About 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. 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.

Since 2014, the Awards have been presented in January rather than September each year. The change, based on industry recommendations, was the latest in a series of reforms designed to improve the Awards' processes and profile.

The main suite of the awards consists of five annual categories: Fiction, Non Fiction, Drama, Poetry, and Writing for Young Adults, each with a prize of $25,000. The winners of each of these five award categories will also be in the running for the major prize, the 2016 Victorian Prize for Literature, for which the winner receives an additional $100,000. This is the single most valuable literary award in the country.

There are two additional awards: the Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, which was announced in May this year, and the biennial Award for Indigenous Writing (last awarded in 2014). Entrants to the Award for Indigenous Writing are also eligible to enter their work in any of the five general award categories, as per the guidelines. For the first time this year, these two additional awards will also join consideration with the other five category winners for the Victorian Prize for Literature.

The Awards are administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.