Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 20, 2018

2018 Kibble and Dobbie Awards Longlists


Nita B Kibble (Wikipedia Commons)

Long before anybody dreamed up the Stella Award, the Kibble and Dobbie Awards were set up in 1994 to honour women’s writing.  Like the Miles Franklin Award, they were funded through the legacy of a woman who cared passionately about literature.  As you can see at the award website:

[Through her Will] Nita May Dobbie [1904-1992] established the Nita B Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers in recognition of her aunt, Nita Bernice Kibble (1879-1962). Miss Kibble raised her from birth after her mother died and was also the first woman to be appointed a librarian with the State Library of New South Wales.

These Kibble Award is worth $30,000 to the winner, and the Dobbie for a debut author is worth $5000.

Amongst some of Australia’s most prestigious awards for women writers, the Nita B Kibble Literary Awards (the Kibble Awards) aim to encourage Australian women writers to improve and advance literature for the benefit of our community.

The Awards recognise the works of female authors of fiction or non-fiction classified as ‘life writing’. This includes novels, autobiographies, biographies, literature and any writing with a strong personal element.

The Kibble Literary Award recognises the work of an established author while the Dobbie Literary Award recognises a first published work.

Since the inception of the Kibble Literary Awards in 1994, many of Australia’s leading women writers have received prizes, each benefiting from Nita Dobbie’s foresight and vision.

The 2018 longlisted authors are:

Kibble Literary Award for an established author ($30,000 prize) 

Dobbie Literary Award for a first-time published author ($5,000 prize)

  • Melanie Cheng: Australia Day (Text Publishing)
  • Eva De Jong-Duldig Driftwood: Escape and Survival Through Art (Australian Scholarly Publishing)
  • Madelaine Dickie: Troppo (Fremantle Press), see Sue’s review at Whispering Gums
  • Jennifer Down: Our Magic Hour (Text Publishing)
  • Jessica Friedmann: Things That Helped (Scribe Publications)
  • Roanna Gonsalves: The Permanent Resident (UWA Publishing)
  • Sarah Krasnostein: The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster
    (Text Publishing)
  • Micheline Lee: The Healing Party: A Novel (Black Inc Books), see my review


  1. I saw this come through too Lisa. Always exciting to see these lists. Thanks for the links. If you are interested, I have reviewed two others too – Laguna’s The choke and Dickie’s Troppo.

    I wasn’t interested in Krasnostein, but it’s getting a lot of positive commentary, and my brother and partner gave it to me for my birthday, so with any luck I’ll read it before the prize is finalised.


    • Thanks, Sue, I’ll add those links too.
      I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Trauma Cleaner too, but I’ve put them down to the current preoccupation with grief and misery memoirs. And for reasons I don’t need to repeat, I have sworn off other people’s grief and misery for a while.
      (I’ve had The Tattooist on my pile for ages but I just can’t make myself pick it up just yet even though it’s getting good reviews too.)


      • I understand. I don’t reject grief stories, but with all I have to read, I’m more likely to read fiction on the topic than memoir, but my brother’s liking it has put a whole new spin (plus the fact that he gave it to me!!) As it’s just been listed for yet another award – ABIA Biography, I htink? – I’m going to read it soon.


        • Of course… I always read books given to me as gifts, even if they’re not quite what I would have chosen myself:)

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hmmm … I say I always do, but I must say some, even ones I really want to read languish there for some years. By the time I read reading group books, and review copies, I seem to have little time for “my” choices.


            • That’s why I gave up book groups… we rarely read anything I wanted to read or hadn’t already read…


              • Ohno, I didn’t mean when I said I don’t get to “my” choices that I don’t like my book group reads. I love what my group reads. After all, this month we’re doing Garner! Then Flanagan and Stow. All books I’m keen to read. It’s just that by the time I read those books and my review books I have little time for anything else. Of course, occasionally my book group’s choice wouldn’t be my first choice, but the benefits of reading with the group far outweigh those occasions. And as I do the schedule, if there’s one I really don’t want to read – but that’s rare – I put it on the month I expect to be away! Usually though, it’s “I want to read them all, wah!, what will I schedule for when I’m away!”


                • What I like is the ‘Book Chats’ I go to at the Bayside libraries… everyone just brings along whatever they’ve been reading, and the librarian shares what’s new, and it’s a very pleasant hour of general chat:)


                • You not sleeping too?!

                  That sounds great. I know some bookgroups which do it that way rather than all read one book. I’m sure I’d enjoy that too, but I’d really miss my group’s more in-depth discussion of a chosen book. Hmmm … except this month we are doing something different. We are all choosing our own Garner and are going to talk about it. (We’ve done 4 Garners through our history, so thought we’d try this. It will be interesting to see how it goes. A couple might in fact read the recent biography. Anyhow, I’ll probably write a para or so about how it worked, when I post on MY Garner!)


  2. I am not familiar with these two awards. I am glad to have learned about them. Sometimes I think I reside in a parallel universe when it comes to hearing about things down here. ;-)


    • I love these two, for the same reason that I have always loved the MF. Women rarely have much money to leave anybody, especially back in the 20th century, but Miles Franklin beggared herself in her old age to leave money for the award that bears her name because she wanted Australian literature to thrive, and Nita Dobbie left money to set up this award to honour the woman who loved her and inspired her love of literature and was a role model for strong women to break through those glass ceilings.
      When you think about the amount of money involved in the Kibble and Dobbie, $35000 altogether, the initial amount of capital must have been substantial and Perpetual must have done a very good job of investing it so that the money hasn’t run out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Raises the question of whether the Stella organisers should have bulked up the Kibble and Dobbie Awards rather than overshadowing them.


    • I have always thought, from the commentary around the Stella, that they didn’t know about these awards.
      For me, the noisy Stella which depends on corporate philanthropy, will never overshadow the Dobbie and Kibble awards.


    • Well, the Kibble/Dobbie awards are specifically for life-writing. This can be interpreted broadly but still it does limit it. The Stella, on the other hand, has few limitations. Both have the agenda of supporting women’s writing, though, I appreciate that.

      Liked by 1 person

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