33 lawyers Julian McMahon AC (TC 1986) and the Hon. Justice Geoffrey Nettle (TC 1974). With so many impressive alumni candidates across a wide range of areas, Lisa’s success is significant in celebrating the contribution of women to the arts. While studying and living at the College, Lisa remembers ‘very strong, impressive women’ in the arts at Trinity. ‘One of the things I feel privileged to have experienced at Trinity, was my contact with powerful, creative women,’ she says. ‘Susie King (TC 1988), who produced an amazing musical with Lucy Wilson (TC 1989), Mel Gray (aka Meow Meow) (TC 1988), Georgie Richter (TC 1989), Kiera Lindsey (TC 1989), and a lot of other women who have gone on to have careers in the arts. ‘There was also an opportunity to try things that you otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to try, and to spend time with people with other interests, and to discover their variety and their roundness and their quality of surprise.’ Fittingly, on a glorious autumn evening on her favourite reading spot at Trinity College, the Bulpadock, acclaimed poet, essayist and novelist, Dr Lisa Gorton (TC 1990) was awarded the Bill Cowan Alumnus of the Year Award 2017, an award that recognises outstanding achievements by a Trinity alumnus or alumna during the previous year. Lisa is a Rhodes Scholar and writer. She was the winner of the inaugural Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize in 1994, and won the 2008 Victorian Premier’s Award for Poetry for her collection of poems, Press Release. For her second poetry collection, Hotel Hyperion (2013) she received the 2014 Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal. In 2016, Lisa’s debut adult novel, The Life of Houses, was chosen as a joint winner of the Fiction Prize at the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, and the People’s Choice at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. The Life of Houses, which had initially started as a prose poem, was converted into a novel to give the work a stronger narrative. It explores a number of themes, including sex, class, family, love, death, change, and the pull of the past. Lisa received the Bill Cowan award at this year’s Drinks Under the Oak event, held this year on the Bulpadock. It was attended by a record 244 alumni from across several decades of the College. Lisa said she was a little embarrassed, but very honoured to be this year’s recipient of the award. ‘I feel so honoured to receive this medal, it’s named after Bill Cowan (TC 1963) for his really extraordinary commitment to the College, more than 20 years on the finance committee and more than five years as Chair,’ she said. The inaugural recipient of the award was Dr Jack Best AO (TC 1958), and the previous two winners were ALUMNA WINS BILL COWAN ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR AWARD THE BILL COWAN AWARD ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR 2017 BY TIM FLICKER Bill Cowan (TC 1963) and Lisa Gorton (TC 1990) standing as the sun sets on the Bul at Drinks Under the Oak in March. Lisa’s success is significant in celebrating the contribution of women to the arts.