Prime Minister's Literary Awards

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Not to be confused with the New Zealand Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement.

The Australian Prime Minister's Literary Awards (PMLA) were announced at the end of 2007 by the incoming First Rudd Ministry following the 2007 election. They are administered by the Minister for the Arts.[1]

The awards were designed as "a new initiative celebrating the contribution of Australian literature to the nation's cultural and intellectual life." The awards are held annually and initially provided a tax-free prize of A$100,000 in each category, making it Australia's richest literary award in total. In 2011, the prize money was split into $80,000 for each category winner and $5,000 for up to four short-listed entries. The award was initially given in four categories – fiction, non-fiction, young adult and children's fiction – as selected by three judging panels. In 2012, a poetry category was added and the former Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History was incorporated into the award. "The awards are open to works written by Australian citizens and permanent residents. Authors, publishers and literary agents are eligible to enter works, first published in the calendar year prior to the awards."[2]


2008 awards[edit]

2008 panels[edit]

For the inaugural 2008 awards, six Australians were appointed by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts to the judging panels: three each for the fiction and non-fiction awards.[3]

2008 fiction panel[edit]

2008 non-fiction panel[edit]

  • Hilary Charlesworth, academic (chair)
  • Sally Morgan, indigenous artist and author
  • John Doyle, comedian and script writer

2008 shortlist and winners[edit]

The final decisions on the shortlist and winners for the awards was made by Prime Minister (Kevin Rudd) based on the judging panels’ recommendations.[3] The following entries, out of more than 170 received, were selected for the shortlist:[1]

Listed in official shortlist order; winners in bold type.

2008 fiction[edit]

2008 non-fiction[edit]

2009 awards[edit]

2009 panels[edit]

On 15 May 2009 the panels for the 2009 awards were announced.[4]

2009 fiction panel[edit]

  • Professor Peter Pierce (chair)
  • Professor John A. Hay AC
  • Dr Lyn Gallacher

2009 non-fiction panel[edit]

2009 shortlist and winners[edit]

The 2009 shortlist from more than 250 entries was announced on Friday 18 September 2009 in Melbourne. The winners were announced on 2 November 2009.[5] Two works shared the non-fiction award.

Listed in official shortlist order; winners in bold type.

2009 fiction[edit]

2009 non-fiction[edit]

2010 awards[edit]

On 30 March 2010 two new award categories were announced: "young adults' fiction" and "children's fiction". The prize for both new awards was also $100,000; its entries were judged by one judging panel.

2010 panels[edit]

On 14 May 2010 the panels for the 2010 awards were announced.[6]

2010 fiction panel[edit]

The 2009 fiction panel returned in 2010:

  • Professor Peter Pierce (chair)
  • Professor John A. Hay AC
  • Dr Lyn Gallacher

2010 non-fiction panel[edit]

  • Brian Johns AO (chair)
  • Colin Steele
  • Dr Faye Sutherland

2010 children's and young adult fiction panel[edit]

  • Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright (chair)
  • Mike Shuttleworth
  • Mary-Ruth Mendel

2010 shortlist and winners[edit]

From over 330 entries, the 2010 shortlist of 29 titles was announced on 15 July 2010.[7] The winners were announced on 8 November 2010.[8]

Listed in official shortlist order; winners in bold type.

2010 fiction[edit]

2010 non-fiction[edit]

  • The Water Dreamers: The Remarkable History of Our Dry Continent by Michael Cathcart
  • Strange Places: A Memoir of Mental Illness by Will Elliott
  • The Colony: A History of Early Sydney by Grace Karskens
  • The Life and Death of Democracy by John Keane
  • The Blue Plateau: A Landscape Memoir by Mark Tredinnick
  • The Ghost at the Wedding by Shirley Walker

2010 young adult fiction[edit]

2010 children's fiction[edit]

2011 awards[edit]

Entries for the 2011 awards opened in January 2011 and an annual timetable was implemented: the shortlist was announced in late May and winners in early July. The awards were restructured to provide greater recognition for shortlisted authors. In each category, the winning book was awarded $80,000; $5,000 was awarded to up to four shortlisted titles. The eligibility criteria were extended to include e-books, and wordless picture books were eligible in the children's fiction category. The panellists from 2010 were returned for 2011.[9]

2011 shortlist and winners[edit]

From 379 entries, the 2011 shortlist of 20 titles was announced on 26 May 2011.[10] The winners, listed below in bold type, were announced on 8 July 2011.[11]

2011 fiction[edit]

2011 non-fiction[edit]

2011 young adult fiction[edit]

2011 children's fiction[edit]

2012 awards[edit]

The 2012 awards were launched in early December 2011; entries closed on 1 February 2012. A new award for poetry was announced and the Prize for Australian History was incorporated.[12] The winners, listed below in bold type, were announced on 23 July 2012.[13][14]

2012 panels[edit]

The panels for the 2012 awards consist of:

2012 fiction and poetry panel[edit]

2012 non-fiction and history panel[edit]

2012 children's and young adult fiction panel[edit]

  • Judith White (chair)
  • Mary-Ruth Mendel
  • Robert (Bob) Sessions

2012 shortlist and winners[edit]

From 509 entries, the 2012 shortlist of 25 titles was announced on 20 March 2012.[15][16]

2012 fiction[edit]

2012 poetry[edit]

2012 non-fiction[edit]

  • A Short History of Christianity by Geoffrey Blainey
  • Michael Kirby Paradoxes and Principles by Alexander Jonathan (A. J.) Brown
  • Kinglake-350 by Adrian Hyland
  • When Horse Became Saw by Anthony Macris
  • An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark by Mark McKenna

2012 Prize for Australian History[edit]

  • 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia by James Boyce
  • The Biggest Estate on Earth by Bill Gammage
  • Breaking the Sheep's Back by Charles Massy
  • Indifferent Inclusion: Aboriginal people and the Australian Nation by Russell McGregor
  • Immigration Nation: The Secret History of Us by Renegade Films Australia

2012 young adult fiction[edit]

  • A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon
  • Being Here by Barry Jonsberg
  • Pan's Whisper by Sue Lawson
  • When We Were Two by Robert Newton
  • Alaska by Sue Saliba

2012 children's fiction[edit]

2013 awards[edit]

The 2013 awards were launched in late 2012; entries closed on 17 January 2013.

2013 panels[edit]

The panels for the 2013 awards consist of:[17]

2013 fiction and poetry panel[edit]

2013 non-fiction and history panel[edit]

  • Michael Sexton SC (chair)
  • Colin Steele
  • Susan Hayes
  • Professor Susan Magarey

2013 children's and young adult fiction panel[edit]

  • Judith White (chair)
  • Adele Rice
  • Robert (Bob) Sessions

2013 shortlist and winners[edit]

The 2013 shortlist of 29 titles was announced on 17 June 2013.[18] The winners, listed below in bold type, were announced on 15 August 2013 at the State Library of Queensland.[19]

2013 fiction[edit]

2013 poetry[edit]

2013 non-fiction[edit]

2013 Prize for Australian History[edit]

  • The Sex Lives of Australians: A History by Frank Bongiorno
  • Sandakan by Paul Ham
  • Gough Whitlam by Jenny Hocking
  • Farewell, dear people by Ross McMullin
  • The Censor's Library by Nicole Moore

2013 young adult fiction[edit]

  • Everything Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson
  • The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett
  • Grace Beside Me by Sue McPherson
  • Fog a Dox by Bruce Pascoe
  • Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield

2013 children's fiction[edit]

  • Red by Libby Gleeson
  • Today We Have No Plans by Jane Godwin and illustrated by Anna Walker
  • What's the Matter, Aunty May? by Peter Friend and illustrated by Andrew Joyner
  • The Beginner's Guide to Revenge by Marianne Musgrove

2014 awards[edit]

The 2014 awards were launched in December 2013; entries closed on 28 February 2014. The winners, listed below in bold type, were announced on 8 December 2014.[20]

2014 panels[edit]

The panels for the 2014 awards consist of:[21]

2014 fiction and poetry panel[edit]

2014 non-fiction and history panel[edit]

2014 children's and young adult fiction panel[edit]

  • Mike Shuttleworth (chair)
  • Belle Alderman
  • Kate Colley
  • Mark MacLeod
  • Irini Savvides

2014 shortlist and winners[edit]

The 2014 shortlist of 30 titles was announced on 19 October 2014.[22]

2014 fiction[edit]

2014 poetry[edit]

2014 non-fiction[edit]

2014 Prize for Australian History[edit]

2014 young adult fiction[edit]

  • The Incredible Here and Now by Felicity Castagna
  • Pureheart by Cassandra Golds
  • Girl Defective by Simmone Howell
  • Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
  • The First Third by Will Kostakis

2014 children's fiction[edit]


External links[edit]