The winners of the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards were announced on 25 August 2021 at the State Library of Western Australia.

The categories and shortlist of finalists can be found at the State Library Western Australia

The Premier’s prize for an emerging writer was awarded to Rebecca Giggs for her non-fiction work about whales.


Fathoms : the world in the whale by Rebecca Giggs

Rebecca Giggs is a non-fiction writer from Perth who has published essays which focus on human connection to animals. This is her first book which explores the world of whales. The book was shortlisted for the Stella Prize in 2021.

Fathoms is an exploration of the whale’s place in the oceanic world and in our imagination. Blending natural history, philosophy and science, the writer takes us on a journey exploring our relationship to these gigantic creatures of the sea.

Written from a conservationist mindset, we are given scientific facts about whales, their complex physiology and life cycle interspersed with personal insights about the writer’s own whale encounters. It is a meandering , lyrical and interesting book about all things ‘whales’. 

It is nature writing with a strong and hopeful message about looking after the planet and the environment. It contains 25 pages of Further Reading which Rebecca Giggs used to inspire her writing. 


Book cover for ADD BOOK TITLE HERE

In the whale, Giggs truly does find the world. She finds clues that unlock how humans have engaged nature—tales of greed, aggression, wonder, desperation, longing, nostalgia, love, curiosity and obsession. 

Kelly Blewett


Beautifully written… Giggs does an extraordinary job of bringing together the science, the history, and the brilliance and fragility of whales.

Christine Keneally


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