Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 12, 2018

2018 Melbourne Prize finalists

The finalists for the Melbourne Prize for Literature 2018 were announced today. The prize, open to Victorian authors writing in any genre and based on a writer’s body of work, is worth $60,000 to the winner.
The finalists are below and links in the list take you to my reviews of the author’s work.:

I’m especially interested to see Alison Lester in this list.  Lester is an outstanding children’s book author and illustrator and I am very familiar with her work from my years as a teacher-librarian.  Do have a look at her website, and if you have small children in your life, make sure you include Lester’s books in the birthday and Christmas presents you buy!

The Best Writing Award 2018 is worth $30,000 to the winner and is open to Victorian authors for a work published between 2015 and 2018.

The finalists are:

  • Judith Bishop
  • Angus Cerini
  • Kate Cole-Adams
  • Briohny Doyle
  • A. Frances Johnson
  • Maria Tumarkin
  • Sarah Krasnostein
  • Louise Milligan
  • Jock Serong
  • Jeff Sparrow

In previous years it was possible to read these entries online at the prize website.  I can’t find any links there today but they may have been holding off until after the announcement so keep an eye on the site if you are interested.

The new Readings Residency Award 2018 is for emerging Victorian author and is open to all literary genres.  It includes a residency at The University of Melbourne’s Norma Redpath Studio and an affiliation with the School of Culture and Communication, plus $5,000 supported by Readings and a $2,500 Qantas travel voucher.

The finalists are:

There’s also a Readers’ Choice Award worth $4,000 and you can read more about that on the prize website too.

Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers!





  1. I was going to ask who is behind the prize, but it is answered obliquely anyway on the Melbourne Prize website you link to. I love Melbourne and if people want to put their tax deductible donations behind yet another prize for artists who am I to argue, but how many prizes do we need?


    • Ha! I’ll bite!! Yes, more prizes, lots more, and anyway this one is different.
      Once again Gerald Murnane (a contender for the Nobel Prize in Lit) has been passed over by the judges of the Miles Franklin Award, but he won the Melbourne Prize in 2009. The poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe won it in 2015. The Melbourne Prize has in the past rewarded great writers who are never going to win any of the other prizes.

      Mind you, I note that one of the judges of the Melbourne Prize at some unspecified time in its history once told me unabashed that #InsertGenderNeutralPronoun (so that you can’t tell who I am referring to) did not read any Australian books at all because none of them were any good. (Will swear to that in a court of law if I get sued, because I have indelible memories of this moment. I was in shock).
      #SarcasticSmile I guess that getting a gig as a judge helped override that consideration.


  2. Indeed yes, this is a very prestigious prize:)


  3. Have to been to Alison Lester’s gallery & shop in Fish Creek, Lisa? She’s a fellow South Gippslander, and my sister (who is a primary teacher in the UAE) tells me the gallery & shop is AMAZING. She popped by there on her last trip to Australia in July.

    Re: Gideon Haigh, I only know him as a cricket writer, so I am assuming this prize is open to fiction and non-fiction… ?


    • Hi Kim, no I haven’t been to her gallery, but I think I’ve seen some of her artwork at Books Illustrated, which is a gallery on Beaconsfield Parade. It specialises in artworks from children’s picture books and I bought a lovely drawing by Ann James from there.
      I haven’t been down Gippsland way for a few years now, it might be time for a long weekend some time soon:)

      Yes, all forms of writing are eligible…


      • Well, there’s plenty of lovely places to visit along the way 😉 Also, I’ve just discovered Haigh writes true crime novels and I’ve just bought one that sounds right up my street.


        • Indeed there are. We used to have a place at Metung, and before that at Inverloch so we know the area well, but I’m sure there have been changes since the last time we were down that way, which (checking the travel blog) was 2009!

          Liked by 1 person

          • You used to have a place at Inverloch? Spent my childhood on the beaches there.


            • Well sort of. My sister’s MIL had a place there, right on the beach next to the milk bar, and we had open access to it more or less any time we liked for quite some years. We had some great times there until she fell on the rocks one day and broke her hip. She wasn’t rescued for some hours, and ended up in aged care, so the house was sold.
              It’s probably been pulled down now for some posh new place.

              Liked by 1 person

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