Victorian Premier's Literary Awards

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The Victorian Premier's Literary Awards were created by the Victorian Government with the aim of raising the profile of contemporary creative writing and Australia's publishing industry. As of 2013, it is reportedly Australia's richest literary prize with the top winner receiving A$125,000 and category winners A$25,000 each.[1]

They were established in 1985 by John Cain, the Premier of Victoria at that time, to mark the centenary of the births of Vance and Nettie Palmer, two of Australia's best-known writers and critics who both made significant contributions to Victorian and Australian literary culture.

From 1986 through till 1997 they were presented as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival. In 1997 the administration of the awards was transferred to the State Library of Victoria.[2] By 2004 the award's total prize money was A$180,000. In 2011 stewardship was taken over by the Wheeler Centre.

Winners 2011-present[edit]

Beginning in 2011,[3] the awards were restructured into 5 categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Drama and Young People's. The winner of each receives $25,000. Of those 5 winners, one is chosen as the overall winner of the Victorian Prize for Literature and receives an additional $100,000. There are two other categories with different prize amounts: An honorary People's Choice Award voted on by readers. And a Unpublished Manuscript Award with a prize amount of $15,000.[1]

Shortlists are maintained in the main article for each category.

Victorian Prize for Literature[edit]



  • 1990-2010 see Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-fiction
  • 2011 Mark McKenna, An Eye for Eternity: The Life Of Manning Clark
  • 2012 Bill Gammage, The Biggest Estate on Earth
  • 2013 No award
  • 2014 Henry Reynolds, Forgotten War
  • 2015 Alan Atkinson, The Europeans in Australia: Volume Three: Nation
  • 2016 Gerald Murnane, Something for the Pain
  • 2017 Madeline Gleeson, Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus 


Writing for Young Adults[edit]


People's Choice Award[edit]

Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award[edit]

Prize for Indigenous Writing[edit]

  •  2017 Tony Birch, Ghost River

Defunct award categories (1985-2010)[edit]

From 1985 to 2010 prizes were offered in some or all of the below categories.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jason Steger (January 28, 2014). "Liquid Nitrogen poet Jennifer Maiden wins Australia's richest literature prize". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Zora Sanders (April 21, 2011). "Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards to be the Richest in Australia". Meanjin. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2011". Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "21 big names. One big decision. Start reading.". Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2014". Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2015". Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2016". Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2016. 
  9. ^ Steger, Jason (2017-01-31). "Victorian Premier's Literary Award 2017 winners: Georgia Blain wins posthumous prize". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-06-04. 

External links[edit]