Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 23, 2019

2019 CHASS Australia Book Prize Longlist

The CHASS prize might not be very well known, but it’s a significant prize.  The following is from the About page on their website:

Established in 2004, CHASS promotes and provides advocacy services for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) in Australia. Supporting more than 75 member organisations in their relationships with policy makers and the broader community, CHASS is an important network for knowledge and skills, and serves as a coordinating forum for teachers, researchers, professionals, practitioners and policy makers in the sector. It provides a strong voice to the sector and helps members to contribute to public debate through programs for knowledge exchange and media awareness.

This is from their page about the prize:

2019 marks the sixth year of the annual CHASS Australia Prizes. The Australia Prizes honour distinguished achievements by Australians working, studying, or training in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) sector, including academics, researchers, practitioners, philanthropists, policy makers, and students.

Two prizes are being sponsored by Routledge (cash prize of $3,500 each): one for a non-fiction book/e-book that enriches Australian cultural and intellectual life, the second for ‘Distinctive Work’- an exceptional artistic performance, exhibition, film, television show, play, composition, creative/research project or practical contribution to policy. The third prize (cash prize of $2,000) is being sponsored by Future Leaders for a ‘Future Leader’, an individual under 30 years of age who is demonstrating leadership skill and potential in HASS. CHASS is sponsoring the fourth prize (cash prize of $500) for a student essay, exhibition, performance or research project in any HASS area.

So, to the longlist, and you can see that they are all important books. I’ve read three of them:

The nine longlisted titles, from an entry field of 130 print and e-books in the non-fiction category are:

• Fair Share: Competing Claims and Australia’s Economic Future, by Stephen Bell and Michael Keating and published by Melbourne University Publishing
• Europe: A Natural History, by Tim Flannery and published by Text Publishing
• The Sydney Wars: Conflict in the early colony, 1788 – 1817, by Stephen Gapps and published by NewSouth Books
• Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia, by Billy Griffiths and published by Black Inc.
• The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire, by Chloe Hooper and published by Penguin Books Australia, see my review
• The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History, by Meredith Lake and published by NewSouth Books
• Eggshell Skull, by Bri Lee and published by Allen & Unwin
• Elizabeth Macarthur: A Life at the Edge of the World, by Michelle Scott Tucker and published by Text Publishing, see my review
• You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World, by Claire Wright and published by Text Publishing, see my review

Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers!


  1. I’ve read three as well: ‘Eggshell Skull’, ‘Elizabeth Macarthur’ and ‘You Daughters of Freedom’. And now I have more to read :-) Thank you so much for the work you do, via your blog, to increase awareness of ANZ authors, books, and prizes.


    • Thanks, Jennifer, that’s very kind of you!


  2. A broad mix when you consider the historical alongside Eggshell Skull and The Arsonist (the only two I’ve read).


    • Yes, I think so, I’m guessing it would be a nightmare to judge.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That must be a difficult one to judge. I’ve read The Arsonist and Eggshell Skull and while they’re both narrative nonfiction I wouldn’t be able to compare them.


    • It would also depend on how they weight the criteria. Apart from any literary qualities, the book has to ‘enrich cultural and intellectual life’.
      But I do like the award. I like books that do more than tell a story…

      Liked by 1 person

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