Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 2, 2015

Melbourne Prize for Literature shortlist 2015

The shortlist for the Melbourne Prize for Literature was announced today…

This is the shortlist for Best Writing:

James Button, Speechless A year in my father’s business MUP, 2012, see the review in the SMH
Patricia Cornelius, Savages, Playlab 2014, see a review in The Australian
Andrea Goldsmith, The Memory Trap, Fourth Estate 2014, see my review and a Sensational Snippet
Gideon Haigh, On Warne, Penguin Books 2012, see a review at The Monthly
Daniel Keene, Mother, Currency Press 2015, see a review at the SMH
Alex Miller, Coal Creek, Allen & Unwin 2013, see my review
John Safran, Murder in Mississippi, Penguin Books 2013, see a review at The Australian
Maria Takolander, The Double, Text Publishing 2013, see Karenlee Thompson’s guest review
Abigail Ulman, Hot Little Hands, Hamish Hamilton Penguin Books, 2015, see a review at the SMH
Don Watson, The Bush, Hamish Hamilton Penguin Books, 2014, see a review at The Guardian

This is the shortlist for the Melbourne Prize for Literature:

Steven Carroll, see my review of Spirit of Progress and a Sensational Snippet
Brenda Niall, see my review of Mannix
Christos Tsiolkas, see my review of The Slap and The Guardian’s review of Merciless Gods
Chris Wallace-Crabbe, read some of his poems at The Australian Poetry Library
Alexis Wright, see my review of The Swan Book   

(During Indigenous Literature Week here at ANZ LitLovers, I am especially pleased to see Alexis Wright,  of the Waanyi people of the Gulf of Carpentaria included in the shortlist.  I did not know she was eligible!)

Here are the finalists for the Writers Prize

Robyn Annear, Places Without Poetry
Nick Gadd, The unconscious of the city
Kate Ryan, Psychotherapy for Normal People
David Sornig, Jubilee: a hymn for Elsie Williams on Dudley Flats
Maria Tumarkin, No Skin

The Writers Prize 2015 is a new category this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the annual Melbourne Prize.   Entrants to the Writers Prize 2015 submitted an essay of up to 20,000 words (minimum 10,000 words), and the essay had to include Melbourne, Victoria or Australia as part of its subject.

For more information and to vote in the Civic Choice Award, visit the Melbourne Prize Trust website.

Click on this link to visit Readings for the Melbourne Prize for Literature 2015 finalist’s books.

Click on this link to visit Readings for the Best Writing Award 2015 finalist’s books.


  1. I don’t quite understand this. I can’t find Robyn Annear’s ‘Places without Poetry’ anywhere. Was it an essay written specifically for this prize? Have the essays been published somewhere?


    • I don’t know either, Janine. But all will be revealed at the finalist exhibition at Fed Square in November. (That’s an intriguing title, isn’t it? I love Annear’s quirky style).


  2. Very few of these names are ones I recognise but I do want to get more into Australian fiction next year. This list could be a good place to start possibly. Any recommendations?


    • *blush* There are some here that I don’t know either. It’s so terribly hard to keep up…
      For recommendations, browse through ANZLL Books You Must Read (in the top menu), you’ll be sure to find all kinds of beaut books, I guarantee it.


  3. It’s high time I started reading Australian fiction, Lisa. I’m sure there so many wonderful works out there. :-)


    • Celestine, do check out my list of recommendations for some ideas.
      BTW Do you have a ‘must-read’ list of Ghanian books? I’ve had a look at Listopia at Goodreads and there isn’t a separate list fro books from Ghana, so I’m going to make one…


  4. It’s always bittersweet when you mention books as many of them will never be available here so that means used copies–and some of them are very pricey. Text Publishing is making a decent showing here, so perhaps the market will open up.


    • Don’t worry, we know the pain of paying for expensive postage too. The only solution is to go eBook, but if you’re like me you probably hate that.
      Of course, there is another solution… make a trip down under to stock up, that’s what Kim of Reading Matters does!


  5. I’m intrigued that some of these books were published in 2013…


    • It’s because it’s a triennial prize. The last Melbourne Prize for Literature was in 2012, and in between they’ve had the prize for music and art. Also the main prize is for a body of work, so it doesn’t matter when that was published.


      • Ah, I see, thanks for the explanation.


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