• Arts & Culture

4 December 2017

Twenty-one Australian writers, poets and playwrights have been shortlisted for the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, putting them in the running for Australia’s richest single literary prize – The Victorian Prize for Literature – worth $100,000.

The shortlist includes ABC TV’s Black Comedy star Nakkiah Lui, Miles Franklin Award-winner and recently appointed University of Melbourne Boisbouvier Chair Alexis Wright, political commentator and 3RRR Breakfaster Jeff Sparrow and award-winning poet Jennifer Maiden.

The winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript Award, Melanie Chang, also made the shortlist with her now-published collection of stories, Australia Day.

The shortlisted works include a comedic play about an interracial relationship, young adult stories about contemporary Australian life, a biography on black-listed US entertainer Paul Robeson, and poetic conversations between contemporary figures and their historical counterparts.

The shortlist spans five award categories – fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and writing for young adults. The winner of each category will receive $25,000 and go on to contest the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature.

Christian White, who earlier this year won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript with Decay Theory, will join the other five category winners in consideration for the top prize.

In addition to the main awards, the People’s Choice Award gives members of the public the chance to vote for their favourite work at wheelercentre.com. The work with the most votes will receive $2,000.

The winners will be announced and presented their awards by the Premier Daniel Andrews at a ceremony on Thursday 1 February 2018.

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.

2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Shortlist

Prize for 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)

Prize for Non-Fiction

  • The Museum of Words 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)

Prize for 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)

Prize for Poetry

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

Prize for 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)