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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Prime Minister's Literary awards short list announced

Media release
6 August 2008

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Arts Minister Peter Garrett today announced the 14 Australian books vying for the inaugural Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

Announcing the short listed titles in Sydney, Mr Garrett said the 14 books were selected from over 190 entries and followed months of reading and deliberation by the judging panels.

“These awards are about showcasing the strength, breadth and depth of Australia’s literary talent and this short list of 14 great Australian books, written by some of our well known authors as well as some emerging and debut writers, certainly does that,” Mr Garrett said.

“There is something for everyone in this great list of titles and I am sure that Australians will shortly be hunting through bookshops to judge the winners for themselves from these short listed entrants.”

The short list for fiction is: Burning In, Mireille Juchau; El Dorado, Dorothy Porter; Jamaica: A novel, Malcolm Knox; Sorry, Gail Jones; The Complete Stories, David Malouf; The Widow and Her Hero, Tom Keneally and The Zookeeper's War, Steven Conte.

The short list for non-fiction is: A History of Queensland, Raymond Evans; Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time, Clive James; My Life as a Traitor, Zarah Ghahramani with Robert Hillman; Napoleon: The Path to Power, 1769-1799, Philip Dwyer; Ochre and Rust: Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers, Philip Jones; Shakespeare's Wife, Germaine Greer and Vietnam: The Australian War, Paul Ham.

“The judges have settled on a particularly exciting list for the inaugural awards, with readers able to immerse themselves in prose, history, politics, tales of wartime life, stories of far away lands and some very Australian tales.”

Mr Garrett said the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were one of Australia’s richest literary awards with prizes of $100,000 in both the fiction and non-fiction category, with the winners to be selected by the Prime Minister taking into account the expert advice of the judging panels of six eminent Australians.

“These awards were announced by the Prime Minister to recognise the major contribution of Australian literature to our cultural and intellectual life and celebrate the amazing depth of talent we have in our country.

“On behalf of the Prime Minister, I want to thank the judges for their excellent work in finalising this short list and trust they found choosing these entrants as rewarding as I know Australians will find reading them. I commend them all.”

Mr Garrett said the winners were expected to be announced by the Prime Minister in September.

Visit  for full details on the short list.

Commonwealth of Australia