Prime Minister's Literary Awards winners for 2021

The best of Australian literature, history and poetry has been celebrated today at the announcement of the 2021 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards at the Sydney Opera House.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the awards highlighted the creativity of Australia’s writers and celebrate their enrichment of our culture and identity.

“In these testing times literature carries even more importance, connecting us to a range of Australian voices and bringing us closer together,” the Prime Minister said.

“I congratulate this year’s winners and thank them for their contribution. They have continued a tradition of excellence and creativity in our writing that is recognised by lovers of books everywhere.”

Minister Fletcher said the annual Awards provided much-deserved acknowledgement for Australian authors and celebrate the art of literature.

“This year’s Awards have highlighted the outstanding talent of Australia’s literary community which has enriched lives of many people across the world,” Minister Fletcher said.

“In a year where much of the country relied on reading to access the world beyond their own four walls, this is an opportunity to recognise the authors whose voices have entertained and sustained us.

“Congratulations to all the winners, as well as those who were shortlisted, for engaging the imaginations of Australians young and old.”

The Awards are presented in six categories – children's literature, young adult literature, fiction, poetry, non-fiction and Australian history – with a total prize pool of $600,000.

For more information about the winning and shortlisted works go to

The 2021 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards winners are:


  • The Labyrinth, Amanda Lohrey, Text Publishing


  • The Stranger Artist: Life at the Edge of Kimberley Painting, Quentin Sprague, Hardie Grant Publishing

Australian history

  • People of the River: Lost Worlds of Early Australia, Grace Karskens, Allen & Unwin


  • The Strangest Place, New and Selected Poems, Stephen Edgar, Black Pepper

Children’s literature

  • Fly on the Wall, Remy Lai, Walker Books Australia
  • How to Make a Bird, Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Matt Ottley, Walker Books Australia

Young adult literature

  • Metal Fish, Falling Snow, Cath Moore, Text Publishing

Media Contacts:

Prime Minister’s office: Press Office, (02) 6277 7744

Minister Fletcher’s office: Christine Byllaardt, 0409 433 357