Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 22, 2017

2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards winners

Here are the winners of the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, announced tonight at the Sydney Writers Festival and highlighted in bold below.

Update, the next day: Do read Jonathan Shaw’s account of the awards night, it’s terrific.

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction

“Vancouver” #3 in the series Wisdom Tree by Nick Earles (I read the first two in the series but lost interest after that) Update, the next day: Obviously I should have kept reading them because Vancouver won the People’s Choice Award!

“Their Brilliant Careers: The Fantastic Lives of Sixteen Extraordinary Australian Writers” by Ryan O’Neill, see my review

“The Museum of Modern Love” by Heather Rose, see my review (IMO this is the standout title for the prize).

“Where the Light Falls” by Gretchen Shirm, see my review

“After the Carnage” by Tara June Winch, see my review

“The Natural Way of Things” by Charlotte Wood, see combined reviews

UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing

“The Memory Artist” by Katherine Brabon, see my review

“Letters to Pessoa” by Michelle Cahill, see Karenlee Thompson’s guest review

“Dodge Rose” by Jack Cox, see my review and Alys Moody’s at the Sydney Review of Books

“Our Magic Hour” by Jennifer Down, see Elly Verranti’s review at SMH

“Portable Curiosities” by Julie Koh, see collected reviews at Koh’s website

“The Bonobo’s Dream” by Rose Mulready, see my review and Daniel’s review at All the Novellas

Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction

“Everywhere I Look” by Helen Garner, see Sue’s review at Whispering Gums

“Talking To My Country” by Stan Grant, see my thoughts here (it’s not really a review)

“The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their Craft” by Tom Griffiths, see my review and Jim Davidson’s review at the SMH

“Avalanche” by Julia Leigh, see Lara Feigel’s review at The Guardian

“Our Man Elsewhere: In Search of Alan Moorehead” by Thornton McCamish, see Richard Trembath’s review at The Conversation

“Prince of Darkness:The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire” by Shane White, see Elizabeth Elliot’s review at the American Historical Association

Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry

“Ghostspeaking” by Peter Boyle

“Burnt Umber” by Paul Hetherington

“Breaking the Days” by Jill Jones

“Fragments” by Antigone Kefala

“Firebreaks:Poems” by John Kinsella

“Comfort Food” by Ellen Van Neerven

Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature

“Elegy” by Jane Abbott

“The Ghost by the Billabong” by Jackie French

“The Sidekicks” by Will Kostakis

“One Thousand Hills” by James Roy and Noël Zihabamwe

“The Boundless Sublime” by Lili Wilkinson

“One Would Think the Deep” by Claire Zorn

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature

“Magrit” by Lee Battersby, illustrated by Amy Daoud

“Something Wonderful” by Raewyn Caisley and Karen Blair

“Desert Lake” by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli

“Iris and the Tiger” by Leanne Hall

“Figgy and the President” by Tasmin Janu

“Welcome to Country” by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy

Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting

“The Hanging” by Angela BEtzien

“You and Me and the Space Between” by Finegan Fruckmeyer

“The Drover’s Wife” by Leah Purcell

“Ladies Day” by Alana Valentine

Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting

“The Code, Series 2 Episode 4” by Shelley Birse (joint winner)

“Sucker” by Lawrence Leung and Ben Chessell

“Down Under” by Abe Forsythe (joint winner)

“The Kettering Incident Episode 1” by Victoria Madden

“Afghanistan: Inside Australia’s War” by Victoria Midwinter Pitt

“Cleverman, Episode 5 ‘Terra Nullius’” by Michael Miller

Multicultural Award NSW

The Hate Race” by Maxine Beneba Clarke, see Sue’s review at Whispering Gums

“Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru” by Madeline Gleeson, see Fiona Capp’s review at the SMH

“Not Quite Australian; How Temporary Migration is Changing the Nation” by Peter Mares, see Morag Fraser’s review at the SMH

“Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea” by Marie Munkara, see my review

“Promising Azra” by Helen Thurloe, see Natalie Salvo’s review at Natalie Salvo’s Portfolio

“The Fighter: A True Story” by Arnold Zable, I couldn’t find a review of this except at the paywalled Australian.

NSW Premier’s Translation Prize

J.M.Q. Davies, translator of (amongst others) Slaves in their Chains by Konstantínos Theotókis, (on order from Fishpond)

Penny Hueston, translator of (amongst others) Little Jewel by Patrick Modiano

Jennifer Lindsay, translator of Indonesian non-fiction and especially Tempo, see this article

Royall Tyler, see this article at Wikipedia for a list of works translated

Multicultural NSW Early Career Translator Prize

Jan Owen

Christopher Williams

Indigenous Writer’s Prize – Biennial prize next awarded in 2018


  1. Thanks for the links again Lisa. Im pretty sure my reading group will schedule The museum of modern love for the second half of the year. I’m really looking forward to reading it.


    • I was pleased to see that it won. Well deserved!
      A little bit disappointed that The Art of Time Travel didn’t win because I did so love it. But it and Talking to My Country were the only NF nominations I’d read, so I’m not in a position to judge.


      • You’re allowed to be disappointed though, just not a judge!


  2. Thanks for putting this together. I’ve got my eye on Where the Light Falls.


  3. Thanks for the link, Lisa. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I couldn’t help wondering if it wasn’t just a bit naff to write an eyewitness account of an event one wasn’t there for, but I seem to have established a tradition for myself. Your link probably ensures that I’ll do it again next year!


    • Oh, and thanks for all the links to reviews of the books. That’s a fabulous resource.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good! I think it’s an excellent tradition that is very apt for the 21st century:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] her own and other people’s, of almost all the winners, plus the shortlisted book. Click here to get […]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Unfortunately the timing of these awards meant I couldn’t get to the poetry releases before the announcement. I have “Fragments”, “Ghostspeaking” (the winner) & Breaking the Days”, I have also secured an interview with Jill Jones, the writer of “Breaking the Days” and will attempt to secure a few more in the coming weeks.

    “Letter to Pessoa”the winner of the “New Writing” Award is magnificent, I may review that one day too.


    • Gosh, Tony, even if you didn’t have a major fundraising event to organise at this time, I don’t think any of can keep up with all the awards there are these days.
      If you can email me the URLs (or put them in comments but do it two at a time) I’ll link them here so people can find them easily at yours.

      Liked by 1 person

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