Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 29, 2013

2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards shortlist was announced today.  The fiction list is very strong – I’ve only read two of them so far, but even so, I’m glad I don’t have to choose between them!




  • The Secret River by Andrew Bovell
  • Savages by Patricia Cornelius
  • Medea by Anne-Louise Sarks and Kate Mulvany


Young Adults

Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers!


  1. That’s a great fiction list! I have only read one so far – Burial Rites – which will make it into one of my top ten reads of the year. I have Eyrie on my bedside table and I’m next on the reservation list at the library for Coal Creek. I’ve decided not to read Questions of Travel as I don’t think it is for me and I want to read Carpentaria by Wright before I get to The Swan Book and I have bought the Flanagan for my husband for Christmas (with coveting thoughts, of course). Interesting that Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas is not on the list.


    • LOL I wish my husband read fiction, I could buy him some very covetable books too!
      I have to content myself with buying him nice recipe books so that he can cook more scrumptious meals for me:)


  2. I haven’t read any of that fiction shortlist, but they’re all books I’d like to get around to. To be honest, that’s one of the strongest shortlists I’ve seen in any prize for quite some time…


  3. Ditto what sharkell and Tony said — this is an incredibly strong fiction list. I do wonder about these state awards though — the same books get nominated in all of them and (usually) the same book wins award after award. Perhaps they should operate a bit like a state of origin thing, where only those born in Victoria can be shortlisted for the Victorian Premier awards and only those born in NSW can be shortlisted for the NSW equivalent… and so on. What do you think? Surely it would allow some new voices/authors to be heard and expand the scope of Australian literature that gets publicised?


    • Ha, you are worried about Winton taking out the lot, aren’t you?
      Actually the word is that the Flanagan is the best he’s ever done, and I’ve read wonderful things about Coal Creek too and of course Questions of Travel and The Swan Book are both brilliant as well. AS for Burial Rites, I don’t know, I’ve heard mixed opinions about it but there’s a lot of positive commentary about that as well.
      So I reckon it’s wide open.
      (I myself couldn’t pick the winner out of the two that I’ve read, never mind out of the lot of them).
      Nope, sorry, my friend, I don’t like the State of Origin idea at all. There’s quite enough parochialism in this country as it is!


      • I’m not worried about Winton winning everything… because I don’t think he will — the competition is too tough this year. it was more a general conversation I had on Twitter last year after Questions of Travel won its nth state literary award… and it’s not that the book wasn’t deserving, it’s just that I felt sorry for all those other authors who kept missing out. I think the same thing happened with Gillian Mear’s Foal’s Bread the year before. There surely has to be a fairer system and a better way of promoting more Australian authors than letting one person dominate every single award and the fairest way I could come up with was a state of origin thing.

        Like you, I’ve got three weeks of work left and then I’ve got a fortnight off over Christmas and I cannot wait to get stuck into my big pile of books that have been sitting here waiting for a time when I’m less hectic. First off the rank is Flanagan’s novel which I ordered from Oz… it arrived last week.


        • Oh I agree, authors are so dependent on prizes these days, it can make such a huge difference to whether they press on or give up. I like the Patrick White approach: I’ve won enough, I’m not entering my book, and I’m setting up an award for other writers with some of my prize money too.


  4. This is my first time commenting here, Lisa, though I’ve been a reader of your blog for some time and of course have seen you commenting on Kim’s and Kevin’s blogs regularly.

    That is a very strong fiction shortlist, as I’d expect it to be in what seems to be a vintage year for Australian fiction. I’ve read three of them, abandoned one and am halfway through a fifth.

    Winton’s I thought very good though for me it wasn’t quite his best, and I still haven’t made my mind up about the ambiguous ending – perfect, or a cop-out?
    Alex Miller’s was wonderful and as good as anything of his I’ve read – he’s an author who always surprises me: before ‘Autumn Laing’ I didn’t know he could do laugh-out-loud funny, and with ‘Coal Creek’ he shows he can do thriller-like intensity.
    Richard Flanagan’s novel is easily one of the best book’s I’ve read this year – just brilliant.
    I abandoned ‘Questions of Travel’ about halfway through. I’m afraid I found it an enormous slog: I didn’t like the style of writing, I couldn’t connect with either character, and I simply wasn’t enjoying it, though I know I’m pretty much alone in that.
    And I’m currently partway through ‘Burial Rites’ – so far it’s pretty good though it isn’t blowing me away as much as all the hype for it suggested it would, and something about the way the author writes dialogue doesn’t always sound right (I keep imagining her lines being delivered by really bad actors!).
    And to echo Sharkell: no Tsiolkas? I though ‘Barracuda’ was fantastic.


    • Hello David, and welcome:)
      It’s funny, isn’t it, how some years in fiction are rather sparse, and then we get a year like this where all our best writers produce the next brilliant novel.
      The way I look at it, the sparse years are the ones where others can get their heads above the parapet, eh?
      I’m looking forward to the Winton, I wasn’t at all impressed by Breath (and *echo* I’m pretty much alone in that) but having just re-read Cloudstreet my memory of his great writing is refreshed. I can’t wait to read the Flanagan – IMO he’s long overdue for a Miles Franklin.
      Anyway, I have three weeks of school to go before the summer holidays – and then I can get down to the serious business of reading these treasures. I want to read them when I can drop everything and just read ’em!


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