2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists announced

The shortlists for this year's Prime Minister's Literary Awards have today been announced by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP.

The Awards celebrate Australian writing across six genres, selecting exceptional works from Australia's talented authors, illustrators, creators and historians. Such recognition allows them to share their creativity and research on a national and international scale.

The Prime Minister said each year the Awards attract high quality entries, appealing to all ages and interests.

“Today I announce this year's shortlisted authors for the 2019 Prime Minister's Literary Awards,” said the Prime Minister.

“This year we have a diverse selection shortlisted and I encourage everyone to pick one up and have a read, and celebrate our great local industry.”

Minister Fletcher said the judges had achieved an impressive task of reading through over 500 entries to shortlist the final 30.

“We've received an exceptional response to this year's call for entries. It is great to see well established and new authors being part of the selection and to welcome back previously shortlisted authors and illustrators,” Minister Fletcher said.

“I also thank the judges and chairs for their commitment to the Awards and for the enormous amount of work involved.”

For more information about the books, authors and to see the judges' comments, visit www.arts.gov.au/pmla.

The 2019 Prime Minister's Literary Awards shortlists are:


  • A Stolen Season, Rodney Hall, Picador
  • Beautiful Revolutionary, Laura Elizabeth Woollett, Scribe Publications
  • Saudade, Suneeta Peres da Costa, Giramondo Publishing
  • The Death of Noah Glass, Gail Jones, Text Publishing
  • Too Much Lip, Melissa Lucashenko, University of Queensland Press


  • A Certain Light: A Memoir of Family, Loss and Hope, Cynthia Banham, Allen & Unwin
  • Axiomatic, Maria Tumarkin, Brow Books
  • Half the Perfect World: Writers, Dreamers and Drifters on Hydra, 1955–1964, Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell, Monash University Press
  • Rusted Off: Why Country Australia is Fed Up, Gabrielle Chan, Vintage Books
  • The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire, Chloe Hooper, Hamish Hamilton

Australian history

  • Dancing in Shadows: Histories of Nyungar Performance, Anna Haebich, UWA Publishing
  • Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia, Billy Griffiths, Black Inc.
  • The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History, Meredith Lake, NewSouth Publishing
  • The Land of Dreams: How Australians Won Their Freedom, 1788-1860, David Kemp, The Miegunyah Press
  • You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World, Clare Wright, Text Publishing


  • Blakwork, Alison Whittaker, Magabala Books
  • Click Here For What We Do, Pam Brown,Vagabond Press
  • Newcastle Sonnets, Keri Glastonbury, Giramondo Press
  • Sun Music: New and Selected Poems, Judith Beveridge, Giramondo Press
  • Viva the Real, Jill Jones, University of Queensland Press

Children's literature

  • His Name Was Walter, Emily Rodda, Angus & Robertson
  • Sonam and the Silence, Eddie Ayres, illustrated by Ronak Taher, Allen & Unwin
  • The Feather, Margaret Wild, illustrated by Freya Blackwood, Little Hare Books
  • The Incredible Freedom Machines, Kirli Saunders, illustrated by Matt Ottley, Scholastic Press
  • Waiting for Chicken Smith, David Mackintosh, Little Hare Books

Young adult literature

  • Between Us, Clare Atkins, Black Inc.
  • Cicada, Shaun Tan, Lothian Children's Book
  • Lenny's Book of Everything, Karen Foxlee, Allen & Unwin
  • The Art of Taxidermy, Sharon Kernot, Text Publishing
  • The Things That Will Not Stand, Michael Gerard Bauer, Omnibus Books

Media contacts:

Prime Minister's office, (02) 6277 7700

Minister Fletcher's office
Brad Hatch, 0448 162 679 Brad.Hatch@communications.gov.au