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Subhash wins ACT Book of the Year.

Subhash Jaireth receives a Critics’ Circle Award in 2020. Photo: Peter Hislop

VETERAN Canberra poet and essayist Subhash Jaireth was announced today (September 29) as the winner of the $10,000 2021 ACT Book of the Year for his collection of essays, ‘Spinoza’s Overcoat’.

Her award-winning book uses the essay form to explore the lives of writers, poets and their journeys.

Jaireth, who received a Canberra Critics’ Circle award in 2020 for his poetry production, accepted the award while reciting a poem.

Describing him as a writer of international significance, the judges commented: “This major achievement takes a broad literary perspective, pushing the form and progression of poetics. It is first-rate cultural criticism, in a bold and rare voice, moving and uplifting. Subhash Jaireth is a superb writer, poet and researcher, and above all true to himself.

Born in India, Jaireth spent nine years in Russia studying geology and Russian literature before migrating to Australia and Canberra, where he became a respected member of the literary community.

He has published poetry in Hindi, English and Russian and even presented a play about Russian author Anton Chekov’s family at the Street Theatre.

ACT Book of the Year 2021

  • Winner:Spinoza’s overcoat” by Subhash Jaireth
  • Strongly recommended:Oil in Troubled Waters » by Bernard Colleery
  • Strongly recommended:Doggerland” by Moya Pacey
  • Selected: “Absolutely” by Dr PS Cottier
  • Selected: “Close” by Dr. Penelope Layland
  • Selected: “The Portnoy Trials” by Dr. Patrick Mullins


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Ian Meikle, editor