Shortlist year: 2015

Shortlist category: Children's literature

Published by: Allen & Unwin

In One Minute's Silence you can imagine sprinting up the beach in Gallipoli in 1915 with the fierce fighting Diggers, but can you imagine standing beside the brave battling Turks as they defended their homeland from the cliffs above...

In One Minute's Silence, you are the story, and the story is yours to imagine, remember and honour the brothers in arms on both sides of the conflict, heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives.

A moving and powerful reflection on the meaning of Remembrance Day.

About the author


David Metzenthen

David Metzenthen lives in and loves Melbourne. He was an advertising copywriter and a builder's labourer before turning to fiction.

He tries to surf, fly-fish, and is a keen environmentalist. The natural world is where he likes to spend his time, and he endeavours to write books that are thoughtful and well-crafted.

He is married to Fiona, has two children, two parrots, and a good Irish Terrier dog.

About the illustrator

Michael Camilleri

Michael Camilleri is a Melbourne artist who creates books, comics and visual theatre.

His illustration work features in The Devil You Know by Leonie Norrington and on the album art and accompanying picture book for Martin Martini's Vienna 1913.

He lives with his partner Katherine and their son Ruben.

Judges' comments

When we pause to reflect on the experiences of Australian soldiers at war, we may well wonder what the experience was really like. One Minute's Silence opens with a diverse group of high school students seated in rows as the clock ticks towards eleven. One student puts his head on the desk and begins to imagine. But the soldiers and people fighting this war are not others, they are us.

Writer David Metzenthen retells the failed Gallipoli campaign in words that call to us to reflect and imagine 'when twelve thousand wild colonial boys dashed across the shivering Turkish sand in the pale light of a dairy farmer's dawn lashed with flying lead'. Uniquely, this picture book tells the story from Australian and Turkish perspectives.

Michael Camilleri's illustrations dramatise the text by showing us teenagers from that same classroom transposed onto a foreign shore to suffer and endure what we can only imagine. His images track the battle and work like an exploded diagram, breaking down to detail the fighting and death so that we can't look away.

Metzenthen and Camilleri plunge us deep into the conflict and then go further, closing with Kemal Atatürk's famous words:'After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well'. This is a book that stays long in the memory, a powerful combination of resonant language and raw, human images.