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Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Winners

Read Sunday, 4 Feb 2018

Highlights and winners from last week’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Clockwise from left: Demet Divaroren, Michele Lee, Alison Evans, Sarah Krasnostein, Bella Li, Melanie Cheng.
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New voices and new talent – that was the theme of last week’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (VPLAs) ceremony at MPavilion in Melbourne, with Sarah Krasnostein winning the overall prize for her first book, The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster.

Krasnostein won the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature, Australia’s most lucrative literary award, as well as the $25,000 Prize for Non-Fiction.

The Trauma Cleaner tells the true story of Melbourne transgender woman Sandra Pankhurst’s life and career cleaning the scenes of violent crimes.

Described by the judging panel as ‘unexpected’, the book was praised for telling the untold stories of ‘those who live on, below, and under, the margins of sanity and of society’.

Premier Daniel Andrews, Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams, Wheeler Centre Chair Susan Oliver and Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley with VPLA category winners.

The Prize for Fiction, the Prize for Writing for Young Adults and the People’s Choice Award were also won by debut authors: Melanie Cheng, Demet Divaroren and Alison Evans respectively.

The VPLAs celebrate the best contemporary Australian writing and are administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria. 

See the full list of category winners below. The shortlisted titles (and your 2018 reading list!) are here.

Victorian Prize for Literature

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein (Text Publishing)

Prize for Fiction

Australia Day by Melanie Cheng (Text Publishing)

Prize for Non-Fiction

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein (Text Publishing)

Prize for Drama

Rice by Michele Lee (Playlab)

Prize for Poetry

Argosy by Bella Li (Vagabond Press)

Prize for Writing for Young Adults

Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren (Allen & Unwin)

People’s Choice Award

Ida by Alison Evans (Echo)

The VPLA 2018 winners reflect on how the prize will impact their writing.

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