Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 22, 2021

2021 Prime Minister’s Literary Award shortlists

I have just enough time to bring you this news: Lockdown ended at midnight last night and today we are having a BBQ with friends so I have things to do!

The 2021 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists are:


  • A Treacherous Country, K.M. Kruimink, Allen & Unwin, see my review
  • In the Time of Foxes, Jo Lennan, Simon & Schuster: Scribner Australia
  • Lucky’s, Andrew Pippos, Pan Macmillan: Picador Australia, see my review
  • The Bass Rock, Evie Wyld, Penguin Random House: Vintage
  • The Labyrinth, Amanda Lohrey, Text Publishing, see my review


  • Flight Lines: Across the Globe on a Journey with the Astonishing Ultramarathon Birds, Andrew Darby, Allen & Unwin
  • The Altar Boys, Suzanne Smith, HarperCollins Publishing: ABC Books
  • The Details: On Love, Death and Reading, Tegan Bennett Daylight, Simon & Schuster: Scribner Australia
  • The Stranger Artist: Life at the Edge of Kimberley Painting, Quentin Sprague, Hardie Grant Publishing
  • Truganini: Journey Through the Apocalypse, Cassandra Pybus, Allen & Unwin, on my TBR

Australian history

  • Ceremony Men: Making Ethnography and the Return of the Strehlow Collection, Jason M. Gibson, State University of New York Press
  • Pathfinders: A History of Aboriginal Trackers in NSW,  Michael Bennett, NewSouth Publishing
  • People of the River: Lost Worlds of Early Australia, Grace Karskens, Allen & Unwin
  • Representing Australian Aboriginal Music and Dance 1930-1970, Amanda Harris, Bloomsbury Publishing
  • The Convict Valley: The Bloody Struggle on Australia’s Early Frontier, Mark Dunn, Allen & Unwin


  • Change Machine, Jaya Savige, University of Queensland Press
  • Homer Street, Laurie Duggan, Giramondo Publishing
  • Nothing to Declare, Mags Webster, Puncher & Wattmann
  • Shorter Lives, John A. Scott, Puncher & Wattmann
  • The Strangest Place, New and Selected Poems, Stephen Edgar, Black Pepper

Children’s literature

  • Fly on the Wall, Remy Lai, Walker Books Australia,
  • How to Make a Bird, Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Matt Ottley, Walker Books Australia
  • The January Stars, Kate Constable, Allen & Unwin
  • The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst, Jaclyn Moriarty, illustrated by Kelly Canby, Allen & Unwin
  • The Year the Maps Changed, Danielle Binks, Hachette Australia: Lothian Children’s Books, see my review

Young adult literature

  • Loner, Georgina Young, Text Publishing
  • Metal Fish, Falling Snow, Cath Moore, Text Publishing
  • The End of the World is Bigger than Love, Davina Bell, Text Publishing
  • The F Team, Rawah Arja , Giramondo Publishing
  • When Rain Turns to Snow, Jane Godwin, Hachette Australia: Lothian Children’s Books


  1. I worry that the PM’s awards will be used to advance an agenda. Did you see the Federal Education Minister yesterday saying that the purpose of history was to demonstrate that Australia was the ‘greatest’.


    • LOL Bill, this time next year Tudge will be out on his ear and his silly pronouncements will be history.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw this come through but was too busy too! I usually post on this one. Hope you had a good BBQ. We had a glorious day here today.


    • A lovely day, but I’m surprisingly tired. I spent the rest of the day being watching L’Opera on SBS!


  3. We saw a news report today about the celebrations to end your lockdown (people heading to the pub at midnight and cheers heard all around). It’s been a long time since you were able to socialise so hope you enjoyed it!


    • LOL Karen, I haven’t seen the news yet, but I can imagine. What you won’t have seen is the people who deliberately stayed home to let the crazies mix and mingle without the masking and social distancing we are still required to do. Our local Facebook group is full of threads about people *not* going out at pubs at midnight, and talking about the safety of celebrations at home.
      No doubt in four days the stats will show the results, but hopefully they were all vaxxed as they were supposed to be and they won’t get too sick, and they will only have passed it on to each other.
      We had a lovely day with friends we can trust. Just four of us, though we’re allowed to have 10. The sun shone, the food was lovely, and the conversation was wonderful. We’ll take our time, and so will they!


      • as you know we in the UK are feeling the effects of the so called “Freedom Day” with case numbers just rising and rising despite more than 70% double vaccination levels.


        • Yes, the ABC statistician (who has become a sort of cult star since covid) regularly does comprehensive comparisons as part of the news, and the situation in the UK is alarming. (We have three nieces and their young families in London).
          Our 70% is not the same as your 70% because we still have restrictions such as density limits, and we still have mask rules, predicted to endure in Victoria throughout 2022. We also have to check in to shops, restaurants and venues using a QR code that has our vaxx status. Even allowing for a lack of nuance in media reports, it does seem that the UK has a much worse situation than say, France. I hope you stay well…
          We are told that case numbers don’t matter so much if nearly everyone is vaccinated because even if covid is everywhere in the community people don’t become critically ill. But I don’t want to be any kind of ill at all.


          • The rules in Wales are different to those in England. Here we have to wear masks in shops , health settings and public transport. A vaccine passport is needed to attend nightclubs and large sporting events. But case numbers are still rising, passed on by children. Hospitalisations are high though this time it’s the under 60s who are most affected. Like you I don’t want even a mild dose so am ultra cautious among people.


            • Those rules sound more sensible than those in England.
              They’re talking booster shots here now too…


              • We still have too high a percentage of people working in the care sector who have refused jabs. Those in care homes have until Nov 11 to get jabbed or they can no longer work in those settings


                • The vaxx has been mandatory in almost all age care settings for a while now, but our problem has been the long delay in getting vaccine supply. We’re cracking on now, thank goodness!


                • This article explains why it matters so muich:


                • That was enlightening. Problem of course is that you don’t know who around you hasn’t been vaccinated – they don’t wear bells around their neck or call out unclean as they pass. Though I’m sure there are some members of society think that should be required

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. I would really like to look at/read The Stranger Artist. It sounds fascinating. I see our library has it. I’m happy you are finally out of lockdown. People here were complaining about our 3 day weekend lockdown last weekend. Made me laugh. No clue.


  5. […] about the winners and the shortlisted titles here, and for more information about the winning and shortlisted works go […]


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