Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2016 shortlist

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield today announced 30 books by Australian authors that have been shortlisted for the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.


This year’s shortlist features both emerging writers and established award-winning authors. The list features stories and poetry, books about history and key characters in Australian life, and stories that promise to engage young readers.


The Awards celebrate the contribution Australian writers, poets, illustrators and historians make to the cultural landscape. They enlighten, enthral and entertain us with their distinctive storytelling.


Now in their ninth year, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards recognise the best of Australian writing in fiction, non-fiction, Australian history, young adult fiction, children’s fiction and poetry.


The shortlisted books were selected by expert judging panels from 425 entries.


Up to $100,000 is awarded in each category, with $80,000 for each winning entry and $5,000 each for each shortlisted entry.


The 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists are:



  • Forever Young, Steven Carroll (HarperCollins Publishers)

  • The Life of Houses, Lisa Gorton (Giramondo)

  • The World Repair Video Game, David Ireland AM (Island Magazine Inc.)

  • Quicksand, Steve Toltz (Penguin)

  • The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin)


  • Net Needle, Robert Adamson (Black Inc)

  • Cocky’s Joy, Michael Farrell (Giramondo)

  • The Hazards, Sarah Holland-Batt (University of Queensland Press)

  • Waiting for the Past, Les Murray AO (Black Inc.)

  • The Ladder, Simon West (Puncher & Wattmann)

Prize for Australian History

  • The Story of Australia's People. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia, Geoffrey Blainey AC (Penguin)

  • Let My People Go: The untold story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89, Sam Lipski and Suzanne D Rutland (Hybrid Publishers)

  • Red Professor: The Cold War Life of Fred Rose, Peter Monteath and Valerie Munt (Wakefield Press)

  • Ned Kelly: A Lawless Life, Doug Morrissey (Connor Court Publishing)

  • The War with Germany: Volume III—The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War, Robert Stevenson (Oxford University Press)


  • Tom Roberts and the Art of Portraiture, Julie Cotter (Thames & Hudson)

  • On Stalin’s Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics, Sheila Fitzpatrick (Melbourne University Press)

  • Thea Astley: Inventing her own Weather, Karen Lamb (University of Queensland Press)

  • Second Half First, Drusilla Modjeska (Penguin Random House Australia)

  • Island Home, Tim Winton (Penguin)

Children’s Fiction

  • Adelaide's Secret World, Elise Hurst (Allen & Unwin)

  • Sister Heart, Sally Morgan (Fremantle Press)

  • Perfect, Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood (Hardie Grant Egmont)

  • The Greatest Gatsby: A visual book of grammar, Tohby Riddle (Penguin Random House Australia)

  • Mr Huff, Anna Walker (Penguin Random House Australia)

Young Adult Fiction

  • Becoming Kirrali Lewis, Jane Harrison (Magabala Books)

  • Illuminae: The Illuminae Files_01, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

  • A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia)

  • In Between Days, Vikki Wakefield (Text Publishing)

  • Green Valentine, Lili Wilkinson (Allen & Unwin)

More information about the shortlisted books and the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards is available on the Arts website or visit or the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards Facebook page.


17 October 2016.