Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 14, 2022

2023 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards winners and shortlist

Update 2/2/23 The winners have been announced.

  • The winner of the Fiction Award is Jessica Au for Cold Enough for Snow
  • The Prize for Indigenous Writing went to Lystra Rose for The Upwelling
  • The People’s Choice Award went to Astronomy: Sky Country by Karlie Noon and Krystal de Napoli
  • The Poetry Prize went to Gavin Yuan Gao for At the Altar of Touch
  • The Drama Prize went to John Harvey for The Return
  • The Non-Fiction prize went to Eda Gunaydin for Root and Branch, essays on inheritance
  • The YA prize went to Kate Murray for We Who Hunt the Hollow
  • The prize for an Unpublished MS went to Mick Cummins for One Divine Night

and The Victorian Prize for Literature went to Jessica Au for Cold Enough for Snow.

Well, if they wanted to bury this announcement, they couldn’t have picked a better time than the onslaught of the festive season… why do they do this????



I am *amazed* that Robbie Arnott’s Limberlost is Highly Commended (see below) but not shortlisted.



  • Childhood by Shannon Burns
  • Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong by Louisa Lim
  • Our Members Be Unlimited: A Comic About Workers and Their Unions by Sam Wallman
  • People who Lunch: Essays on work, leisure and loose living by Sally Olds
  • Root & Branch: Essays on Inheritance by Eda Gunaydin
  • The Uncaged Sky: My 804 Days in an Iranian Prison by Kylie Moore-Gilbert (See my review)

Indigenous Writing

  • Astronomy: Sky Country by Karlie Noon and Krystal De Napoli
  • Harvest Lingo by Lionel Fogarty
  • Tell Me Again by Amy Thunig
  • The Upwelling by Lystra Rose

See here for the shortlists for Drama, Poetry and YA and Unpublished MS.  If only publicists would send us shortlists in printed lists, it would be much quicker than having to harvest them by hand from the website.  (Have I whinged about this before? Yes, probably.)

Highly Commended

(These do come from a convenient printed list on the website.)


  • All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien (HQ Fiction: an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Limberlost by Robbie Arnott (Text Publishing), see my review
  • Loveland by Robert Lukins (Allen & Unwin), see my review


  • Bedtime Story by Chloe Hooper (Scribner Australia), see my review
  • Big Beautiful Female Theory by Eloise Grills (Affirm Press)
  • Hard Labour: Wage Theft in the Age of Inequality by Ben Schneiders (Scribe Publications)

Indigenous Writing

  • Cartwarra or What? Selected poems and short stories by Alf Taylor (Magabala Books)
  • Masked Histories: Turtle Shell Masks and Torres Strait Islander People by Leah Liu-Chivizhe (Melbourne University Publishing)


  • Orange Thrower by Kirsty Marillier (Currency Press in association with Griffin Theatre Company)
  • An Indigenous Trilogy – Act I: Three Magpies Perched in a Tree by Glenn Shea (The Storyteller)


  • Harvest Lingo by Lionel Fogarty (Giramondo Publishing)
  • Song of Less by Joan Fleming (Cordite)

Writing for Young Adults

  • My Spare Heart by Jared Thomas (Allen & Unwin)
  • Sugar by Carly Nugent (Text Publishing)


  1. I, too, am surprised that ‘Limberlost’ is not on the final shortlist.


    • And I just discovered this afternoon that Philip Salom’s new novel Sweeney and the Bicycles … which is just #TryingNotToGush *brilliant* … is eligible for this year’s award too but hasn’t even been commended.
      What were they thinking? I mean, I know great books can always miss out because there’s just too many great books out there, but sometimes award decisions seem really odd…


      • Yes, sometimes very hard to work out.
        So … Sweeney and the Bicycles … another one I’ll have to get. You keep feeding me such wonderful reads via your reviews!


        • Good! That’s the plan!
          PS How’s your novel going? I feel privileged to know something of the outline, but #TapsFootImpatiently I want to read the rest of it.


          • I love that and thanks for asking. It is finally complete and is with my Agent (!) Everything crossed.


            • Ooh! How exciting! Can’t wait:)


  2. I had the link for this announcement but it conflicted with the streamed funeral of our friend Neil so we chose that of course … and then it was preparing for reading group Christmas party at my place last night so I didn’t even think to look for the winners until this morning.

    I don’t think there’s much to be gained by wondering about awards decisions. I wouldn’t mind though being a fly on the wall sometimes.


    • A little rant makes me feel better!
      I’m sorry about your friend, it’s hard to lose a friend anytime, but at this time of the year…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘Limberlost’ should be shortlisted (says she, who has not (yet) read an of the short-listed fiction).


    • *chuckle* We do not have to be reasonable!


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