• arts & culture

5 December 2016

The shortlist for the 2017 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards has been announced, with 21 titles in contention in five categories.

The titles comprise some of the best fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and writing for young adults produced in Australia in the previous year.

The shortlist ranges from a collection of 58 sonnets that grapple with desire, ethics and compassion, to the story of two young Australians who meet at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides.

There is a lyrical account of life as a child of black immigrants in the 1980s, an intense thriller about a middle-aged cricket star, and a reimagining of one of Australia's most celebrated short stories.

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. Worth a further $100,000, the Victorian Prize for Literature is Australia's richest single literary Award.

The public are encouraged to participate in the awards by voting for their favourite shortlisted work. The winner of the $2,000 People's Choice Award will be named alongside the general category winners on Tuesday 31 January 2017.

The Victorian Premier's Literary Awards include two further awards: the Unpublished Manuscript Award, won in 2016 by Melanie Cheng for her short-fiction collection Australia Day; and the biennial Award for Indigenous Writing, won earlier this year by Tony Birch for his novel Ghost River.

For the first time this year, these two additional awards will both be considered among the other five category winners for the Victorian Prize for Literature.

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.

Read more via The Wheeler Centre

Vote in the People's Choice Awards

2017 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards shortlist

Prize For Fiction

  • Between a Wolf and a Dog by Georgia Blain (Scribe Publications) – Marrickville, NSW
  • The Healing Party by Micheline Lee (Black Inc.) – Abbotsford, Vic
  • Wood Green by Sean Rabin (Giramondo) – Newtown, NSW
  • Waiting by Philip Salom (Puncher & Wattmann) – North Melbourne, Vic
  • The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong (Text Publishing) – Port Fairy, Vic
  • The Love of a Bad Man by Laura Elizabeth Woollett (Scribe Publications) – Brunswick East, Vic

Prize For Non-Fiction

  • Songs of a War Boy by Deng Adut with Ben Mckelvey (Hachette Australia) – Blacktown, NSW, and Bronte, NSW, respectively
  • The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke (Hachette Australia) – Yarraville, Vic
  • The Killing Season Uncut by Sarah Ferguson with Patricia Drum (Melbourne University Publishing)
    – Rose Bay, NSW, and Blackheath, NSW, respectively
  • Offshore: Behind the wire on Manus and Nauru by Madeline Gleeson (NewSouth Publishing) – Surry Hills, NSW
  • Position Doubtful by Kim Mahood (Scribe Publications) – Wamboin, NSW
  • The Fighter by Arnold Zable (Text Publishing) – Fairfield, Vic

Prize For Drama

  • Girl Shut Your Mouth by Gita Bezard (Black Swan State Theatre Company) – Perth, WA
  • Trigger Warning by Zoë Coombs Marr (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) – Potts Point, NSW
  • The Drover's Wife by Leah Purcell (Currency Press) – Petersham, NSW

Prize For Poetry

  • Carrying the World by Maxine Beneba Clarke (Hachette Australia) – Yarraville, Vic
  • Painting Red Orchids by Eileen Chong (Pitt Street Poetry) – Elizabeth Bay, NSW
  • Bull Days by Tina Giannoukos (Australian Scholarly Publishing) – Burwood, Vic

Prize For Writing For Young Adults

  • When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Pan Macmillan Australia) – Kellyville, NSW
  • The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Hachette Australia) – Eltham North, Vic
  • The Other Side of Summer by Emily Gale (Penguin Random House Australia) – Abbotsford, Vic