Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 19, 2014

2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists

Dear me, it says something about the publicity machine at the PM’s office that I found out about the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists from Michael (The Complete Review) Orthofer  who tweets @MAOrthofer and lives in New York, eh?

Still, the good news is that the awards have survived the slash-and-burn budget cuts.  For the time being, that is.

The 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists are:


A World of Other People, Steven Carroll (Harper Collins) (On my TBR)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Vintage Australia) See my review
The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane (Penguin: Hamish Hamilton) See my review
Coal Creek, Alex Miller (Allen & Unwin) On my TBR.  See Kim’s review on her classy new blog.
Belomor, Nicolas Rothwell (Text Publishing) See my review


Tempo, Sarah Day (Puncher & Wattmann Poetry)
Eldershaw, Stephen Edgar (Black Pepper)
1953, Geoff Page (University of Queensland Press)
Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call, Melinda Smith (Pitt Street Poetry)
Chains of Snow, Jakob Ziguras (Pitt Street Poetry)


Moving Among Strangers, Gabrielle Carey (University of Queensland Press)
The Lucky Culture, Nick Cater (Harper Collins Publishers)
Citizen Emperor, Philip Dwyer (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Rendezvous with Destiny, Michael Fullilove (Penguin)
Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John, Helen Trinca (Text Publishing) See my review

Prize for Australian History

Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War, Joan Beaumont (Allen & Unwin)
First Victory 1914, Mike Carlton (Random House)
Australia’s Secret War: How unionists sabotaged our troops in World War II, Hal G.P. Colebatch (Quadrant Books)
Arthur Phillip: Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy, Michael Pembroke (Hardie Grant Books)
The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, Clare Wright (Text Publishing) See my review

Young Adult Fiction

The Incredible Here and Now, Felicity Castagna (Giramondo)
Pureheart, Cassandra Golds (Penguin)
Girl Defective, Simmone Howell (Pan Macmillan)
Life in Outer Space, Melissa Keil (Hardie Grant Egmont)
The First Third, Will Kostakis (Penguin)

Children’s Fiction

(I’ve read all of these and my students love them all.)

Silver Buttons, Bob Graham (Walker Books )
Song for a Scarlet Runner, Julie Hunt (Allen & Unwin)
My Life as an Alphabet, Barry Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin)
Kissed by the Moon, Alison Lester (Puffin)
Rules of Summer, Shaun Tan (Hachette)

Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers!


  1. There were mutterings recently on twitter, people wondering where the list was, so it is good, as you say, that it has emerged, in tact, for now at least.


    • What do you think of their choices?


      • the fiction list is very, um, earnest…


        • Have you read Coal Creek or A World of Other People, Jane? I would like to link to a review of those two if I can find one…


          • Nope. Read the Night Guest (loved), Narrow Road (not so much), Belomor (kind of: gave up). Should read some Alex Miller (never have); have read many other Steven Carrolls, but not this one (and thus am just guessing it’s earnest).


            • *chuckle* I think this guess of yours has pushed the Steven Carroll to the top of the pile, to see if he’s running true to form!


      • Don’t have any strong opinions though I am seeing more mutterings about it. Re fiction: happy about Flanagan, and the Miller makes sense (though I haven’t read it) and The Night Guest made several appearances on lists in the last year so that makes sense too. The Steven Carroll I hadn’t heard of which doesn’t mean anything. The NF is interesting. I only know of the Nick Cater because I stumbled into a session of his in Perth at the writers festival earlier this year and it took a long while for it to dawn on me that I was in a room of right-wingers and it was a very strange feeling but it makes sense it’s on the list because of the judges (have read a little about them). Was there always a prize for Aus history?


        • Ah, I think I remember your post on that session Jenny!

          And, yes, there was a PM prize for Australian History but it was separate, and then a year or so ago they combined it with the suite of PM’s prizes. (Sorry Lisa for butting in!)


          • Ooh, where are the mutterings? They would be very interesting, wouldn’t they?


  2. What an incredibly strong fiction list. I’ve actually three on it!


    • I can guess two: The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and The Night Guest – but which is the third?


      • Coal Creek:


        • Ta muchly! I feel ashamed of myself for not having read this yet, I bought it the week it was released but it’s gradually been submerged by other purchases. I am going to read Joan London’s new one first *no matter what* and then I’ll read it.


          • I know what you mean. Allen & Unwin kindly gave me a proof of Coal Creek last December but it took me 5 months before I picked it up to read. I’m now receiving far fewer proofs from publishers (as has been the case for a year or so now) and it’s a blessed relief to either read the piles I already own or to purchase the books I REALLY want. I will look forward to your thoughts on the London; I really need to read more of her work.


          • I loved the Joan London, thought it wonderful. Made me go straight on and read Gilgamesh all the way through in a day or so. Great stuff.


            • Loved Gilgamesh, looking forward to reading more of her.


              • I loved The Good Parents, even more than Gilgamesh though it didn’t get as much critical attention. Fabulous characterisation…


                • I’m the opposite. I enjoyed The good parents, but it’s Gilgamesh that has really stuck with me, not so much the plot but its tone, evocation of an era. I look forward to reading the next.


  3. Wow, I’ve been watching out for this too — I’d pretty much given up that they were going to to it this year.


    • I’ve discovered that they posted it on Facebook, but of course you have to be following them to know that. And I’m rather ruthless about who I follow, I don’t like my Twitter or Facebook cluttered up with dross, I like to hear from my friends…


      • I do LIKE them on Facebook and had seen some posts in the past from them that had nothing to do the award BUT I hadn’t seen anything for a while. I mean, you have to be on Facebook ALL the time to see every feed that comes through. I don’t follow many organisations but I do follow a few literary ones.


  4. I haven’t read the Colebatch book on the Australian History list, but I suspect that it’s a controversial nomination. Published by Quadrant….


  5. Does the PM actually read all the books selected his name I wonder. Great if he does but maybe he is a bit busy running the country and what not


    • It would be interesting to know what (if anything) our PMs read. But of course any time they’ve ever been asked the answers have so obviously been run through the spin machine that we end up none the wiser.


  6. […] of days ago of the shortlist for this year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (see Lisa ANZLitLovers’ post), made me wonder about literary awards “back […]


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: