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Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2019 shortlists announced

The shortlists for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have been announced.

The shortlisted titles in each category are:



  • A Certain Light: A memoir of family, loss and hope (Cynthia Banham, A&U)
  • Axiomatic (Maria Tumarkin, Brow Books)
  • Half the Perfect World: Writers, dreamers and drifters on Hydra, 1955–1964 (Paul Genoni & Tanya Dalziell, Monash University Publishing)
  • Rusted Off: Why country Australia is fed up (Gabrielle Chan, Vintage)
  • The Arsonist: A mind on fire (Chloe Hooper, Hamish Hamilton)

Australian history

  • Dancing in Shadows: Histories of Nyungar performance (Anna Haebich, UWA Publishing)
  • Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering ancient Australia (Billy Griffiths, Black Inc.)
  • The Bible in Australia: A cultural history (Meredith Lake, NewSouth)
  • The Land of Dreams: How Australians won their freedom, 1788–1860 (David Kemp, The Miegunyah Press)
  • You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians who won the vote and inspired the world (Clare Wright, Text)


  • Blakwork (Alison Whittaker, Magabala)
  • Click here for what we do (Pam Brown, Vagabond)
  • Newcastle Sonnets (Keri Glastonbury, Giramondo)
  • Sun Music: New and selected poems (Judith Beveridge, Giramondo)
  • Viva the Real (Jill Jones, UQP)

Children’s fiction

  • His Name Was Walter (Emily Rodda, HarperCollins)
  • Sonam and the Silence (Eddie Ayres, illus by Ronak Taher, A&U)
  • The Feather (Margaret Wild, illus by Freya Blackwood, Little Hare)
  • The Incredible Freedom Machines (Kirli Saunders, illus by Matt Ottley, Scholastic)
  • Waiting for Chicken Smith (David Mackintosh, Little Hare)

Young adult fiction

  • Between Us (Clare Atkins, Black Inc.)
  • Cicada (Shaun Tan, Lothian)
  • Lenny’s Book of Everything (Karen Foxlee, A&U)
  • The Art of Taxidermy (Sharon Kernot, Text)
  • The Things That Will Not Stand (Michael Gerard Bauer, Omnibus).

The winners in each category will receive $80,000 and the shortlisted writers each receive $5000. All prizes are tax-free.

The winners will be announced later this year. To read the judges’ comments for each shortlisted book, see the website.


Category: Awards Local news