Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 14, 2019

2019 Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prize shortlists

The shortlists for the 2019 Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prizes have been announced. Thanks to @BplusPNews for sharing this news:

Tasmania Book Prize for the best book with Tasmanian content in any genre ($25,000)

Margaret Scott Prize for the best book by a Tasmanian writer ($5000)

  • Conglomerate by Ben Walter, (A Published Event)
  • Flames by Robbie Arnott, (Text Publishing), see my review
  • Star-crossed by Minnie Darke, (Michael Joseph) (I think this is actually by Danielle Wood, writing romance.  But I can’t open the paywalled newspaper article that just shows its opening lines from a Google search.  See Theresa Smith’s review).
  • The Curious Life of Krill: A conservation story from the bottom of the world by Stephen Nicol, (Island Press), see the description at Island Press.


University of Tasmania Prize for the best unpublished literary work by an emerging Tasmanian writer ($5000)

  • ‘The People’s Park’ by Stephenie Cahalan
  • ‘The Signal Line’ by Brendan Colley
  • ‘The Clinking’ by Susie Greenhill

Tasmanian young writer’s fellowship

  • Priscilla Beck
  • Sam George-Allen
  • Hannah Warwarek.

Voting for the People’s Choice Awards is also now open.

True to form, this prize has unearthed some books that haven’t had much exposure.  So…

I’m posting the description of Island Story: Tasmania in object and text from Goodreads, because its title makes it sound like an academic text about postmodernism.  And it’s not that at all!

A handsome full-colour book pairing unique items from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery with selections of original writing about the southern island.
Indigenous dispossession, a cruel penal history, gay-rights battles; exceptional landscapes, unusual wildlife, environmental activism; colonial architecture, arts and crafts, a thriving creative scene—all are part of the story of Tasmania. And they find their expression in the unparalleled collection of Hobart’s TMAG.
In Island Story, Ralph Crane and Danielle Wood select almost sixty representative TMAG objects: from shell necklaces to a convict cowl, colonial scrimshaw to a thylacine pincushion, contemporary photography to a film star’s travelling case. Each is matched to texts old and new, by writers as diverse as Anthony Trollope, Marie Bjelke-Petersen, Helene Chung, Jim Everett, Heather Rose and Ben Walter.
This is the perfect gift for anyone interested in the island everyone is talking about.

PS I can’t find out anything about Conglomerate but I’ve contacted A Published Event for more information.  Update: Justy Phillips at A Published Event has sent the following description of Conglomerate:

A group of walkers battle with a question – how would their experience of the natural world change if one of them were killed in the bush? Conglomerate takes inspiration from the most piecemeal of Tasmanian rocks: a rock that gathers stones together, but also, one that can fall apart in your hands.

The book is a ‘fictiōnella’ which is part of a larger library of 40 books, Lost Rocks (2017–21), in which A Published Event have commissioned 40 artists from around the world to select and re-compose an absent mineral from a geological rock board found by us in Tasmania in 2015. We have so far published 24 of the commissioned 40 fictiōnellas (novellas drawn from lived experience).

You can buy Conglomerate from our website: or from Fullers Bookshop in Hobart (they also do phone orders). Both places it’s $20. Fyi: I should also add that it’s a limited edition work so we will likely sell out of Conglomerate. Lost Rocks editions are printed in an edition of 300 copies.

The winners will be announced on 5 December.  For more information see their website.


  1. Yes Starcrossed is by Danielle Wood AKA Minnie Darke


    • Thanks, Carmel… so she’s got two books shortlisted!
      I read her Alphabet of Light and Dark ages ago:)


  2. Reblogged this on Tasmanian Bibliophile @Large and commented:
    I’ve read some of these, and want to read the rest. My thanks to ANZlitlovers for the original post, which I want to share widely :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the mention Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved Flames so much!


    • It was a most unusual book, it still sends a shiver down my spine although I read it a while ago.


  5. As always you highlight loads of authors I’ve not heard of …


    • Well, this prize always does uncover some local talent from our smallest state that we didn’t know about!


      • I can’t believe there are many Aus authors you don’t know of….


        • *chuckle* There must be heaps. For a start there are all the authors of commercial and genre fiction and non-fiction topics that don’t interest me…they pass me by unnoticed because I just don’t read them. But lots of other people do, so that hardly matters IMO and I’m never going to feel pressured into reading books that don’t interest me.
          The self-published ones that rarely get under my radar, might be unsung treasures, but ‘once bitten twice shy’ as they say, and I have had some horrid behind-the-scenes experiences with a couple of tender souls, so I just don’t go there any more.
          But the ones I love to discover are the LitFics that get published by micro-publishers that find it so hard to get any publicity. I really like to share my discoveries of those ones.


          • I avoid self published books after an early bad experience not long after I started the blog.


            • I’m willing to give them a go if someone I trust has reviewed it positively. But that’s passing the buck, I know.
              What people who want their books reviewed perhaps don’t understand, is that we’ve all only got limited time to read. Newspapers and journals commission reviews from as many people as they need for each edition. We do it all by ourselves. That means that the time we spend reading and reviewing this book is time we can’t spend reading that one, and at the end of the day while we make a voluntary contribution to our literary culture by reviewing as a service to others, we read for our own pleasure. And I’m not willing to invest that time unless I have some confidence that the book will be worth it.


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