View from the Lucky Hotel wins National Poetry Award

The Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) has announced that View from the Lucky Hotel by Sandy Fitts has won the prestigious Anne Elder Award 2008 for the “best first poetry collection published in Australia in 2008.”

The result was announced on 1 May 2009 at the FAW National Literary Awards presentation ceremony in the setting of Ormond Hall, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne. The FAW Awards are highly competitive and attract hundreds of entries from every state of Australia.

The judges of the FAW Anne Elder Award 2008 were poets Connie Barber and Jennifer Harrison. Their report paid tribute to the book’s “innovative poetics”, and to “the literary skill and humanity of a mature intelligence.”

Versatile in form and diverse in subject matter, the poems in View from the Lucky Hotel cover a lot of territory — central Australia, Melbourne, Berlin, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, as well as Merseyside, Surrey and Yorkshire, where Fitts lived as a child. Other poems fly in aeroplanes, ride motorbikes, or spend the day in bed.

“Droll, zestful, tender, complicated, meditative, companionable both with persons and with their things — Sandy Fitts’ poems invite the reader into tout le monde.” writes poet Peter Steele on the book’s cover.

About half of the poems in View from the Lucky Hotel are located in Hanoi. When writing the book, Fitts visited Vietnam and researched over a number of years. “Closed off since the Vietnam War ended in 1975, Vietnam was beginning to open its doors to the outside world,” says Fitts, “It was early days in the meshing of communism, totalitarianism, with capitalism and consumerism. And at street level, excitement, ambivalence, and wonder.”

  • Extract of a press release from 5 Islands Press.