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Prime Minister’s Literary Awards Winners, 2019, announced

October 23, 2019

The Winners of the the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for 2019 were announced earlier today, but I was driving to Berrima for my annual “same-time-next-year” catch up with a dear Sydney friend.

Below is the shortlist for the three categories I posted on in my shortlist post, with the winners marked in bold.


  • Rodney Hall’s A stolen season, Picador (my review)
  • Gail Jones’ The death of Noah Glass, Text Publishing
  • Melissa Lucashenko’s Too much lip, University of Queensland Press (my review)
  • Suneeta Peres da Costa’s Saudade, Giramondo Publishing (Lisa ANZLitLovers’ review)
  • Laura Elizabeth Woollett’s Beautiful revolutionary, Scribe Publications

Oh well, not one I’ve read but Gail Jones has been around the traps for a long time with many shortlisted books, so congratulations to her.


  • Cynthia Banham’s A certain light: A memoir of family, loss and hope, Allen & Unwin
  • Gabrielle Chan’s Rusted off: Why country Australia is fed up, Vintage Books
  • Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell’s Half the perfect world: Writers, dreamers and drifters on Hydra, 1955–1964, Monash University Press
  • Chloe Hooper’s The arsonist: A mind on fire, Hamish Hamilton (on my TBR) (Lisa AnzLitLovers’ review)
  • Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic, Brow Books (my review)

Australian history

  • Billy Griffiths’ Deep time dreaming: Uncovering ancient Australia, Black Inc.
  • Anna Haebich’s Dancing in shadows: Histories of Nyungar performance, UWA Publishing
  • David Kemp’s The land of deams: How Australians won their freedom, 1788-1860, The Miegunyah Press
  • Meredith Lake’s The Bible in Australia: A cultural history, NewSouth Publishing
  • Clare Wright’s You daughters of freedom: The Australians who won the vote and inspired the world, Text Publishing (my review)

Other winners …

Three other categories were announced:

  • Poetry: Judith Beveridge Sun music: New and selected poems 
  • Young Adult fiction: Michael Gerard Bauer’s The things that will not stand
  • Children’s fiction: Emily Rodda’s His name was Walter

The complete shortlist with judges’ comments can be seen on the website (Check out their augmented reality function!)

No further comments from me, and no images, as I hate doing this on my iPad, but what about you…


16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2019 00:01

    As I commented on Lisa’s blog…Deep Time Dreaming left a lasting impression on me.
    Through all my Australian readings over the years I have come to learn more of and appreciate the rich Aboriginal history. Reading Thea Astlet’s “It’s Raining in Mango” one of her three books to touch on the aboriginal plight. P

    • October 24, 2019 07:46

      Thanks Nancy. Deep time dreaming is on my radar. It’s raining in Msngo is a great book. One of hers that I’ve read twice.

  2. October 24, 2019 06:02

    The books look to be interesting and worthy reads. I just had a horrifying thought. Imagine if America had Presidential literary awards these days.

  3. viggerskarengmailcom permalink
    October 24, 2019 07:49

    I really enjoyed Gail Jones’s Five Bells some years ago. Looks like it’s time to read this new novel. Some great reads on both the fiction and non fiction lists.

  4. October 24, 2019 08:36

    Imnsho: if only we had a PM worthy of heading up awards like these.

  5. Sara Dowse permalink
    October 24, 2019 09:45

    Oh, WG. How anyone could overlook Deep Time Dreaming is beyond me. But with a Pentecostal PM …

    • October 24, 2019 09:59

      Or even Clare Wright’s Sara, though I do hear Griffiths is great. I’m withholding judgement on The Bible, but it feels suss doesn’t it.

      • October 24, 2019 10:17

        Yes. It looks suss.
        As they say in the legal system, justice must not only be done, it must be seen to have been done.
        I’m a bit tempted by Chan’s… as long as it’s not just country people moaning. Of course they have plenty to moan about, but I don’t want to read a whole book about it!

        • October 24, 2019 16:22

          Yes. There’s a lot in the seeing I think that some people don’t appreciate!

  6. October 24, 2019 20:23

    Haven’t read anything on the fiction list but have read Arsonist and Axiomatic (both I really enjoyed).

  7. Robin Wallace-Crabbe permalink
    October 28, 2019 14:20

    Hi I have been trying to unsubscribe from whispering gums but can’t seem to effect it. Can you take my name off subscribers list please.

    Thanks Robin Wallace-Crabbe

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