Our prize winners for January 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Sarah Vincent

Welcome to our monthly brag about our Writers Victoria community members who have won awards, been shortlisted or longlisted for writing prizes or received industry recognition.

Collective celebrations


The winners of the 2018 Vic Premier's Literary Awards have been announced. Congratulations to:

  • Bella Li, tutor, who won the Poetry Prize for 'Argosy'
  • Michele Lee, tutor who won the Drama Price for 'Rice'
  • Demet Divaroren, tutor and member, who won the YA Prize for 'Living on Hope Street'
  • Melanie Cheng, member, who won the Fiction prize for 'Australia Day'


Leading Edge Books has announced the shortlist for the 2018 Indie Book Awards for books published in 2017. Among the longlisted titles are:


  • ‘The Choke’ by Sofie Laguna, mentor and tutor
  • ‘City of Crows’ by Chris Womersley, tutor

Debut fiction

  • ‘Wimmera’ by Mark Brandi, member
  • ‘Australia Day’ by Melanie Cheng, member

Young adult

  • ‘Take Three Girls’ by Cath Crowley, member and assessor, Fiona Wood, member and tutor and Simmone Howell, member
  • ‘Wilder Country’ by Mark Smith, member and tutor


  •  ‘Polly and Buster: The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster’ by Sally Rippin, tutor

Penguin Random House (PRH) has announced the shortlist for its inaugural PRH Australia Literary Prize, worth $20,000. The prize aims to find and develop new Australian authors of literary fiction and nonfiction. The shortlist was chosen from 409 submissions. Among the shortlisted authors and their works are:

  • Andrea Gillum, for ‘The Road Out of Town’ (novel) lapsed member and former intoern
  • Stephen Gray, for ‘The Family Plot’ (novel) lapsed member
  • Alice Bishop, for ‘A Constant Hum’ (short story collection) member

Twenty-six writers and organistions were among the latest Australia Council for the Arts (OzCo) grants recipients. Among the recipients are:

  • Christine Balint, tutor and member
  • Marija Pericic, tutor and member
  • Emma Viskic, member
  • Jessie Tu, who was runner-up for The 2017 Deborah Cass Prize.

A number of writers and literary organisations are among the 70 recipients of the latest round of VicArts project funding, worth a total of $1.5m. Among the are:

  • Else Fitzgerald, member, ‘development of a manuscript of short works of fiction that explore landscapes, language and technology and the ways they may shift and alter in a radically changing world’.
  • Mark Brandi, member, to ‘complete the manuscript for a new literary crime novel, 'Kiss Me Quick’.

The shortlists have been announced for this year’s Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, presented biennially by the South Australian government. Among the shortlisted works in each category are:

Young Adult:
‘The Boundless Sublime’ by Lili Wilkinson, tutor

‘Ghost River’ by Tony Birch, tutor
‘Some Tests’ by Wayne Macauley, tutor
‘From the Wreck’ by Jane Rawson, member and tutor
‘A Loving Faithful Animal’ by Josephine Rowe, tutor.

Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award:
‘Prodigal Jones’ by Duncan Graham, tutor.

Writer’s Victoria has announced the recipients of its second series of professional development opportunities for women writers of colour and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. The second round of commissions and bursaries has been awarded to four writers. Members CB Mako and Suya Lee are recipients of bursaries to attend Writers Victoria workshops. Member Gem Mahadeo is one of the two writers offered paid commissions to write pieces for upcoming issues of ‘The Victorian Writer’. Writers Victoria launched the bursary and commission program in 2017. Funded by an anonymous donation, the program ‘aims to reduce barriers and increase publication and professional development opportunities for women of colour in Victoria’.


Individual celebrations

Perth writer Rafeif Ismail has won Writers Victoria’s 2017 Deborah Cass Prize for emerging writers from migrant backgrounds for her manuscript extract ‘Almitra Amongst Ghosts’.The Deborah Cass Prize was established by Writers Victoria in 2015 to honour academic and writer Deborah Cass who was the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, and is awarded to an ‘early-career Victorian author who was born overseas or has at least one parent who was born overseas’.

Member Jock Serong has been shortlisted for the 2018 Edgar Allan Poe Awards (the Edgars), which honour ‘the best in mystery fiction and nonfiction’ published in the US in 2017. Serong’s novel 'The Rules of Backyard Cricket' is one of six books that made the best paperback original shortlist. The winners will be announced at the Mystery Writers of America’s 72st Gala Banquet, held on 26 April in New York City.

Jannette Gibbons, member, has won the Odyssey House Victoria's 2017 Short Story Competition.

Writers Victoria has announced the eight writers shortlisted for the 2018 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, awarded annually to an Australian writer for a proposed biographical work. Among the shortlisted writers is Jillian Graham, member, for her writing about Australian composer Margaret Sutherland.

Writers awarded OzCo international residencies for 2018-19. A number of writers have been awarded international residencies for 2018-19 as part of the Australia Council’s program. Emily Bitto, member, will undertake a six-month residency at the BR Whiting Studio in Rome. Each residency is also accompanied by a $20,000 grant.

Member Elise Elliott won third prize in the Boroondara Literary Awards. I entered the start of my manuscript "Eve" in the Open Short Story category.