ASAL is an Australian association which was established with the purpose to keep the Australian literature and literary culture alive through promotion, cooperation with literature teachers, scholars, and writers.
The ASAL helps Australian writers and authors in many ways, and their major activities include an annual conference which attracts many participants and attendees, publishing journals and newsletters, as well as offering financial support for publishing purposes, and the Association has already officially sponsored several books.
The History of ASAL
The history of ASAL and its beginnings go way back to the end of the 19th century when it merged with the Australian Literature Society in 1899. ASAL developed on a steady path becoming an influential Association that also added awards for literary accomplishments since the 1980s. ASAL takes care of the country’s literary heritage and successfully contributes to its recognition at the international level.
Awards by ASAL
Their best known award is the ALS Gold Medal that is given every year to an author of a literary work. There is also the Mary Gilmore Award which is awarded to postgraduate students for their accomplishments. The Walter McRae Russell Award used to be an award given to rising authors who had great potential to establish themselves as true and long-lasting writers before the mid-1990s, but now the award also includes established authors who write about an Australian subject.
The Margarey Medal for Biography is a prize awarded every two years only to female writers who wrote an award-winning piece on an Australian biographic subject. This award gives women the opportunity also to contribute in their own right as female writers. The ASAL also occasionally gives the P.P. Phillips Prize to those whose work or paper contributed to Australian literature.
The ASAL accepts members and the membership is based on an annual basis, but some of the biggest contributors to the Australian literature acquired the status of lifelong members. One of them is Clement Christeen who was the founder of the Australian literary magazine. Judith Wright, an outstanding Australian poet known for her activism for the rights of aboriginal peoples, got also a lifelong membership card among several others.