Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2018

 

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Your definitive guide to Australia’s best writing.

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards were inaugurated by the Victorian Government in 1985 to honour literary achievement by Australian writers. The awards are administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.

The winners of the five award categories – fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and writing for young adults – each receive $25,000, and go on to contest the Victorian Prize for Literature. 

Participate in the awards by voting for your favourite work on the shortlist. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be named alongside the general category winners, and will receive $2,000.

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards include two further awards: the Unpublished Manuscript Award and the biennial Award for Indigenous Writing. The 2017 Unpublished Manuscript Award was won by Christian White for Decay Theory; it joins consideration with the other five category winners for the Victorian Prize for Literature.

This year's winners have been announced at an awards ceremony on 1 February 2018.

The winners

  • The Victorian Prize for Literature, and the Prize for Non-Fiction: The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman's Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein (Text Publishing)
  • The Prize for Fiction: Australia Day by Melanie Cheng (Text Publishing)
  • The Prize for DramaRice by Michele Lee (Playlab)
  • The Prize for PoetryArgosy by Bella Li (Vagabond Press)
  • The Prize for Writing for Young Adults: Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren (Allen & Unwin)
  • People's Choice Award: Ida by Alison Evans (Echo)
Photo of the winners

Left to right: Demet Divaroren, Michele Lee, Melanie Cheng, Alison Evans, Bella Li and Sarah Krasnostein — Photo: Connor Tomas O'Brien

The judges

Fiction: Jeanine Leane, Jaclyn Crupi, Tamara Zimet, Thuy On (convener)
Non-fiction: Quinn Eades, Jack Latimore, David Ryding, Jordy Silverstein, Sophie Cunnigham (convener)
Drama: Chris Kohn, Edwina Lunn, Jane Harrison (convener)
Poetry: Gig Ryan, Benjamin Laird, Emilie Zoey Baker (convener)
Writing for Young Adults: Alia Gabres, Jordi Kerr, Marlee Jane Ward (convener)

Submissions from publishers and writers are open in September each year for titles published between 1 January and 31 December of the same year.

Tweet about the shortlisted titles using the #vpla2018 hashtag.

The shortlist

Fiction 

  • A New England Affair by Steven Carroll (HarperCollins)
  • Australia Day by Melanie Cheng (Text Publishing)
  • The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Choke by Sofie Laguna (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Restorer by Michael Sala (Text Publishing)
  • Taboo by Kim Scott (Picador Australia)

Non-fiction

  • The Museum of Words: A Memoir of Language, Writing and Mortality by Georgia Blain (Scribe Publications)
  • Anaesthesia: The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness by Kate Cole-Adams (Text Publishing)
  • The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman's Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein (Text Publishing)
  • For a Girl: A True Story of Secrets, Motherhood and Hope by Mary-Rose MacColl (Allen & Unwin)
  • No Way But This: In Search of Paul Robeson by Jeff Sparrow (Scribe Publications)
  • Tracker by Alexis Wright (Giramondo)

Drama

  • Rice by Michele Lee (Playlab)
  • Black is the New White by Nakkiah Lui (Sydney Theatre Company)
  • The Rasputin Affair by Kate Mulvany (The Ensemble Theatre)

Poetry

  • Argosy by Bella Li (Vagabond Press)
  • The Metronome by Jennifer Maiden (Giramondo)
  • redactor by Eddie Paterson (Whitmore Press)

Writing for Young Adults

  • Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren (Allen & Unwin)
  • Ida by Alison Evans (Echo)
  • Because of You by Pip Harry (UQP)

Highly commended

Fiction

  • No More Boats by Felicity Castagna (Giramondo)
  • Terra Nullius by Claire Coleman (Hachette)
  • Atlantic Black by A.S. Patrić (Transit Lounge)
  • Plane Tree Drive by Lynette Washington (MidnightSun)

Non-fiction 

  • They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories from Detention edited by Michael Green, André Dao, Angelica Neville, Dana Affleck and Sienna Merope (Allen & Unwin)

Poetry

  • I Love Poetry by Michael Farrell (Giramondo)
  • Reading for a Quiet Morning by Petra White (GloriaSMH Press)

Young Adult

  • In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black (Hardie Grant Egmont)

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards shortlist