Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 17, 2018

2018 Waverley Library Award for Literature shortlist

Now here’s an award I’d never heard of, which deserves a bit of attention. (Thanks, Barry Scott @transitlounge2!)

It’s the Waverley Library Award (known as The Nib) – which is not only quite substantial ($20,000 for the winner and $1000 for each of the shortlisted authors) – it’s also for something quite specific which I suspect might be unique. The award was set up in 2002 to recognise the role of research in fiction and nonfiction.

The Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award is Waverley Council’s annual celebration of the best in Australian research and writing. Established in 2002 as The Nib Waverley Library Award for Literature, this prestigious prize has so far distributed around $350,000 directly to deserving Australian authors*.

Entries are open to all Australian writers regardless of their experience, chosen subject matter or genre. Submitted works are judged against the specific award criteria of excellence in research, high level of literary merit, readability and value to the community. Winners are decided by an independent panel of three judges each of whom bring a wealth of experience from across the literary world.

What’s even more interesting is that the award is administered through a local government council.  (It’s Waverley in Sydney, not the suburb in Melbourne which belongs in the Monash council).   #Sigh I can’t imagine my local council doing that.   Are there other councils managing literary awards??

  • I can’t find a site that lists all the previous winners.  It would be interesting to see who they were, eh?

Anyway, the shortlist for the 2018 Waverley Library Award for Literature includes:

•Relatively Famous (Roger Averill, Transit Lounge), see my review
•The Trauma Cleaner (Sarah Krasnostein, Text)
•The Dead Still Cry Out (Helen Lewis, Text)
•Eggshell Skull (Bri Lee, A&U)
•Call of the Reed Warbler (Charles Massy, UQP)
•The Suitcase Baby (Tanya Bretherton, Hachette).

The winner will be announced on 22 November. There’s also a People’s Choice Award with $1000 prize money. Voting for the People’s Choice Award is now open on the Waverley Council website.

For more information about the award, visit the Waverley Library website here.

Update, later the same day:

The senior publicist for this award, Annabel Rijks from DMCPR Media has been in touch and has kindly supplied the names of previous winners

2017 – Anaesthesia: The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness, by Kate Cole-Adams, Text
2016 – Who Bombed the Hilton? by Rachel Landers, New South Publishing
2015 – Acute Misfortune: The life and Death of Adam Cullen, by Erik Jensen, Black Inc. See my review
2014 – The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, by Clare Wright, Text. See my review.

It would be really great if someone with the requisite knowhow  set up a page for this award at Wikipedia, eh? (Not me, I hasten to add, I was always in trouble for mucking things up.)


  1. Great to see Local Government promoting the Arts in a concrete manner, should be more of it


    • Amen to that. There are some in Melbourne: I used to do LitFest gigs for the Stonnington Literary Festival organised by their library, for example. But I don’t know of any others supporting an award and I’d like to hear about it if there are.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear, I have been subscribed to Waverly’s emails for some years but haven’t been reading them lately – too many emails, too many awards – so I missed this. Interesting shortlist. I nearly bought Call of the reed warbler for my brother’s birthday (close to yours I think) but didn’t know enough about it. If I’d know about this shortlist, I may have bought it!!!


    • It’s hard to keep up. I miss award announcements all the time, and I admit to simply deleting emails when there’s just too many of them after I’ve been away. (I filter them carefully, so friends’ emails and bills &c don’t disappear).


      • Yes me too. I have my important emails colour coded so they’ll stand out in the in-box, and blog emails filter straight to a special folder so I can check them there.


  3. I don’t get as many emails as you guys though that doesn’t stop me falling behind. When I have a break (today I’m in a lunchroom while my truck is serviced) I try and deal with the backlog in date order. Don’t think councils should do national literary awards, they have enough to do, even though this one seems worthwhile and a bit different.


    • Ah well, I think most people understand that our blogs are done as voluntary work and that we do the best we can with the time we have available…


    • Interesting point Bill. My attitude would be that that’s up to the the residents of that council area/municipality to decide. If they’re happy for their council to do this why not. Why shouldn’t a council support the arts (nationally or more locally)? Particularly if, as this one seems to be, its backed by some sponsors and local partnerships?


      • I think there’s a strong case to be for local councils to be involved in all kinds of arts activity at grass roots level: it generates employment and it adds to the quality of life for residents. My council doesn’t do much for books, but they support local musicians with a couple of local festivals, and there’s a food and wine festival, and they do Christmas Carol concerts and so forth, plus we have two theatres for concerts and plays, exhibition space and competitions for visual artists and I’m happy for my rates to support that because it all adds to the quality of life in my city.


        • Yes. Council=grass roots. Anything else is taking their eyes off the job we elect/pay them for.


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