Posted by: Lisa Hill | January 31, 2017

2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards winners

The  Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for 2017 were announced today.

The winners were:



  • Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru (Madeline Gleeson, NewSouth)


  • Carrying the World (Maxine Beneba Clarke, Hachette)

Young adult

  • When Michael Met Mina (Randa Abdel-Fattah, Pan)

Victorian Prize for Literature

And the winner of the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature is  playwright Leah Purcell for The Drover’s Wife (Currency Press).


The shortlisted books in each category were:


  • Between a Wolf and a Dog (Georgia Blain, Scribe) See my review
  • The Healing Party (Micheline Lee, Black Inc.), see my review
  • Wood Green (Sean Rabin, Giramondo) See my review
  • Waiting (Philip Salom, Puncher & Wattmann), Update: 5/6/17, this would have been my pick for the winner, see my review
  • The Rules of Backyard Cricket (Jock Serong, Text) (crime fiction)
  • The Love of a Bad Man (Laura Elizabeth Woollett, Scribe) (short stories)


  • Songs of a War Boy (Deng Adut & Ben Mckelvey, Hachette)
  • The Hate Race (Maxine Beneba Clarke, Hachette)
  • The Killing Season Uncut (Sarah Ferguson & Patricia Drum, MUP)
  • Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru (Madeline Gleeson, NewSouth)
  • Position Doubtful (Kim Mahood, Scribe) See my review
  • The Fighter (Arnold Zable, Text)


  • Carrying the World (Maxine Beneba Clarke, Hachette)
  • Painting Red Orchids (Eileen Chong, Pitt Street Poetry)
  • Bull Days (Tina Giannoukos, Australian Scholarly Publishing)

Young adult

  • When Michael Met Mina (Randa Abdel-Fattah, Pan)
  • The Bone Sparrow (Zana Fraillon, Lothian)
  • The Other Side of Summer (Emily Gale, Random House)


  • Girl Shut Your Mouth (Gita Bezard, Black Swan State Theatre Company)
  • Trigger Warning (Zoë Coombs Marr, Melbourne International Comedy Festival)
  • The Drover’s Wife (Leah Purcell, Currency Press).



  1. Georgia Blain . . . bitter sweet.


    • Yes indeed. I was torn between the Blain and Sean Rubin’s Wood Green but I probably would have given it to her too because it raises more significant issues. Mind you, I am interested in Waiting, Jane Rawson was barracking for that so it must be good.


  2. I feel like I’m very behind on my ‘prize reading’ – haven’t read any of these (doesn’t augur well for Stella season…).


    • I wouldn’t worry about that, we all picked the winner by the subject matter last year and this year’s is a no brainer too (even though I haven’t read it yet).
      (Actually, by rights they should give it to fantasy, romance or crime as they always said they would because, they said, women writers in those genres deserve to be taken seriously too – I was there at the launch and I heard them say it), but I can’t see that happening any time soon).

      Liked by 1 person

      • A ‘no-brainier’…Which book do you think will win the Stella? I have read very few new releases in the last year so don’t even have s shortlist in mind!


  3. So glad that Leah Purcell won the Drama award – and the overall prize for The Drover’s Wife: Was lucky to see the play in Sydney and the script is fantastic! And Leah’s performance was outstanding. And over the moon that Georgia Blain’s so sadly last novel won the fiction award – it featured high on my list of top reads of 2016:


    • Yes, I think the Blain was a popular win, and not because of the sympathy vote but because it’s her best work IMO.
      I read somewhere yesterday (on Twitter??) that there are urgings to have The Drover’s Wife staged here in Melbourne. I certainly hope it is!


      • If The Drover’s Wife comes to Melbourne, you MUST see it! I agree with what you say about Georgia’s novel – it’s the pinnacle of her career!


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