Winners announced

Winner and Shortlist

Still alive
Twelve Panels Press
Coming of Age in the War on Terror
cover image of take care
Giramondo Publishing
Belvoir Street Theatre
The Mother Wound
Pan Macmillan Australia
Tiger Daughter
Allen & Unwin

Highly Commended

In Film
Highly commended
cover image of the three burials of lotty kneen
Text Publishing
Highly commended

The Judging Panel

photo of sarah ayoub

Sarah Ayoub


Sarah Ayoub is a journalist, author and academic researching intersectional literature. Her work has been published in The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, SBS, ELLE, Marie-Claire, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books and more. She has worked as a lecturer and tutor in journalism and writing with the University of Sydney, University of NSW and University of Notre Dame, and recently completed a PhD which examined intersectionality in interventionist ethnic Australian YA literature.

She is the author of Hate is such a Strong Word and The Yearbook Committee, the latter of which was longlisted for the State Library of Victoria's Gold Inky. Sarah is a Schools Ambassador with The Stella Prize, and has mentored the youth curators of The Sydney Writers' Festival YA program and contributed to the anthology Arab, Australian, Other.

Sarah's forthcoming novel, The Cult of Romance, will be published by HarperCollins in March 2022, with her first picture book, The Love that Grew, out the following month. She is currently working on her first novel for adults as the Writer-in-Residence at Sweatshop Literacy Movement.

Headshot Sheila Ngoc Pham

Sheila Ngoc Pham

Sheila Ngoc Pham is a writer, editor and radio producer. She writes for a wide range of literary and mainstream publications, and was a finalist for the 2021 Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism.

Sheila has held editorial roles at the ABC and most recently co-produced Tongue Tied and Fluent, a five-part series on ABC Radio National exploring multilingualism in Australia. She previously served as a judge for the NSW Premier's Literary Awards' Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction.

Sheila lives on Dharug land with her husband and two children.

Omar Sakr

Omar Sakr


Omar Sakr is the author of These Wild Houses (Cordite Books, 2017), and The Lost Arabs (UQP, 2019), which won the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry. He is the first Arab-Australian Muslim to win this prestigious award. A finalist in the 2020 Foreword Indie Book Awards, The Lost Arabs was also shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe, the John Bray Poetry, NSW Premier’s Multicultural Literary, and Colin Roderick awards.

In 2019, Omar was the recipient of the Edward Stanley Award for Poetry, and in 2020, the Woollahra Digital Literary Award. Omar’s creative and critical non-fiction work has appeared widely in The Saturday Paper, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, Archer, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Going Down Swinging, SBS Life, and The Wheeler Centre.

His essays have been anthologised in Fire, Flood, Plague (Penguin Random House, 2020), Meet Me at the Intersection (Fremantle Press, 2018) and Going Postal: More Than Yes or No (Brow Books, 2018), and his short fiction has appeared in Kindred: 12 Queer LoveOzYA Stories (Walker Books, 2019) as well as After Australia (Affirm Press, 2020).

Born on Dharug land to Lebanese and Turkish migrants, he lives there still.

About the award

The Multicultural NSW Award ($20,000) is offered for

  • a book of fiction or non-fiction, memoir or history
  • a play, musical drama or comedy, theatrical monologue or other theatrical performance,
  • a book of collected poems or a single poem of substantial length published in book form,
  • the screenplay of a feature or documentary film or episode of a television program (drama, comedy or documentary), or
  • the script of a radio play or documentary

which is deemed by the judges to have made a significant contribution to Australian literature, poetry, theatre, film, radio or television and which also considers:

  • any aspect of the Australian migration experience; and/or
  • aspects of cultural diversity and multiculturalism in Australian society.

 The Multicultural NSW Award may be awarded to either:

  • a book or collection first published between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021;
  • a play or music drama which has had a premiere season given by an amateur or professional theatre company before a general audience between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021; or
  • the original writer’s script for a feature or documentary or episode of a television program (drama, comedy or documentary), accompanied by a DVD of the feature, documentary or episode.

Books, plays, music dramas and scripts may be nominated specifically for this award by their authors, publishers, agents or producers.

Past winners and shortlist

University of Queensland Press
book cover
Hachette Australia
The Lebs Book Cover
Hachette Australia
Cover image of The Permanent Resident
UWA Publishing
Book cover for The Fighter A True Story by Arnold Zable
Hachette Australia