4 February 2022

Emerging and established writers were well-represented with the presentation of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, which recognise the best talent in Australian literature.

Gunai/Kurnai writer Veronica Gorrie has been honoured with the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature for Black and Blue: A Memoir of Racism and Resilience. The book also won the $25,000 Prize for Indigenous Writing.

Sharing her powerful story as an Aboriginal woman working in the police force, Gorrie reflects on the racism and sexism experienced and fought during her career in uniform – alongside the impact of racism on her family and life.

Victorian-based writer Melissa Manning won the Prize for Fiction for Smokehouse, a collection of inter-linked stories following characters from a small town in southern Tasmania who are each facing a turning point in their lives.

Amani Haydar’s personal account of domestic violence in The Mother Wound received the non-fiction prize, while Dylan Van Den Berg’s play Milk took out the Prize for Drama, for the story of a young Palawa man’s journey of self-discovery.

Victorian poet Maria Takolander’s work Trigger Notes tackles everything from climate change to violence in the home and was awarded the Poetry Prize, while Felicity Castagna’s wild-ride novel Girls in Boys’ Cars was awarded the Prize for Writing for Young Adults.

Malaysian-born, Melbourne-based author Keshe Chow received the coveted award for an Unpublished Manuscript for Fauna of Mirrors – a fantasy novel about love and betrayal.

The Unpublished Manuscript accolade has launched the careers of celebrated writers including Jane Harper (The Dry), Maxine Beneba Clarke (Foreign Soil) and Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project).

The publicly voted 2022 People’s Choice Award went to Rebecca Lim for Tiger Daughter, a coming-of-age novel about a young girl of Chinese heritage growing up in Australia.

Winners of the Fiction, Non-Fiction, Indigenous Writing, Poetry, Young Adult and Drama categories each received $25,000, while $15,000 is attached to the Unpublished Manuscript category. The People’s Choice award comes with a $2,000 prize.

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards are delivered by The Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Victorian Government. For more information, visit wheelercentre.com.