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The judges

Fiction: Jay Carmichael, Micheline Lee, Anna MacDonald, Elizabeth Flux (convenor)
Non-fiction: Ali Alizadeh, Joy Damousi, Quinn Eades, Jacinda Woodhead, Fatima Measham (convenor)
Drama: Carissa Lee, Chi Vu, Tim Byrne (convenor)
Poetry: Elena Gomez, Andy Jackson, Jeanine Leane (convenor)
Writing for Young Adults: Demet Divaroren, Michael Earp, Melissa Keil (convenor)
Unpublished Manuscript: Ellen Cregan, Luke Horton, Natalie Kon-yu (convenor)


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Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript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)

Read more here.



The shortlist




  • City of Gold by Meyne Wyatt (Currency Press, in association with Queensland Theatre and Griffin Theatre)
  • Counting and Cracking by S.Shakthidharan and Associate Writer Eamon Flack (Belvoir and Co-Curious)
  • Them by Samah Sabawi (La Mama Theatre, in association with Samah Sabawi and Lara Week)


Writing for Young Adults

Unpublished Manuscript


Highly commended


  • Castaway: The extraordinary survival story of Narcisse Pelletier, a young French cabin boy shipwrecked on Cape York in 1858 by Robert Macklin (Hachette Australia)
  • The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat: A Rodent History of Australia by Tim Bonyhady (Text Publishing)
  • The Thinking Woman by Julienne van Loon (NewSouth Publishing)


  • Anthem by Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves, Christos Tsiolkas and Irine Vela (Performing Lines in association with Arts Centre Melbourne)
  • White Pearl by Anchuli Felicia King (Samuel French, in association with Sydney Theatre Company and Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta)


  • Archival-Poetics by Natalie Harkin (Vagabond Press)
  • The Future Keepers by Nandi Chinna (Fremantle Press)

Young Adult

  • Highway Bodies by Alison Evans (Echo Publishing)
  • When the Ground is Hard by by Malla Nunn (Allen & Unwin)

Unpublished Manuscript

  • I’ll hold you by Jenni Mazaraki



Special Commendation


  • The Rich Man’s House by Andrew McGahan

Whilst ineligible for the 2020 Awards, the Fiction judging panel would like to acknowledge the ‘masterfully constructed and thrilling’ work of The Rich Man’s House. ‘Mixing crime, adventure, horror, and the supernatural, The Rich Man’s House paints a frighteningly believable picture of a geographically monstrous mountain and the man who conquered it.’

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