Gail Jones and Judith Beveridge amongst the winners at the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for 2019

Today the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher have announced the winners of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for 2019. These awards are given in recognition of the significant contribution literature, history and poetry make towards shaping our Australian identity.

The Awards are presented across six categories: children’s literature, young adult literature, fiction, poetry, non-fiction, Australian history. Across the six categories there is a combined total prize pool of $600,000.

In congratulating the winners, the Prime Minister remarked, “We are fortunate to have such remarkable authors, poets, illustrators, creators and historians committed to bringing Australian stories to life.” Minister Paul Fletcher went on to reinforce the government’s continued commitment to support Australian literature, poetry and history through the annual awards.

The winners of the six categories and a list of the other shortlisted authors and illustrators can be found below.


The Death of Noah Glass – Gail Jones (Text Publishing)

Other Shortlisted Authors:

  • A Stolen Season – Rodney Hall (Picador)
  • Beautiful Revolutionary – Laura Elizabeth Woollett (Scribe Publications)
  • Saudade – Suneeta Peres da Costa (Giramondo Publishing)
  • Too Much Lip – Melissa Lucashenko  (University of Queensland Press)


Half the Perfect World: Writers, Dreamers and Drifters on Hydra, 1955–1964 – Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell (Monash University Press)

Other Shortlisted Authors:

  • A Certain Light: A Memoir of Family, Loss and Hope – Cynthia Banham (Allen & Unwin)
  • Axiomatic – Maria Tumarkin (Brow Books)
  • Rusted Off: Why Country Australia is Fed Up – Gabrielle Chan (Vintage Books)
  • The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire – Chloe Hooper (Hamish Hamilton)

Australian History

The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History – Meredith Lake (NewSouth Publishing)

Other Shortlisted Authors:

  • Dancing in Shadows: Histories of Nyungar Performance – Anna Haebich (UWA Publishing)
  • Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia – Billy Griffiths (Black Inc.)
  • The Land of Dreams: How Australians Won Their Freedom, 1788-1860 – David Kemp (The Miegunyah Press)
  • You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World – Clare Wright (Text Publishing)


Sun Music: New and Selected Poems – Judith Beveridge (Giramondo Press)

Other Shortlisted Poets:

  • Blakwork – Alison Whittaker (Magabala Books)
  • Click Here For What We Do – Pam Brown (Vagabond Press)
  • Newcastle Sonnets – Keri Glastonbury (Giramondo Press)
  • Viva the Real – Jill Jones (University of Queensland Press)

Children’s Literature

His Name Was Walter – Emily Rodda (Angus & Robertson)

Other Shortlisted Authors & Illustrators:

  • Sonam and the Silence – Eddie Ayres, illus. Ronak Taher (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Feather – Margaret Wild, illus. Freya Blackwood, Little Hare Books
  • The Incredible Freedom Machines – Kirli Saunders, illus. Matt Ottley, (Scholastic)
  • Waiting for Chicken Smith – David Mackintosh (Little Hare Books)

Young Adult Literature

The Things That Will Not Stand – Michael Gerard Bauer (Omnibus Books)

Other Shortlisted Authors:

  • Between Us – Clare Atkins (Black Inc.)
  • Cicada – Shaun Tan (Lothian Children’s Book)
  • Lenny’s Book of Everything – Karen Foxlee (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Art of Taxidermy – Sharon Kernot (Text Publishing)

Header Photo (L-R): Gail Jones, Judith Beveridge, Meredith Lake

Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.