Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 17, 2018

2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlist

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlist was announced today, and I can only breathe a sigh of relief that Australian Prime Ministers can come and go but an army of bureaucrats make sure that the important things still get done!


I’ve read all of these and I loved them all, but Border Districts is my pick for the award, for all the reasons I’ve said before.

  • A Long Way from Home, by Peter Carey (Penguin Random House), see my review
  • The Life to Come, by Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin) winner of the 2018 Miles Franklin, see my review
  • First Person, by Richard Flanagan (Penguin Random House), see my review
  • Border districts, by Gerald Murnane (Giramondo), see my review 
  • Taboo, by Kim Scott (Pan Macmillan), see my review)


An epic fail for ANZ LitLovers, I haven’t read any of them, and none of them are on my TBR.

  • Unbreakable, by Jelena Dokic and Jessica Halloran (Penguin Random House)
  • Mischka’s war: A European odyssey of the 1940s, by Sheila Fitzpatrick (University of Melbourne Publishing)
  • The library: A catalogue of wonders, by Stuart Kells (Text Publishing) I haven’t read this, but I attended an author event about it at the Brighton Library on Library Lovers’ Day
  • No front line: Australia’s special forces at war in Afghanistan, by Chris Masters (Allen & Unwin)
  • Asia’s reckoning, by Richard McGregor (Penguin Random House UK)

Australian history

EpicFail #2

  • The Enigmatic Mr Deakin, by Judith Brett (Text Publishing), see Nathan’s review at A Biographer in Perth 
  • John Curtin’s war: The coming of war in the Pacific, and reinventing Australia, Volume 1, by John Edwards (Penguin Random House
  • Hidden in plain view: The Aboriginal people of coastal Sydney, by Paul Irish (New South Publishing)
  • Beautiful Balts: From Displaced Persons to New Australians, by Jayne Persian (New South Publishing)
  • Indigenous and other Australians since 1901, by Timothy Rowse (New South Publishing)


I’m delighted to see Brian Castro’s Blindness and Rage here, I loved that book!

  • Archipelago, by Adam Aitken (Vagabond Press), see Tony’s review at Messy Booker
  • Chatelaine, by Bonny Cassidy (Giramondo Publishing)
  • Blindness and Rage: A phantasmagoria, by Brian Castro (Giramondo Publishing), see my review
  • Transparencies, by Stephen Edgar (Black Pepper)
  • Domestic Interior, by Fiona Wright (Giramondo Publishing)

Children’s literature

(I’m hoping my library will have a display of these and I can take a quick peek before someone borrows them.  I like the sound of Pea Pod Lullaby but it’s good to see new names that I don’t recognise from my days in the school library).

  • Storm Whale, by Sarah Brennan and Jane Tanner (Allen & Unwin)
  • Feathers, by Phil Cummings and Phil Lesnie (Scholastic Australia)
  • Figgy Takes the City, by Tamsin Janu (Scholastic Australia)
  • Pea Pod Lullaby, by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King (Allen & Unwin)
  • Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee! by Lisa Shanahan and Binny Talib (Hachette Australia)


It looks like Allen & Unwin, Scholastic and Hachette have scooped the pool in Children’s Lit and YA, but fair enough, they are great supporters of quality children’s books and YA.

  • My Lovely Frankie, by Judith Clarke (Allen & Unwin)
  • Living on Hope Street, by Demet Divaroren (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Ones that Disappeared, by Zana Fraillon (Hachette Australia)
  • Ruben, by Bruce Whatley (Scholastic Australia)
  • This is My Song, by Richard Yaxley (Scholastic Australia)

This PM’s Award is a beauty: winners receive $80,000 and shortlisted authors get $5000.  And it’s tax free:)

For more information, visit the website.


  1. The big question is has PM Morrison read enough books to make a captain’s pick.


    • You think he reads? Whether or not, he’d pick anything to do with military history, always a safe choice for a PM…


  2. Your epic fail comment made me laugh Lisa. I thought you had read a couple of the non-fiction and history ones, but I was in a rush this morning so only checked your blog for the Fiction ones I hadn’t read, and thought I’d come back later to look at the non-fiction. I don’t have to now!!


    • I’m never great at keeping up with recent reads in NF and history, but I’ve usually done a bit better than this.
      But thing is, I don’t want to bag books I haven’t read, but none of them really appeal. I’ll keep an eye out for them at the library, but I think I’ll keep my purse in my pocket.
      (No, that’s a lie. My purse has just had a workout at Readings, just not on these books!)


      • No, I agree, a look interesting, but none right now make me feel very guilty about not reading them.


        • It would help if someone we knew had reviewed some of them, but apart from Nathan’s review of The Enigmatic Mr Deakin, I’ve drawn a blank.


          • Yes, interesting that, isn’t it? Not even Janine?


            • No, but she has been reading some interesting books lately!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds like our Governor General’s Award set, and your experience with the shortlist reminds me of my own, in that I usually know of or have read all the fiction and an occasional other volume across categories but my NF reading is virtually non-existent. This year I read ONE and was so disappointed that it wasn’t on the list! Good luck with filing the gaps!


    • LOL it’s not going to happen.


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