Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley has today thrown down the gauntlet to readers everywhere, announcing the 21 works shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.
The titles comprise some of the best fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and writing produced in Australia in the previous year.
The shortlist ranges from a collection of 58 sonnets that grapple with desire, ethics and compassion, to the story of two young Australians who meet at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides.
There is a lyrical account of life as a child of black immigrants in the 1980s, an intense thriller about a middle-aged cricket star, and a reimagining of one of Australia’s most celebrated short stories.
The winners of the five award categories – fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and writing for young adults – each receive $25,000 and go on to contest the Victorian Prize for Literature. Worth a further $100,000, the Victorian Prize for Literature is Australia’s richest single literary Award.
The public are encouraged to participate in the awards by voting for their favourite shortlisted work. The winner of the $2,000 People’s Choice Award will be named alongside the general category winners on Tuesday 31 January 2017.
The awards include two further awards – the Unpublished Manuscript Award, won in 2016 by Melanie Cheng for her short-fiction collection Australia Day and the biennial Award for Indigenous Writing, won earlier this year by Tony Birch for his novel Ghost River.
For the first time this year, these two additional awards will both be considered among the other five category winners for the Victorian Prize for Literature.
The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards were established by the Victorian Government in 1985 to honour literary achievement by Australian writers.
The Awards are administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.
The full shortlist can be found at www.wheelercentre.com/projects/victorian-premier-s-literary-awards-2017
Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley
“The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards play a vital role in championing local writers and the local publishing industry, as well as celebrating some of Australia’s most exciting stories and story tellers.”
“The shortlist contains a diverse and exciting collection of works, from new and emerging writers to some of our best-known and best-loved authors.”
“I congratulate all authors on making the shortlist and for their contribution to not only to our literary and cultural life and to Melbourne as Australia’s only UNESCO City of Literature.”