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Shortlists announced for 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Contemporary works by leading and emerging Australian writers have been shortlisted for the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the State Library of NSW announced today.

Thirty judges considered a record of 633 entries across 10 prize categories, with the winners to be announced online on the eve of the Sydney Writers’ Festival on Monday 26 April 2021. Up to $305,000 in prize money will be awarded including sponsored awards, making them the richest state-funded literary awards in the country.

NSW Premier, The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, said: “For more than four decades, the Premier’s Literary Awards in NSW have given vital support and encouragement to our literary culture. After more than a year of COVID-19, we could all use an added dose of inspiration during these challenging times. I congratulate every writer who entered and particularly those who have been named on the shortlist.”

According to State Librarian John Vallance: “You can’t guarantee good writing just by giving generous prizes, but there’s no doubt that it helps a lot. The NSW Premier’s Awards continue to attract and encourage the best writing in Australia. I encourage you all to buy these books and read them before the judges announce their final decisions.”

2021 Senior Judge, Jane McCredie, commented: “This year’s shortlists reflect the diversity and complexity of contemporary Australia, exploring themes of violence and catastrophe, but also of tenderness and hope. The new and established writers on the shortlists show a mastery of form, bringing skill and insight to the examination of our fraught histories, contested present and uncertain future. I congratulate them all on a remarkable achievement.”

View the shortlists and judges' comments for the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Download the full media release.