Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 23, 2021

2021 Voss Literary Prize longlist

Updated 16/5/22 to include additional reviews. 

The Long List for the 2021 Voss Literary Prize has been announced:

Robbie Arnott, The Rain Heron (Text Publishing), see my review

Trent Dalton, All Our Shimmering Skies (HarperCollins), see the SRB review

Kate Grenville, A Room Made of Leaves (Text Publishing)

Erin Hortle, The Octopus and I (Allen & Unwin), see my review

Julie Janson, Benevolence (Magabala Books), see my review

Gail Jones, Our Shadows (Text Publishing), see my review

Amanda Lohrey, The Labyrinth (Text Publishing), winner of the 2121 Miles Franklin Award, see my review

Vivian Pham, The Coconut Children (Penguin Books), abandoned

Mirandi Riwoe, Stone Sky Gold Mountain (University of Queensland Press), on my TBR

Nardi Simpson, Song of the Crocodile (Hachette Australia), see my review

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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.


  1. A pretty interesting looking list I think. And, I’ve even read 2, and have a couple more on my TBR!!


    • It’s always good when there are nominations that we recognise!


      • Sure is, though these days I’m starting to worry that it means it’s speaking to readers like me too much and not to the diversity out there?


        • I don’t think so, your reading is as diverse as mine is.
          If you look at my Diversity page, you will have read many that are there, and others that are not. And that’s only ethnic diversity, and it only includes authors who I know from the public record have an ethnic heritage.


  2. It’s an interesting list. I’ve read three and have three more in my TBR.


    • I really must read The Rain Heron, I’ve bought it when it was first released!


      • I did the same with the Kate Grenville. And it’s still in my pile unread.


        • I didn’t even buy it, I have lost interest in Kate Grenville’s more recent efforts and I’m starting to get a bit tired of novels which are pseudo biographies, with invented content that plays fast and loose with the lives of real people.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I thought that might be your response. LOL.
            I will get to it eventually, but there are too many other books I want to read first.


            • As my First Edition shelves testify, I once thought that Kate Grenville was collectible, but now?
              I’ve never forgotten her talk at a Melbourne Festival (of Ideas, I think) when she talked about the responsibility of fiction authors to write about the issues of the day. She specifically mentioned climate change but if I remember correctly she also meant more broadly. This talk raised my expectations, which is probably why I’m more disappointed than I would be otherwise.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad that Mirandi Riwoe’s, Stone Sky Gold Mountain (University of Queensland Press) is on the list! It is one of the top three books I’ve read this year, and – in my opinion – it should have won the Stella award and been on many more shortlists than it has been.


    • I am determined to read it by the end of the year, I’m just going to clear the ones I’ve got for review because I do like to do what I can for those authors struggling to get publicity during lockdown, and then I’m going to binge on what’s on my shelves.
      The pressure always starts to lift as we move towards Christmas. All the new releases tend to be commercial fiction…


      • This is definitely not commercial fiction! I was hooked by the lyrical language from the first page – and then by its characters and themes.


        • Oh, yes I know, I wouldn’t have bought it if it was.
          What I meant was, (and maybe didn’t make it clear) is that the publicists who approach me to do reviews ease off because launches from now to December tend to be commercial fiction and NF for the general reader because that’s what sells for Christmas presents.
          There are exceptions of course, but in normal times pre-Christmas not a good time to launch literary fiction (unless the author is a Big Name) because it gets swamped by the other stuff. But (I’m guessing) with so much publishing disrupted by lockdowns, the pattern might be different this year.


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