Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists announced for 2022

PMLA-Australian-History-2022Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, have announced the 2022 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists. The Awards recognise and celebrate the exceptional literary talents of established and emerging Australian writers, illustrators, poets and historians.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the shortlists capture a diverse range of voices from our country’s vibrant literary sector.

“It is fundamental that Australian writers, illustrators and historians continue to share their stories, connecting our people and pathing the way for reflection, education, entertainment and respect,” said the Prime Minister.

“These 30 shortlisted books demonstrate the major contribution literature makes in connecting Australians to our values, history and culture – and I congratulate these creatives for their excellent work.”

“Being recognised through these prestigious awards helps build the international reputation of Australian creatives and puts Australia and its stories on the global map,” added the Prime Minister.

Minister Burke said this year’s shortlisting presented a difficult challenge for the judges who had to carefully review many excellent entries and select 30 titles from more than 540 eligible entries.

“There is an extraordinary level of talent and creativity demonstrated in this year’s shortlisted books,” said Minister Burke.

“It’s important we get more Australian books into the hands of more readers, and these 30 shortlisted titles are the best place to start – they represent some of Australia’s highest level of literary excellence, and each promote a unique message or take us on a fascinating journey.

“I thank all entrants and extend my gratitude to the judges for their expertise, professionalism and commitment to this thorough assessment process,’ said Minister Burke.

Winners of the 2022 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards will be announced on Tuesday 13 December in Launceston, Tasmania. For more information on the shortlists, visit: for details.

Image: Australian History Shortlist (sourced)

2022 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists:


  • Dark as Last Night (Tony Birch, UQP)
  • The Hands of Pianists (Stephen Downes, Fomite)
  • Devotion (Hanna Kent, Picador)
  • Night Blue (Angela O’Keeffe, Transit Lounge)
  • Red Heaven (Nicolas Rothwell, Text)


  • Fifteeners (Jordie Albiston, Puncher & Wattmann)
  • Dancing with Stephen Hawking (John Foulcher, Pitt Street Poetry)
  • Human Looking (Andy Jackson, Giramondo)
  • Fish Work (Caitlin Maling, Fremantle Press)
  • Homecoming (Elfie Shiosaki, Magabala)


  • Title Fight: How the Yindjibarndi battled and defeated a mining giant (Paul Cleary, Black Inc.)
  • The Case That Stopped a Nation: The Archibald Prize controversy of 1944 (Peter Edwell, Halstead Press)
  • Puff Piece (John Safran, Penguin Books)
  • Another Day in the Colony (Chelsea Watego, UQP)
  • Rogue Forces: An explosive insiders’ account of Australian SAS war crimes in Afghanistan (Mark Willacy, S&S)

Australian History:

  • White Russians, Red Peril: A Cold War history of migration to Australia (Sheila Fitzpatrick, Black Inc.)
  • Semut: The untold story of a secret Australian operation in WWII Borneo (Christine Helliwell, Michael Joseph)
  • Return to Uluru (Mark McKenna, Black Inc.)
  • Harlem Nights: The secret history of Australia’s Jazz Age (Deirdre O’Connell, MUP)
  • Farmers or Hunter-gatherers? The Dark Emu debate (Peter Sutton & Keryn Walshe, MUP)

Young Adult:

  • Still Alive: Notes from Australia’s immigration detention system (Safdar Ahmed, Twelve Panels Press)
  • 100 Remarkable Feats of Xander Maze (Clayton Zame Comber, HarperCollins)
  • The Gaps (Leanne Hall, Text)
  • Tiger Daughter (Rebecca Lim, A&U)
  • Tell Me Why (For Young Adults) (Archie Roach, S&S)


  • The Boy and the Elephant (Freya Blackwood, HarperCollins)
  • Mina and the Whole Wide World (Sherryl Clark, illustrated by Briony Stewart, UQP)
  • Common Wealth (Gregg Dreise, Scholastic)
  • Dragon Skin (Karen Foxlee, A&U)
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop (Maryam Master, illustrated by Astred Hicks, Pan)