Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2019 shortlists announced

The shortlists for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have been announced.

The shortlisted titles in each category are:



  • A Certain Light: A memoir of family, loss and hope (Cynthia Banham, A&U)

  • Axiomatic (Maria Tumarkin, Brow Books)

  • Half the Perfect World: Writers, dreamers and drifters on Hydra, 1955–1964 (Paul Genoni & Tanya Dalziell, Monash University Press)

  • Rusted Off: Why country Australia is fed up (Gabrielle Chan, Vintage)

  • The Arsonist: A mind on fire (Chloe Hooper, Hamish Hamilton)

Australian history

  • Dancing in Shadows: Histories of Nyungar performance (Anna Haebich, UWA Publishing)

  • Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering ancient Australia (Billy Griffiths, Black Inc.)

  • The Bible in Australia: A cultural history (Meredith Lake, NewSouth)

  • The Land of Dreams: How Australians won their freedom, 1788–1860 (David Kemp, The Miegunyah Press)

  • You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians who won the vote and inspired the world (Clare Wright, Text)


  • Blakwork (Alison Whittaker, Magabala)

  • Click here for what we do (Pam Brown, Vagabond)

  • Newcastle Sonnets (Keri Glastonbury, Giramondo)

  • Sun Music: New and selected poems (Judith Beveridge, Giramondo)

  • Viva the Real (Jill Jones, UQP)

Children’s fiction

  • His Name Was Walter (Emily Rodda, HarperCollins)

  • Sonam and the Silence (Eddie Ayres, illus by Ronak Taher, A&U)

  • The Feather (Margaret Wild, illus by Freya Blackwood, Little Hare)

  • The Incredible Freedom Machines (Kirli Saunders, illus by Matt Ottley, Scholastic)

  • Waiting for Chicken Smith (David Mackintosh, Little Hare)

Young adult fiction

The winners in each category will receive $80,000 and the shortlisted writers each receive $5000. All prizes are tax-free.

For more information, and the judges’ comments on each book, please go to the website: