Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 24, 2021

2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards shortlist

The shortlists for the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards were announced today.

The Christina Stead Prize for Fiction

UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing

Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction

  • Father of the Lost Boys by Yout Ajang Alaak, see my review
  • In the Time of Manaroans by Miro Bilbrough
  • Womerah Lane: Lives and Landscapes by Tom Carmant
  • The Warrior, the Voyager, and the Artist: Three Lives in an Age of Empire by Kate Fullaghar
  • A Question of Colour: My Journey to Belonging by Pattie Lees and Adam C Lees, see my review
  • The Trials of Portnoy: How Penguin Brought Down Australia’s Censorship System by Patrick Mullins

Multicultural NSW Award

  • After Australia by Michael Mohammed Ahmad (Ed)
  • The F Team by Rawah Arja
  • Metal Fish, Falling Snow by Cath Moore
  • The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham,(abandoned)
  • A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu
  • Throat by Ellen Van Neerven, see Brona’s review at This Reading Life a.k.a. Brona’s Books

NSW Premier’s Translation Prize

  • Travels with a Writing Brush: Classical Japanese Travel Writing from the Manyoshu to Basho, translated by Meredith McKinney
  • Imminence by Marianna Dimopoulos, translated by Alice Whitmore, see my review
  • This Tilting World by Colette Fellous, translated by Sophie Rebecca Lewis
  • Autumn Manuscripts by Tasos Leivaditis, translated by N N Trakakis
  • Sergius Seeks Bacchus by Norman Erikson Pasaribu, translated by Tiffany Tsao
  • Russia Washed in Blood. A Novel in Fragments by Artyom Vesyoly, translated by Kevin Windle

Indigenous Writers Prize?

For some reason, though I recognise Indigenous authors in the shortlists, there is no shortlist on the relevant page of what is the most badly designed website I’ve come across. Update, later in the afternoon: but now that I’ve checked the page, it says its a biennial award.  Why we have to click through from the main page to find that out, I don’t know…

For prizes in other categories, I’m sorry, I’ve got other things to do, so you’ll have to visit the awards website.

Update, late the same night: Jonathan at me Fail? I Fly! has listed all of the categories here, with links to the judges’ comments.

Memo to publicists:

I’ve got *literally* thousands of subscribers who read my blog by email.  Some of these subscribers are in places with lousy internet speeds (i.e. an awful lot of places in Australia) and that is why they opt for email because websites crash if they take too long to load.  For subscribers who read my blog online, I keep file sizes down by limiting images that take up their download time.

In the absence of a helpful press release, or a shortlist available as a print list, I’ve had to laboriously wade through two separate pages for each of these prize shortlists so that I can deliver the news to those readers in text.  Publicists ought to realise that not everyone has equal access to the Internet.  And while I am a volunteer in the service of promoting Australian literature within and beyond Australia, they are *paid* to publicise the product.  So they owe it to us to make it easy for us to help them do that.


  1. Oh dear. As a troglodyte in this techno world you are a treasure Lisa for you do such a fantastic job with such commitment and energy am in awe. It seems another example of the deterioration in our country with a dearth of cohesion and connectivity. Am in a state of grief more often than have been in years. I sing your praises wherever I can and appreciate so much this blog.


    • Thanks, Fay, it is a pleasure really, I shouldn’t complain!


  2. Am I right in thinking they are doing a biennial Indigenous prize? Or, is that the multicultural one/

    I have read Murmurations. I’m assuming you’d be happy to have the link?


    • Hmm, I don’t know…
      I’ve now checked the website: you’re right… the Indigenous one is biennial.
      Thanks for the link!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I had a feeling that was so. It’s a shame I think.


        • I can’t think of a good reason for it, except maybe that they rely on a sponsor and the money isn’t enough to make it worthwhile if they don’t make it biennial.


          • That’s a better reason than my fear they don’t feel they’d have enough contenders annually.


  3. This site is notorious for its muddle. The Miles Franklin is not much better.

    I’ve also read Throat if you’d like to link it here
    I think Sue may have read murmurations – I read a review for it somewhere & noted it down as a to be read.


    • Oh so true about the MF as well. Thanks for the link, I’ve added it above and Sue’s one too. (I love the way we manage to cover so many of them as a ‘team’!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Publicists aren’t necessarily communicators… which is why the big publishing houses have press officers plus publicists/marketing managers. They do two different functions ( with slight crossover) and it’s so easy for publicists to get it wrong. Websites are often an afterthought and managed by people with no training and designed without user experience in mind.


    • Yes, but some of them get it right.
      It can’t be hard to send out an email press release… I get them from other publicists, and some of them, bless their hearts, trust me enough to send it out early with a date-and-time embargo so that I can get it ready beforehand.
      With this NSW one, I think of myself on holiday on Norfolk Island where the Internet was slow and patchy, or the Hunter Valley which was even worse, and I wouldn’t have had a hope of loading one page after another to see the shortlists…


  6. Thanks Lisa. There are a couple on the Fiction List I have not read and I find it really convenient to be able to click on links when I have ‘down time’ to see your reviews (and others you link to). I usually just do a little skim of the review and back away from spoilers but I can always rely on these reviews to give me an idea of the book and if it is one for me. You are a rare gem.


    • Lovely to hear from you as always, Karenlee:)
      Stay safe and well on your travels, please, *wink* there’s that novel I’m still waiting for, you know!


  7. I appreciate you taking one for the team, Lisa!


    • LOL It had to happen on a busy day when I had a friend coming for lunch (necessitating that a modicum of housework be done!)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. […] For more categories in these awards, and links to her own and other bloggers’ reviews, please see Lisa’s post on them. […]


  9. Loved your comments. Just for info…our book club will be discussing the Octopus and I early April. Looking forward to what people thought. I attended the launch of the book awhile back. Thought it was interesting sounding but find I’ve had a love -hate relationship with it. Lots of room for thinking about it though.


    • Ah well, *chuckle* you need to be in the mood for reading about having a relationship with an octopus…


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: