Forgot Your Username and Password? Click here.

Subscribe to Good Reading now

Victorian Premier's Literary Awards announce 2021 shorlists

Victorian Premier's Literary Awards announce 2021 shorlists

The shortlists for the 2021 Victorian Premiers' Literary Awards have been announced, recognising the best works published in 2020 across seven categories.

The winners will be annonced at a digital ceremony Monday 1 February, 2021. The recipients of each category prize will be awarded $25 000, with the unpubliished manuscript winner awarded $15 000. The winners of each category also go on to contest the $100 000 prize for Literature.

The 2020 Prize for Literature was awarded to the play Counting and Counting, written by S Shakthidharan and Eamon Flack.

Check out the full shortlist, and highly commended entries, for each category below.






Highly commended

  • Revenge: Murder in Three Parts (S L Lim, Transit Lounge) | LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST
  • Smart Ovens for Lonely People (Elizabeth Tan, Brio)



  • Songlines: The Power and Promise (Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly, Thames & Hudson)
  • Body Count: How climate change is killing us (Paddy Manning, S&S) | LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST
  • Show Me Where It Hurts (Kylie Maslen, Text)
  • Blueberries (Ellena Savage, Text) | READ OUR REVIEW
  • Witness: An investigation into the brutal cost of seeking justice (Louise Milligan, Hachette)
  • Fire Country: How Indigenous fire management could help save Australia (Victor Steffensen, Hardie Grant Travel)


Highly commended

  • After the Count (Stephanie Convery, Viking)
  • Hazelwood (Tom Doig, Viking)
  • People of the River (Grace Karskens, A&U)
  • British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, intercolonial relations and the Empire (Kama Maclean, NewSouth)



  • Wonnangatta (Angus Cerini, Sydney Theatre Company)
  • SLAP. BANG. KISS. (Dan Giovannoni, Melbourne Theatre Company)
  • Sunshine Super Girl: The Evonne Goolagong Story (Andrea James, Currency Press)


Highly commended

  • Wherever She Wanders (Kendall Feaver, Griffith Theatre Company and Currency Press)
  • Torch the Place (Benjamin Law, Melbourne University Publishing)



  • Ask Me About the Future (Rebecca Jessen, UQP)
  • Case Notes (David Stavanger, UWA Publishing)
  • Throat (Ellen van Neerven, UQP)


Highly commended

  • Of Memory and Furniture (Bron Bateman, Fremantle Press)
  • Turbulence (Thuy On, UWAP)


Young Adult

  • The F Team (Rawah Arja, Giramondo)
  • Metal Fish, Falling Snow (Cath Moore, Text)
  • Where We Begin (Christie Nieman, Pan)


Highly commended

  • The End of the World is Bigger than Love (Davina Bell, Text)
  • The Left-Handed Booksellers of London (Garth Nix, A&U) | READ OUR REVIEW


Indigenous writing

  • Tell Me Why: The story of my life and my music (Archie Roach, S&S)
  • Kindred (Kirli Saunders, Magabala)
  • Song of the Crocodile (Nardi Simpson, Hachette)
  • Where the Fruit Falls (Karen Wyld, UWAP)


Highly commended

  • Late Murrumbidgee Poems (John Mukky Burke, Cordite Books)


Unpublished manuscript

  • Anam (André Dao)
  • On A Knife’s Edge (Neela Janakiramanan)
  • But the Girl (Jessica Zhan Mei Yu)


Highly commended

  • Children of Tomorrow (J R Burgmann)
  • Goblins (Patrick Hunn)
  • The Guest House (Kylie Mirmohamadi).