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Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2023 shortlists announced

Creative Australia has announced the titles shortlisted for the 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

The shortlisted titles in each category are:



  • Shirley Hazzard: A writing life (Brigitta Olubas, Virago)
  • We Come With This Place (Debra Dank, Echo)
  • Indelible City: Dispossession and defiance in Hong Kong (Louisa Lim, Text)
  • My Father and Other Animals: How I took on the family farm (Sam Vincent, Black Inc.)
  • A World in a Shell: Snail stories for a time of extinctions (Thom van Dooren, MIT Press)

Australian history

  • Elizabeth and John: The Macarthurs of Elizabeth Farm (Alan Atkinson, NewSouth)
  • Justice in Kelly Country: The story of the cop who hunted Australia’s most notorious bushrangers (Lachlan Strahan, Monash University Publishing)
  • Saving the Reef: The human story behind one of Australia’s greatest environmental treasures (Rohan Lloyd, UQP)
  • Black Lives, White Law: Locked up and locked out in Australia (Russell Marks, La Trobe University Press)
  • Unmaking Angas Downs: Myth and history on a Central Australian pastoral station (Shannyn Palmer, MUP)


  • At the Altar of Touch (Gavin Yuan Gao, UQP)
  • Harvest Lingo (Lionel Fogarty, Giramondo)
  • Exactly As I Am (Rae White, UQP)
  • The Jaguar (Sarah Holland-Batt, UQP)
  • Clean (Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Upswell)


  • Sugar (Carly Nugent, Text)
  • Ask No Questions (Eva Collins, Puncher & Wattmann)
  • The Upwelling (Lystra Rose, Lothian)
  • What We All Saw (Mike Lucas, Penguin)
  • The Greatest Thing (Sarah Winifred Searle, A&U Children’s)


  • The Dunggiirr Brothers and the Caring Song of the Whale (Aunty Shaa Smith and Yandaarra, A&U Children’s)
  • Zadie Ma and the Dog Who Chased the Moon (Gabrielle Wang, Puffin)
  • Open Your Heart to Country (Jasmine Seymour, Magabala)
  • 11 Words for Love (Randa Abdel-Fattah, illus by Maxine Beneba Clarke, Lothian)
  • My Strange Shrinking Parents (Zeno Sworder, Thames & Hudson).

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards acknowledge the contribution of Australian literature to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life. This is the first year that the awards have been delivered by Creative Australia, following the release of the federal government’s 2023 Revive national cultural policy.

In a statement, Creative Australia said 643 entries were received across the six award categories. The winners and shortlisted authors will share in a tax-free prize pool of $600,000. Each shortlisted entry will receive $5000, with the winner of each category receiving $80,000.

Said Creative Australia CEO Adrian Collette: ‘It’s crucial that we celebrate the achievements of our writers and illustrators in producing work that allows us to reflect on and explore issues affecting all Australians. Literature is at the heart of our understanding of our place in the world, and I’m delighted to be able to acknowledge the contributions of these exceptional artists and thinkers.’

The winners of the 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards will be announced on Thursday, 16 November at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

For more information on the shortlists, including judging panel comments, see the Creative Australia website.


Category: Awards Local news