig Inn = total $350


$250 cash prize from Coffin Sally Pizza

Grand High Tea for 2 at Time & Tide Tearooms 


$250 (Sponsored by Koroit's Laughing Halfpenny)

2 nights accommodation at Killarney Beach Retreat

plus a painting or printmaking workshop with Ben.
(Value $1000) 


$1000 (Votes taken throughout the length of the exhibition,
counted and awarded at the close of the exhibition.)


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