Announcing the Winners of the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

The 2020 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards were announced tonight at a ceremony at MPavilion in Queen Victoria Gardens in Melbourne, with winners revealed across the categories of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Drama, Poetry, Young Adult and Unpublished Manuscript. The winner of the People's Choice Award (as chosen by your votes) was announced too – as well as the prestigious overall Victorian Prize for Literature.

Photograph of a brown-skinned man with close-cropped black beard and a buttoned denim shirt, looking directly at the camera and smiling

Victorian Prize for Literature winner S.Shakthidharan – who wrote Counting and Cracking with associate writer Eamon Flack — Photo: Hashem McAdam

Playwright S. Shakthidharan and associate writer Eamon Flack are the major prize-winners at the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for their play, Counting and Cracking.  Shakthi and Flack won the Victorian Prize for Literature from a shortlist of 23 works across six categories.

In addition to taking out the top honour, Counting and Cracking – an epic story of love and political strife, of home and exile, of parents and children – was awarded the Prize for Drama. The judges said the play is ‘a post-colonial work of sublime generosity and humour; a sober reflection of the painful path our peoples have taken to reach our shores, and a grand and moving celebration of cultural diversity and human spirit.’

Christos Tsiolkas won the Prize for Fiction for his epic novel, Damascus, which charts the development of the Christian church via Saul’s conversion to St Paul. Tsiolkas won the Prize for Fiction for The Slap at the 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

The Prize for Non-Fiction was awarded to Christina Thompson for her book, Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia, which dives deep into the history of the Pacific and uncovers how the world’s greatest navigators colonised every habitable island in Remote Oceania. 

Charmaine Papertalk Green was presented with the Prize for Poetry for Nganajungu Yagu, which is a textured, personal and poetic exploration of maternal love. 

Taking out the Prize for Writing for Young Adults is How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox.

The Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript went to Rhett Davis for Hovering, which tells a gripping story about three people who are struggling to find meaning in their lives. This award has launched the careers of writers including Christian White, Jane Harper, and Maxine Beneba Clarke.

More than 1000 people voted for the People’s Choice Award, and this year Premier Daniel Andrews presented the award to Chloe Higgins for her heartbreaking memoir, The Girls.

You can find out more about each winning and shortlisted work, with extracts – and information about the category judges – at the 2020 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards page. The awards were inaugurated in 1985 by the late Victorian Premier John Cain to honour literary achievement by Australian writers. They are administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.

Winners of the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Victorian Prize for Literature
Counting and Cracking by S. Shakthidharan. Associate Writer Eamon Flack (Belvoir and Co-Curious)

Prize for Fiction
Damascus by Christos Tsiolkas (Allen & Unwin)

Prize for Non-Fiction
Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia by Christina Thompson (HarperCollins Publishers)

Prize for Drama
Counting and Cracking by S. Shakthidharan. Associate Writer Eamon Flack (Belvoir and Co-Curious)

Prize for Poetry
Nganajungu Yagu by Charmaine Papertalk Green (Cordite Books)

Prize for Writing for Young Adults
How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript
Hovering by Rhett Davis

People’s Choice Award
The Girls by Chloe Higgins (Picador Australia)

 

Related posts