Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 22, 2017

2017 ALS Gold Medal longlist

The longlist for the 2017 Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal has been announced, and I’ve reviewed six of the longlisted titles. .

The longlisted titles are:

Of course the judges can’t longlist every beaut book published in 2016, but notable eligible omissions include:

The ALS Gold Medal is presented annually by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) for a ‘work of outstanding literary merit’ published in the previous calendar year.


  1. With the exception of Georgia Blain’s novel, and perhaps Steven Amsterdam’s (which I’m just beginning to read), Fiona McFarlane and Zoe Morrison, this seems an unusual longlist, though I never know which books published when actually qualify…


    • Hi Annette, that’s why I started tracking the year of publication of the books I review. If you follow the RHS menu right down to the bottom, you can see the Year of Publication category for 2016.


  2. It is wonderful to see the poetry (sonnets) collection Bull Days by Tina Giannoukous make the list. On my own blog I find it hard to criticise judging of awards so I haven’t publicly stated that this was the standout poetry collection on the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award list, the judges being street & beat poets electing to go for the more accessible work. I can assure readers who like challenging, thought provoking works that Bull Days will not disappoint. More on that work at my blog (including an interview with the poet).


  3. Are you planning to read the remaining titles from the list Lisa?


    • No, I haven’t got any of them, and while I try to read everything on the Miles Franklin longlists, I really can’t keep up with reading everything for all the awards. There’s just too many.
      And there’s another aspect too: there’s been some discussion lately here around the cost of publishers entering books in all these awards, entry fees of $50 or more plus the cost of posting half a dozen copies to the judges as well. You can see that entering books in half a dozen awards can get very expensive for a small publisher, and there isn’t necessarily an increase in sales even if the book wins. Some awards get very little publicity so even being longlisted doesn’t necessarily benefit the author and publisher much either. Some publishers have decided that they just can’t afford to enter for awards, and that sometimes means that some very good books don’t get their time in the sun. (Somebody did an analysis and found that it’s mostly the big publishers who win because they can afford to enter everything. That can mean that commercial fiction wins by default even if the prize is supposed to be for literary fiction).
      I had not thought about this much before, but I’ve been thinking about it now, and I’ve decided that the most useful thing I can do, and the most purposeful way I can spend my time, is to try to read and review as many recently released Australian titles as I can, regardless of whether they’re on lists or not. (As long as they’re the kind of book I like to read, of course. Some awards are all about pushing some agenda or another, and I tend to steer clear of those).


      • Now you got me thinking whether the Booker prize which is the only one I follow (for similar reason to you, that I can’t keep up with all the prizes) also has an entry fee. Im thinking thats not the case otherwise we wouldnt have seen as many independent houses get onto the long/short list as we have in the last two years.


        • Well, entering the Booker would be more worthwhile even if the book were only longlisted because the Booker gets publicity all over the world and lots of people buy every nominated book.
          (Actually, I shouldn’t write ‘only’ because being longlisted for the Booker would be a major achievement for any author.)


        • Entering the Booker is pretty rigorous. You have to provide 8 copies of the book, and if you are shortlisted you have to contribute £5000 towards promotion. The number of works a publisher can submit is controlled by how many longlisted titles they have had. None of these, and they can only submit one. But there are options for the judges to call-up books.

          BTW Karen, despite the discussion regarding cost, most small publishers are still submitting, which the ALS list shows.


          • Wow, that is rigorous. It puzzles me, I would have (naively) thought that in rich western nations with lots of very wealthy people indeed, that sponsors would cover the whole cost of a major prize and not offload its costs onto its participants.


            • Apparently not – must say naive me would have thought the same which is why I thought, on Karen’s query, to check.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m surprised An Isolated Incident missed out (maybe they had a truck driver on the judging panel), it seems to have rated highly for most other prizes.


    • I am too. As usual, we don’t know what the criteria are…


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