• literature

1 February 2015

A book written mostly via What’s App messages covertly sent across five years, is the major prize winner at the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

2019 Victorian Premier Literary Awards

All the winners of the 2019 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. Photo: Hannah Koelmeyer

Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend But The Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison won the Victorian Prize for Literature from a shortlist of 28 works. In addition to taking out the top honour, Boochani was awarded the Prize for Non-Fiction.

Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish-Iranian journalist, human rights defender, poet and film producer who has been held in detention on Manus Island since 2013. Written one text at a time, his debut book featured on many ‘Best of’ lists, and the awards judging panel described it as a ‘stunning work of art’.

Awards were given out across seven categories with Elise Valmorbida’s The Madonna of the Mountains winning the Prize for Fiction and Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee won the People’s Choice Award.

The Prize for Indigenous Writing went to Kim Scott, a previous Victorian Prize for Literature winner and two-time winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, for his best-selling Taboo.

The Almighty Sometimes a play about mental health written by Kendall Feaver won the Prize for Drama, the Prize for Poetry went to Tilt by Kate Lilley and Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina took out the Prize for Writing for Young Adults for their ghost story Catching Teller Crow.

The Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript was awarded to Victoria Hannan for Kokomo. Previous winners include now-published writers Jane Harper, Graeme Simsion and Maxine Beneba Clarke.

Established in 1985, The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards celebrate the best contemporary Australian writing and are administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Victorian Government.

Winners of the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Victorian Prize for Literature 

No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrouz Boochani (Picador Australia)

Prize for Fiction
The Madonna of the Mountains by Elise Valmorbida (Faber & Faber)

Prize for Non-Fiction 

No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrouz Boochani (Picador Australia)

Prize for Drama 

The Almighty Sometimes by Kendall Feaver (Currency Press, in association with Griffin Theatre Company)

Prize for Poetry 

Tilt by Kate Lilley (Vagabond Press)

Prize for Writing for Young Adults 

Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina (Allen & Unwin)

Prize for Indigenous Writing 

Taboo by Kim Scott (Picador Australia)

Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript 

Kokomo by Victoria Hannan

People’s Choice Award 

Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)