The Big Fella wins Blake Dawson Award for Business Literature

THE BIG FELLA: The Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton by Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin published by Nikki Christer at Random House Australia, has beaten twelve competitors to win this year’s prestigious Blake Dawson Award for Business Literature.

The book tells the compelling story of how BHP and its partner Billiton rose from the humblest beginnings in the Australian outback and on the Indonesian island of Belitung to starry heights on the great bourses of the world. Based on more than 60 exclusive interviews, it rips away the superficial gloss to expose the political and industrial forces that really drive big business in the 21st Century.

The $30,000 prize was launched by Blake Dawson, a leading international law firm, in 2004 and is the largest in Australia for business writing. The award is acknowledged as being one of the nation’s most important awards for business literature, attracting many impressive entries and covering a wide range of topics each year.

The judges – The Hon Mahla Pearlman, Professor Richard Fisher, George Maltby and Alan Cameron – chose The Big Fella from a shortlist of four titles. Guest speaker Thomas Keneally, author of Shindler’s Ark, Gossip from the Forest among others, announced the winner at a dinner in Sydney on April 27.

Peter Thompson, who lives in London and who had flown to Sydney for the occasion, said, ‘We’re delighted and honoured to have won this award. We’ve written five books together as co-authors and it looks like we’ve finally got the hang of it. With Robert working in Canberra and me in London, we exchanged chapters via the internet and the time difference meant we could turn our work around very quickly, often within a 24-hour cycle.’

Thompson’s fifteenth book, Anzac Fury: The Bloody Battle of Crete 1941, was published in Australia on April 1 this year. The subject of his first book, written with Anthony Delano in 1988, was an unauthorised biography of the fraudster Robert Maxwell.