Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 6, 2021

2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards shortlists

The 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards shortlists have just been announced.  Here they are:


  • After Story by Larissa Behrendt (University of Queensland Press), see my review
  • Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down (Text Publishing)
  • Echolalia by Briohny Doyle (Penguin Random House)
  • The Dogs by John Hughes (Upswell Publishing), see my review
  • Smokehouse by Melissa Manning (University of Queensland Press)
  • Permafrost by S.J Norman (University of Queensland Press)


  • Coming of Age in the War on Terror by Randa Abdel-Fattah (NewSouth)
  • Summertime: Reflections on a Vanishing Future by Danielle Celermajer (Penguin Random House)
  • Black and Blue: A Memoir of Racism and Resilience by Veronica Gorrie (Scribe Publications)
  • The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Buried Not Dead by Fiona McGregor (Giramondo Publishing)
  • Another Day in the Colony by Chelsea Watego (University of Queensland Press)

Indigenous Writing

  • Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen (University of Queensland Press)
  • Black and Blue: A Memoir of Racism and Resilience by Veronica Gorrie (Scribe Publications)
  • The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough (Allen & Unwin)
  • Another Day in the Colony by Chelsea Watego (University of Queensland Press)


  • Return to the Dirt by Steve Perie (Queensland Theatre)
  • Archimedes War by Melissa Reeves (Darebin Speakeasy)
  • Milk by Dylan Van Den Berg (Currency Press)


  • How Decent Folk Behave by Maxine Beneba Clarke (Hachette Australia)
  • Human Looking by Andy Jackson (Giramondo Publishing)
  • Trigger Warning by Maria Takolander (University of Queensland Press)

Writing for Young Adults

  • Girls in Boys’ Cars by Felicity Castagna (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • The Gaps by Leanne Hall (Text Publishing)
  • Tiger Daughter by Rebecca Lim (Allen & Unwin)

Unpublished Manuscript

  • Fauna of Mirrors by Keshe Chow
  • Lead Us Not by Abbey Lay
  • The Albatross by Nina Wan

Highly commended


  • The Other Half of You by Michael Mohammed Ahmad (Hachette Australia)
  • In Moonland by Miles Allinson (Scribe Publications), see my review
  • Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray by Anita Heiss (Simon & Schuster Australia), see my review


  • Currowan by Bronwyn Adcock (Black Inc. Books)
  • The Shape of Sound by Fiona Murphy (Text Publishing)
  • Design: Building on Country by Alison Page & Paul Memmott (Thames and Hudson Australia)

Indigenous Writing

  • Permafrost by S.J Norman (University of Queensland Press)
  • Homecoming by Elfie Shiosaki (Magabala Books), see my review


  • Dogged by Andrea James and Catherine Ryan (Currency Press)


  • Gravidity and Parity by Eleanor Jackson (Vagabond Press)
  • m//otherland by Asiel Adan Sanchez (Revarena)
  • Homecoming by Elfie Shiosaki (Magabala Books)

Young Adult

  • The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni (Penguin Random House Australia)

Unpublished Manuscript

  • Orangutan Ballet by C.J. Garrow
  • The Echoes of George Street by Elliot J Han
  • Strange Intersections by Soja Pitt

Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers!

To find out more visit the awards website.

In other awards news, I have seen a Tweet from poet Adam Aitken that he has won the Patrick White Award.  See a profile of him here.


  1. I like that they listed their highly commendeds too. I have three of these books on my TBR – Behrendt’s, Hughes’ and Heiss’ and really hope to read them. The rest. Who knows?


    • An interesting development is that both the Heiss and the Behrendt are nominated in their respective categories, and not hived off into Indigenous writing.
      You’ll remember that there was discussion about Indigenous authors writing beyond memoir and Indigenous issues, and both these books do exactly that, that is, they tell a story that is infused with Aboriginality but has something else as its theme.


      • Yes. I noticed that too. Also SJ. Norman. Yes, I think that was from my article about “diversity and memoir”? Though it’s probably come up in a few places.


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