Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 15, 2021

2021 Melbourne Prize winner and shortlist

14/12/22 updated to show winners in bold.

From the press release:

The shortlist for the $60,000 Melbourne Prize for Literature 2021 is:

  • Jordie Albiston
  • Maxine Beneba-Clarke
  • Pi O
  • Christos Tsiolkas

The shortlisted essays for the $15,000 Writer’s Prize 2021 are by:

  • Vivian Blaxell
  • Eloise Victoria Grills
  • David Sornig
  • Ouyang Yu

You can vote for the $3,000 Civic Choice Award 2021 is  open — click here — voters have a chance to win a $100 Readings Gift Voucher. There are no finalists in the $20,000 Professional Development Award 2021 — the winner be announced on November 10.  The winners in all three category will be announced on the Melbourne Prize website at an online broadcast at 6pm on November 10.

In previous years, the shortlisted essays have been available to read on the Melbourne Prize website and will presumably be published there soon.  I’ll be particularly interested to read the one by Ouyang Yu, whose prose I have read and reviewed before.  He’s one of our most interesting writers, one who should be on the radar of the Nobel Prize committee, so I’m somewhat surprised that he isn’t one of the authors shortlisted for the major prize.


  1. I see the Booker shortlist is out now too.🐧🤠🌹


    • Yes, and I have The Promise on loan from the library!


  2. Of these I’ve read only Tsiolkas. But, I’ve seen Pi O read 2 or 3 times in Fitzroy pubs.


    • This year they’ve opened it up to poets, so that explains why some of the names are unfamiliar. I’ve heard of Pi O and tried reading him but that didn’t work out for me.
      I’m surprised to see Beneba-Clarke there because I wouldn’t have thought that she’d have a substantial enough body of work, compared, say, to other Victorian writers like Andrea Goldsmith, Steven Carroll, Rodney Hall, Gregory Day, Michelle de Kretser, Brenda Niall, Robert Manne and more.


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