Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 22, 2023

2023 Walter McRae Russell Award Shortlist

It’s not often I’ve read a book that’s shortlisted for the ASAL Walter McRae Russell Award because it’s an award for the best book of literary scholarship on an Australian subject published in the preceding two calendar years. As an ordinary reader, I don’t read much in the way literary scholarship!

But I do read (and love) literary bios and their offshoots…

And so, look! here are the shortlisted works for the 2023 Walter McRae Russell Award, and I find that I have read one of them: Lohrey by Julieanne Lamond — and what’s more in 2022 I named it as one of two Best Non-Fiction Books of the Year. I loved it, see my review here.

My other Best NF Book for 2022 was Nathan Hobby’s The Red Witch and that’s just been shortlisted for 2023 WA Premier’s Book Awards shortlists! See my review of that one here.

Starry night sky, with a header: Shortlisted for the Walter McRae Russell Award 2023. Five book covers: Beth Driscoll et al, Genre Worlds: Popular Fiction and Twenty-First Century Book Culture Julieanne Lamond, Lohrey Roger Osborne, The Life of Such is Life Denise Varney, Patrick White’s Theatre Helen Vines, Eve Langley and the Pea Pickers

Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers!

PS I have no idea what the award is worth or when the winner will be announced because the website isn’t forthcoming about that… Thanks to a prompt reply to my query on Twitter, I can now advise that the winner will be announced on 4th July.


  1. So many specialist awards out there.


    • Yes, though when you look into it, there’s a long history of universities having prizes and exhibitions, usually because of a bequest. From Trove, where I’ve been finding Valda’s academic results reported in the papers, (and editing whole pages *sigh* of misspelt words and names in other subjects besides music) I found countless prizes named for the person whose bequest it was, everything from histology to music composition and metallurgy. I’m beginning to discern a pattern, though, there aren’t prizes in English and (I’m guessing) that’s because the ensuing professions didn’t bring in the kind of money that was donated by people who went into medicine, dentistry, mining and (sometimes) the performing arts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Those articles full of names can be exhausting to edit in Trove and yet are so important for people doing research. But how many times have I found names got wrong by the papers. KSP is one with her first name and last name regularly spelt wrong. Nano is another with his last name often spelt wrong. Who said there were great sub-editors in the past!!!

        Yes, good point re all those university prices.


        • I’ve only come across that once, and wasn’t sure what to do.
          In the end I transcribed it as is in case I was wrong, and made a note of what I thought it should be… but would that note show up in a search?


  2. I can highly recommend the Eve Langley bio from this shortlist. In fact, I was delighted to see it getting some well-deserved attention.

    Liked by 1 person

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