Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 8, 2020

2020 WA Premier’s Book Awards

The winners of the 2019 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards were announced yesterday, and I am pleased to see that two of my favourite authors have been honoured.  The following is harvested from the Awards website.  Shortlisted authors are listed and the winner is in bold.

Western Australian Writers Hall of Fame 

Kim Scott

Kim Scott’s prize-winning fiction is acclaimed locally, nationally and internationally. He is exemplary both as an Australian writer and in the field of Indigenous literature. A leader in the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and in his own Noongar community – where his ground-breaking work with the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project has had far-reaching effects. In addition, becoming a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities is a testament to his academic standing.

WA Hall of Fame judge and CEO of Fremantle Press, Jane Fraser, said…

“His work is a shining example of how Western Australian stories, well told and beautifully crafted, can create opportunities to learn about our shared past. His books cross boundaries, reaching readers from all backgrounds both at home and overseas. A true artist and literary activist, whether he’s writing fiction, sharing oral histories or working on important Noongar language projects, his work is a gift to us all.”

The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and YA Fiction ($15,000 and a publishing contract with Magabala Books).

  • Our Matriarchs Matter by Teela May Reid
  • 18 Comments by Ellen van Neerven
  • Swell by Elizabeth Stuart
  • Yenda by Jannali Jones; and
  • Noble Intentions by Krista Dunstan

The Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer ($15,000)

  • Fabulous Lives by Bindy Pritchard (Margaret River Press)
  • Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard (Fremantle Press)
  • Rapture’s Roadway by Virginia Jealous (Ventura Press)
  • The Wooleen Way by David Pollock (Scribe Publications)
  • Wombat, Mudlark and Other Stories by Helen Milroy (Fremantle Press)

The Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children ($15,000)

    • Alex and the Alpacas Save the World by Kathryn Lefroy (Fremantle Press)
    • Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia)
    • Let me Sleep, Sheep! by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Leila Rudge (Walker Books Australia)
    • The Gift by Michael Speechley (Penguin Random House Australia)
    • Violet and Nothing by Fiona Burrows (Fremantle Press)

Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship Shortlist

  • Amanda Curtin
  • Lucy Dougan
  • Rafeif Ismail
  • Caitlin Maling
  • Carl Merrison

Amanda Curtin ©Miles Llowry

I am so pleased that Amanda has won this.  The judges’ comments show that I am going to love the novel she is working on!

Amanda Curtin’s proposed new novel is an exciting work of literary historical fiction, narrated in part by a young Irish immigrant in 1890s gold-rush WA. Based on the life of Frederick Vosper, a historical figure who was both reformer and racist, and founder of the Anti-Asiatic League, the novel will explore society, history and politics in our state’s formative years.

Check out Amanda’s profile in Meet an Aussie Author. 


  1. Love that they’re all promoting writers and authorship and especially young emerging writers. The more the merrier, does every state have a book prize?


    • Yes we do, and so do the two territories, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, though they vary in value and this WA one is biennial. It’s important support for the book industry because Australian books and writing is always under siege from US/UK imports, and since our population is small, the market for sales is not huge. A major win can give an author the funds to devote themselves to writing, at least for a while. Very few Australian writers can make a living from it.


  2. Thank you so much, Lisa, for this lovely post and for your longtime support! There are some brilliant writers on these shortlists, and I’m so thrilled for all the winners.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pleased for them too, but, selfishly, I am delighted that one of my favourite authors is being funded to write a book for me. It gives me so much pleasure to know that this book is in the pipeline:)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And none of us have read any of the winning or shortlisted books. I’m sorry that they don’t do a fiction prize – even a WA fiction prize would be good to see. In 2018 they scaled down the number of awards immensely. I thought WA was a pretty wealthy state?


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