2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards Shortlists Announced

2023-Prime-Minister’s-Literary-Awards-ShortlistsRecognising and celebrating the outstanding literary talents of established and emerging Australian writers, illustrators, poets, and historians, Creative Australia has announced the 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists.

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards acknowledge the contribution of Australian literature to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life. This is the first year that the awards have been delivered by Creative Australia, following the release of the Australian Government’s 2023 National Cultural Policy, Revive: a place for every story a story for every place.

643 entries were received across six literary categories: fiction, non-fiction, young adult literature, children’s literature, poetry, and Australian history. The winners and shortlisted authors will share in a tax-free prize pool of $600,000 – the highest literary prize in the nation.

Each shortlisted entry will receive $5,000 with the winner of each category receiving $80,000. Expert judging panels have carefully considered entries for the awards and have made the final decision regarding the shortlists.

Winners of the 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards will be announced on Thursday 16 November at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

On the importance of the event in the literary landscape, Creative Australia CEO Adrian Collette AM said “It’s crucial that we celebrate the achievements of our writers and illustrators in producing work that allows us to reflect on and explore issues affecting all Australians,” he said.

“Literature is at the heart of our understanding of our place in the world, and I’m delighted to be able to acknowledge the contributions of these exceptional artists and thinkers,” said Mr Collette.

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were established in 2008 to recognise individual excellence and the contribution that Australian authors make to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life in the categories of non-fiction and fiction.

In 2010 the young adult and children’s literature categories were introduced, followed by poetry in 2012 and the incorporation of the pre-existing Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History. Previous winners of the award include: Michelle de Kretser, Tara June Winch, Omar Sakr, Gerald Murnane, Nam Le and Judith Brett.

Winners of the 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards will be announced on Thursday 16 November at the National Library of Australia, Canberra. For more information, visit: www.creative.gov.au for details.

Image: 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards Shortlists Covers (supplied)

2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards Shortlist:


  • Elizabeth and John: The Macarthurs of Elizabeth Farm – Alan Atkinson
  • Justice in Kelly Country: The story of the cop who hunted Australia’s most notorious bushrangers – Lachlan Strahan
  • Saving the Reef: The human story behind one of Australia’s greatest environmental treasures – Rohan Lloyd
  • Black Lives, White Law: Locked up and locked out in Australia – Russell Marks
  • Unmaking Angas Downs: Myth and history on a Central Australian pastoral station – Shannyn Palmer


  • The Dunggiirr Brothers and the Caring Song of the Whale – Aunty Shaa Smith and Yandaarra
  • Zadie Ma and the Dog Who Chased the Moon – Gabrielle Wang
  • Open Your Heart to Country – Jasmine Seymour
  • 11 Words for Love – Randa Abdel-Fattah | illustrations by Maxine Beneba Clarke
  • My Strange Shrinking Parents – Zeno Sworder


  • The Sun Walks Down – Fiona McFarlane
  • Losing Face – George Haddad
  • Cold Enough for Snow – Jessica Au
  • Other Houses – Paddy O’Reilly
  • The Lovers – Yumna Kassab


  • Shirley Hazzard: A writing life – Brigitta Olubas
  • We Come With This Place – Debra Dank
  • Indelible City: Dispossession and defiance in Hong Kong – Louisa Lim
  • My Father and Other Animals: How I took on the family farm – Sam Vincent
  • A World in a Shell: Snail stories for a time of extinctions – Thom van Dooren


  • At the Altar of Touch – Gavin Yuan Gao
  • Harvest Lingo – Lionel Fogarty
  • Exactly As I Am – Rae White
  • The Jaguar – Sarah Holland-Batt
  • Clean – Scott-Patrick Mitchell


  • Sugar – Carly Nugent
  • Ask No Questions – Eva Collins
  • The Upwelling – Lystra Rose
  • What We All Saw – Mike Lucas
  • The Greatest Thing – Sarah Winifred Searle