I don’t always announce all literary awards shortlists, but have decided to announce the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlist this year. The press release says that over 500 books were submitted across the 6 categories. Is that all? I guess I would have expected more, but it is somewhat expensive to submit, particularly for small publishers. There is NO entry fee, but 10 copies of each book submitted must be provided.
Over the years, the number of categories offered under the award, which was introduced in 2008 by Kevin Rudd, has increased, which is excellent I’d say for Australian writers, given the value of the award. Winners receive $80K, and shortlisted authors $5K.
I also don’t always announce all the categories covered by awards, but this year I’m gonna, starting with Fiction of course!
- A long way from home, Peter Carey (Penguin Random House): on my TBR (Lisa’s review)
- Border districts, Gerald Murnane (Giramondo): on my TBR (Lisa’s review)
- First person, Richard Flanagan (Penguin Random House): my review
- Taboo, Kim Scott (Pan Macmillan): on my TBR (Lisa’s review)
- The life to come, Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin): my review (and winner of this year’s Miles Franklin Award)
Quite a male-dominated list this year, and generally conservative, as it sticks with tried and true authors, but nonetheless these are all, from what I’ve read or ascertained from others, good books. Still, I have liked that this award has often introduced us to something a bit different (like Stephen Daisley, and Lisa Gorton) from the other awards, but not so here. It would be lovely to see Gerald Murnane win – the only one among these not to have won a significant Australian award – given his significant contribution to Australian letters, but, will he?
I have not read any of the rest of the shortlisted books, I’m afraid.
- Archipelago, Adam Aitken (Vagabond Press)
- Blindness and rage: A phantasmagoria, Brian Castro (Giramondo Publishing)
- Chatelaine, Bonny Cassidy (Giramondo Publishing)
- Domestic interior, Fiona Wright (Giramondo Publishing)
- Transparencies, Stephen Edgar (Black Pepper)
Looks like that wonderful independent publisher Giramondo is one of this year’s winners, regardless of WHO wins the awards in the end. Good on them, in particular, for supporting poetry so well.
- Asia’s reckoning, Richard McGregor (Penguin Random House UK)
- Mischka’s war: A European odyssey of the 1940s, Sheila Fitzpatrick (University of Melbourne Publishing)
- No front line: Australia’s special forces at war in Afghanistan, Chris Masters (Allen & Unwin)
- The library: A catalogue of wonders, Stuart Kells (Text Publishing)
- Unbreakable, Jelena Dokic and Jessica Halloran (Penguin Random House): my report of an In Conversation event
- Beautiful Balts: From Displaced Persons to New Australians, Jayne Persian (NewSouth Publishing)
- Hidden in plain view: The Aboriginal people of coastal Sydney, Paul Irish (NewSouth Publishing)
- Indigenous and other Australians since 1901, Timothy Rowse (NewSouth Publishing)
- John Curtin’s war: The coming of war in the Pacific, and reinventing Australia, Volume 1, John Edwards (Penguin Random House
- The enigmatic Mr Deakin, Judith Brett (Text Publishing)
And here, NewSouth Publishing, the publishing arm of the University New South Wales, has strut its stuff. They also did well at this year’s New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, where they won two prizes, including Paul Irish’s Hidden in plain view for the NSW Community and Regional History Prize. As I’ve said before, it’s excellent to see university presses publishing and doing well.
- Feathers, by Phil Cummings and Phil Lesnie (Scholastic Australia)
- Figgy takes the city, Tamsin Janu (Scholastic Australia)
- Hark, it’s me, Ruby Lee!, Lisa Shanahan and Binny Talib (Hachette Australia)
- Pea pod lullaby, Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King (Allen & Unwin)
- Storm whale, Sarah Brennan and Jane Tanner (Allen & Unwin)
Young Adult literature
- Living on Hope Street, Demet Divaroren (Allen & Unwin)
- My lovely Frankie, Judith Clarke (Allen & Unwin)
- Ruben, Bruce Whatley (Scholastic Australia)
- The ones that disappeared, Zana Fraillon (Hachette Australia)
- This is my song, Richard Yaxley (Scholastic Australia)
And, in the youth literature area, congrats to Allen and Unwin, Hachette Australia and Scholastic Australia who have scooped the pool. I don’t know enough about this area to know how representative this is, but I do know that indigenous publisher Magabala Books publish children’s books. I wonder if they submitted.
The complete shortlist with judges’ comments can be seen on the website. And now, I apologise for the rushed post, but I’m running late for my afternoon commitments and will be out this evening too.