Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 15, 2020

2020 Voss Literary Prize longlist

The longlist for the Voss Literary Prize has just been announced.  It’s a varied list, with some of my favourite novels up for the prize.

This prize, established only in 2014, has been awarded to some wonderful books, reflecting the expertise of the judges who award it.  This (lightly edited) is from their website:

The Voss Literary Prize is an award dedicated to the memory of Vivian Robert de Vaux Voss (1930-1963), an historian and lover of literature from Emu Park in Central Queensland who studied History and Latin at the University of Sydney and modern languages at the University of Rome. His will stipulated that a literary award be established to reward the best novel from the previous year. The executors of the estate have appointed the Australian University Heads of English, the peak body for the study of English at Australian Universities, to oversee and judge the award. The award for the best novel from will be announced in December at the annual meeting of the AUHE.

The nominations are:

Steven Carroll, The Year of the Beast (Harper Collins Publishers), see my review

Alex Landragin, Crossings (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Wayne MacAuley, Simpson Returns (Text Publishing), see my review

Andrew McGahan, The Rich Man’s House (Allen & Unwin)

Mohammed Massoud Morsi, The Palace of Angels (Wild Dingo Press), see my review

Meg Mundell, The Trespassers (University of Queensland Press), see my review

Kate Richards, Fusion (Penguin Random House Australia)

Carrie Tiffany, Exploded View (Text Publishing Company), see my review

Lucy Treloar, Wolfe Island (Pan Macmillan Australia), see my review

Tara June Winch, The Yield (Penguin Random House Australia), see my review

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Previous winners were:

  • 2014 The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane
  • 2015 In Certain Circles by Elizabeth Harrower
  • 2016 The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky
  • 2017The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn
  • 2018 The Book of Dirt by Bram Presser
  • 2019 The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton


  1. I’ve only read the last two of this list. Although I did mark The Year of the Beast down to read after your review, just haven’t gotten there yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • One thing about these longlists, they always manage to turn up some book we think we ‘ought to’ have read!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Always! Although after reading this post, I checked back as to why I might not have read The Year of the Beast and I rediscovered it’s at the end of a series. That’s probably why!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved ‘Crossings’ by Alex Landragin, an intense, imaginative, convoluted story which can be read in two different ways, with three parts set over seven diverse characters lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you reviewed it on your blog? I’ll add a link if you have…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Lisa, that’s a lovely offer. Unfortunately I reviewed ‘Crossings’ briefly on Goodreads in April and did not follow up with a blog post. I’d forgotten I read the ebook which perhaps wasn’t the most immersive way to read the story but I was still impressed.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so pleased to see McGahan’s book on this list. I would have expected to see it on more prize lists — it’s a novel that imprinted itself on me. So potent and original. He’s in great company here too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel guilty about McGahan, people speak so highly of his work, but I did not get on with The White Earth at all.


  4. All of these books have escaped me. Though I have heard of them all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t keep up at all.
      BTW I am just starting a travel book that might interest you. It’s called A Mouthful of Petals: Three years in an Indian village, and it’s by Wendy (Hunger Town) Scarfe and her late husband Allan Scarfe. From her fiction I know that Wendy is a thoughtful person with a social justice conscience, so I know it’s not going to be a shallow touristy book…


      • Another one to add to my list. I’m almost all travelled out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve read about 30 pages… it’s excellent. You can buy it from Wakefield Press.


  5. I enjoyed ‘The Year of The Beast’ and ‘Wolfe Island’ and ‘The Yield’ and ‘The Palace of Angels and ‘The Trespassers’. Now I’m curious about the others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s the sort of list you can’t ignore.
      I’m now regretting that I didn’t persist with Crossings. It was sent to me unsolicited, and the hype, and the gimmick of a book designed to be read in two different directions annoyed me and I abandoned it. I wondered at the time if I would regret it and now I do!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. But do you have a favourite???

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, that’s a question. Three I would go into bat for if I were on the judging panel are these: the one that has a powerful important message? That’s the Yield. The one with an inspiring older woman character not so often depicted in our literature? That’s Wolfe Island. The one that humanises homelessness? That’s The Trespassers.
      But no one would ever put me on a judging panel because I could not choose between these three, and even as I write this I am thinking about enlarging my three to four, and then….

      Liked by 2 people

  7. […] world at their core.  I’m thinking of The Trespassers by Meg Mundell which has just been longlisted for the 2020 Voss Literary Prize.  As I said in my review, “the near-future in which the book set, is (rather like Rohan […]


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