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Australian Literary Awards

A list of Australia’s main literary awards for, or primarily for, fiction or fiction writers. The links in the headings are all to Wikipedia.

For a good list of literary awards relevant to Australian writers, see the Australian Writing Awards to Celebrate page.

Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature

Biennial awards supported by the South Australian Government. It includes a Fiction Award, the winner of which is a contender for the Premier’s Award.

The Age Book of the Year Awards

Annual literary awards offered by Melbourne’s Age newspaper. It was discontinued in 2013, and revived in 2021. The original award included a Fiction (Imaginative Writing) Award, with its winner being a contender for the overall Book of the Year award. The revived 2021 award was only for fiction.

ALS Gold Medal

Annual award made by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature for an outstanding literary work. It is usually, but not always, awarded for a novel.

Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA)

Annual award for Australian books, across several categories. The first selection is made “the ABIA Academy of more than 200 industry professionals”, with the shortlist and winners being chosen by Judging Panels.

The Australian/Vogel Literary Award

Annual award supported by The Australian newspaper, Allen & Unwin publisher, and Stevens & Company which makes Vogel bread. The award is for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35.

Barbara Jefferis Award

Now biennial award for “the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society”.

Dobbie Literary Award

Annual award for a first published work by a woman writer. The work can be fiction or non-fiction, but must be “life writing”. (Currently, as of 2020 in abeyance while the organisers undertake a review of the funding trust and the award processes.)

Indie Book Awards

Annual set of awards supported by the Australian Independent Booksellers’ Association. It includes two awards for fiction, the Fiction prize and the Debut fiction prize, both of which are contenders for the Book of the Year.

Miles Franklin Award

Annual literary award for “a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases”. This is Australia’s best known and most prestigious award, though it’s not the richest.

New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards

Annual set of awards offered by the New South Wales government. The fiction award is the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

Nita B Kibble Literary Award for Women Writers

Annual award for a work by an established woman writer. The work can be fiction or non-fiction, but must be “life writing”. (Currently, as of 2020 in abeyance while the organisers undertake a review of the funding trust and the award processes.)

Patrick White Award

Annual literary award for a writer – not necessarily of fiction – who had been creative for a long period of time but hasn’t received the recognition the judges believe they deserve.

Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

Annual awards supported by the Australian government across several categories, including Fiction.

Queensland Literary Awards

Annual set of awards replacing the cancelled Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, including a Fiction Book Award.

SPN Book of the Year Award [was MUBA (Most Underrated Book Award)]

Annual literary award for members of the Small Press Network, awarded to a work that did not receive the sales or recognition it deserved at the time of release.

Stella Prize

Annual award for a work by a women, in any genre.

Victorian Premier’s Literary Award

Annual set of awards supported by the Victorian government. The fiction award is the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction.

Voss Literary Prize

Annual award for the best novel published in the previous year. Managed and judged by the Australian University Heads of English

Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards

Now biennial set of awards recognising excellence in Australian and Western Australian writing. Categories include Digital Narrative, Fiction, and Western Australian Emerging Writers. Categories have changed again.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. ablay1 permalink
    April 16, 2013 07:10

    Great to have all the awards in one place – so many now! Thanks for the list.

    • April 16, 2013 08:50

      Thanks ablay … That’s what I hoped. Would like to format it better but it’s a work in progress!

  2. April 22, 2013 07:55

    What a great initiative, it is nice to have them all in one spot. The awards scene is a changing landscape, often for the better with new prizes, but sometimes backwards steps like the Queensland government decision of last year. I know any list can have omissions but I wondered if the Children’s Book Council Awards could have a place here, or if you decided not to include them? Some of the Premier’s Awards do include YA and or Childrens categories of course. I also realise that kids lit isn’t your focus, so if you don’t think this is the right place then that’s completely up to you.

    • April 22, 2013 10:46

      Thanks Louise. I did consider the Children’s book awards but I decided that I was going to focus on the Adult Literary (primarily) Fiction awards only. I hope that’s OK … otherwise I would need to start considering separate Poetry, Non-fiction and the main Genre awards too. Who knows the whim might take me elsewhere in the future but now I’m trying to keep it manageable.

      • April 22, 2013 20:16

        Oh it’s completely fine! After all it is your list, and I know it’s not your focus. There’s just so much amazing stuff going on, I’m always keen to see a broader appreciation. I certainly do understand the need to keep it manageable.

        • April 22, 2013 20:37

          Thanks Louise … I do have a soft spot for kids lit but I know you understand that I need to draw a line. You keep up your good work!!

  3. Paul Coghlan permalink
    December 6, 2019 19:07

    thanks for the list – simply marvellous

  4. Nimai Chand Haldar. permalink
    January 11, 2020 02:30

    Can an Indian poet or essaist achieve any award from Australia?

    • January 11, 2020 09:02

      You mean if they live in India? I’m not sure but most awards I know of require at least residence, here. There would be, I’m sure, some poetry and essay publication opportunities for people living outside Australia.

  5. Mara Savic permalink
    August 2, 2021 15:06

    This page – Australian Literary Awards – may need to be updated now given The 2021 Age Book of the Year shortlist has just been announced.


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