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2015 Prime Minister's Literary Awards shortlists

Joint Media Release: Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield today announced the 2015 Prime Minister's Literary Awards shortlists which recognise exceptional literary achievement by Australian writers in fiction, non‐fiction, young adult fiction, children's fiction, poetry and Australian history.

These Awards celebrate Australian literature and historical scholarship, and recognise the unique role these endeavours play in communicating Australian stories. They also play an important role in strengthening the profile of Australian writers and illustrators and contribute to the growth of audiences for Australian books.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia has a dynamic and creative literary sector which is a marker of the sophistication and confidence of contemporary Australian culture.

"This is a first‐rate selection of literary and historical works, representing the depth and diversity of contemporary Australian creativity," Mr Turnbull said.

"The shortlists were selected on the recommendations of three expert judging panels, who commended the 30 shortlisted books on their exploration of the Australian experience, artistic endeavour, and scholarly insight."

Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield congratulated the shortlisted authors and emphasised the value of Australian stories.

"The 2015 shortlists is a collection of the best from Australia's established and emerging authors, with books that will delight readers both young and old," Mr Fifield said.

"I encourage all book‐loving Australians to celebrate the exceptional talent of Australia's literary sector by reading a book or two from the 2015 Prime Minister's Literary Awards shortlists."

The awards offer a prize pool of $100,000 in each category ‐ $80,000 for the winning entry and $5,000 to each of the four shortlisted entries.

The 2015 Prime Minister's Literary Awards shortlists are:


  • Amnesia, Peter Carey (Penguin Books Australia)
  • In Certain Circles, Elizabeth Harrower (Text Publishing)
  • Golden Boys, Sonya Hartnett (Penguin Books Australia)
  • The Golden Age, Joan London (Random House Australia)
  • To Name Those Lost, Rohan Wilson (Allen & Unwin)


  • Devadatta's Poems, Judith Beveridge (Giramondo Publishing)
  • Exhibits of the Sun, Stephen Edgar (Black Pepper Publishing)
  • Poems 1957‐2013, Geoffrey Lehmann (UWA Publishing)
  • Earth Hour, David Malouf (University of Queensland Press)
  • Towards the Equator: New & Selected Poems, Alex Skovron (Puncher & Wattmann)

Prize for Australian History

  • The Europeans in Australia – Volume Three: Nation, Alan Atkinson (New South Publishing)
  • Descent into Hell, Peter Brune (Allen & Unwin)
  • Charles Bean, Ross Coulthart (Harper Collins)
  • Menzies at War, Anne Henderson (New South Publishing)
  • The Spy Catchers – The Official History of ASIO Vol 1, David Horner (Allen & Unwin)


  • John Olsen: An Artist's Life, Darleen Bungey (Harper Collins)
  • Private Bill, Barrie Cassidy (Melbourne University Press)
  • This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trail, Helen Garner (Text Publishing)
  • Encountering the Pacific: In the Age of Enlightenment, John Gascoigne (Cambridge University
  • Press)
  • Wild Bleak Bohemia: Marcus Clarke, Adam Lindsay Gordon and Henry Kendall, Michael Wilding (Australian Scholarly Publishing)

Young adult fiction

  • Are You Seeing Me?, Darren Groth (Random House Australia)
  • The Astrologer's Daughter, Rebecca Lim (Text Publishing)
  • Tigers on the Beach, Doug MacLeod (Penguin Books Australia)
  • The Minnow, Diana Sweeney (Text Publishing)
  • The Protected, Claire Zorn (University of Queensland Press)

Children's fiction

  • Two Wolves, Tristan Bancks (Random House Australia)
  • My Dad is a Bear, Nicola Connelly and illustrated by Annie White (New Frontier)
  • My Two Blankets, Irena Kobald and illustrated by Freya Blackwood (Little Hare Books)
  • One Minute's Silence, David Metzenthen and illustrated by Michael Camilleri (Allen & Unwin)
  • Withering‐by‐Sea, Judith Rossell (HarperCollins Publishers)

The Prime Minister's Literary Awards have been recognising excellence in Australian literature since 2008.

Books on the 2015 shortlists were first published in 2014. For more information www.arts.gov.au/pmla

Media contacts:

PMO: Erika Seymour, 0467 789 634 MINISTER FOR THE ARTS: Justine Sywak, 0448 448 487