About the Awards

In 2011, five awards, each with a purse of $25,000, will be awarded in the following categories: fiction (the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction); non-fiction (the Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-Fiction); poetry (the CJ Dennis Prize for Poetry); drama (the Louis Esson Prize for Drama); and young adult (the Prize for Writing for Young Adults).

The winners of these five categories will contest the Victorian Prize for Literature, which carries a purse of $100,000. The overall winner will take home $125,000, the largest purse for a writer’s prize in Australia.

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for an Unpublished Manuscript and for Indigenous Writing will not be offered in 2011. The $15,000 award for an Unpublished Manuscript will be presented to coincide with the Emerging Writers’ Festival in May 2012. The $20,000 biennial award for Indigenous Writing will be presented in September 2012 to coincide with Indigenous Literacy Day.

The winners will be announced at a celebratory dinner on Tuesday, 6 September.

Background to the Awards

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards were inaugurated by The Hon. John Cain, Premier of Victoria in 1985, to mark the centenary of the births of Vance and Nettie Palmer and to honour and reward literary achievement by Australian writers.

The awards have received bipartisan support since their inception. In 2011 the Awards have a total prize pool of $225,000.

The Victorian government has established the following vision and aims for the Awards:

  • to promote Victorian leadership by honouring Australian literature, ideas, innovation and learning;
  • recognise excellence in Australian writing and in contributions to the development of Australian culture;
  • advance the Victorian community’s appreciation of Australian literature and encourage commitment to reading;
  • assist living authors in their careers and promote Victoria’s literary and publishing industries.

The Awards are administered by the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.