About the award

The Russell Prize for Humour Writing, was established at the bequest of Peter Wentworth Russell to celebrate, recognise and encourage humorous writing, and to promote public interest in this genre. It is the only award to recognise the art of humour writing in Australia.

The prize is administered by the State Library of NSW and Foundation and has been made possible through the generous bequest of the late Peter Wentworth Russell, a farmer and businessman remembered for his appreciation of humour.  Find out more about Peter Russell and how the Russell Prize was established. 

The Russell Prize is the only award for humour writing in Australia and one of few in the world. It takes its place alongside the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize in the UK, the Thurber Prize for American Humour and the Leacock Memorial Medal for Canadian Humour. The prize marks a long overdue acknowledgment of the genre in Australia, and is set to promote public interest in humour writing just as its prestigious international counterparts have done.

The Russell Prize for Humour Writing will be awarded biennially for the work which is judged to be the best book of humour writing by an Australian author and published in the previous two years. Light or dark, fun or farce, published works of fiction, memoir, poetry and verse by Australian writers will be considered for the biennial $10,000 prize.  The prize will be next awarded in 2021.

2019 Winner and shortlist

2019 Judging panel

Patti Miller

(Senior Judge)

Patti Miller is the author of eight books, three of which are writing texts: Writing Your LifeThe Memoir Book and Writing True Stories;  one novelChild;  and four memoir/narrative non-fictions: The Last One Who RemembersWhatever The Gods Do;  the award-winning The Mind of a Thief and Ransacking Paris. Her latest book will be released by NewSouth in 2019.

She has been published regularly in national newspapers and literary journals for many years and occasionally writes somewhat amusing articles. She gives talks, appears at Writers’ Festivals and has been a judge for the NSW Premier’s Awards. She has taught writing since 1984 at universities, the Faber Academy in Sydney and London, at Writers’ Centres around Australia, and has been offering the popular  'Memoir in Paris’ workshop for the last fifteen years. 

David Hunt

David Hunt

David Hunt is an unusually tall and handsome man who enjoys writing his own biographical notes.

His first book, Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia won the 2014 Indie Award for Non-Fiction, and the sequel, True Girt, was shortlisted for The Russell Prize and Audiobook of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards.  David is also the author of The Nose Pixies and My Real Friend, both children's picture books.

David has a birthmark that looks like Tasmania, only smaller and not as far south.

Image of Lex Marinos

Lex Marinos

Lex Marinos OAM, was born in Wagga Wagga, NSW into a family of Greek cafe owners. Lex attended University of NSW, receiving a BA with Honours in Drama, and also studied with renowned American acting teacher, Stella Adler. Since then he has worked in all areas of the entertainment industry as an actor, director, writer, broadcaster and teacher. Best known for his television performances in Kingswood Country and ABC’s production of The Slap, as well as other series, dozens of films and TV episodes. On stage Lex has appeared with the Nimrod, APG, Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Company B, Big hART, and at many arts festivals, as well as commercial productions such as the King and I.

His work has taken him all over Australia, from remote Indigenous communities to the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics. Lex has also worked extensively on ABC radio since the riotous inception of 2JJ. Lex has also held many advisory and governance positions with arts and cultural organizations including SOCOG, The Australia Council, and Community Broadcasting Foundation. His book Blood and Circuses: an irresponsible memoir was published by Allen & Unwin.  

Proud member of Actors Equity since 1970.


2019 Russell Prize for Humour Writing Guidelines (for reference only)

For more information please contact the Senior Project Officer, Awards.

Email:  awards@sl.nsw.gov.au

Telephone: (02) 9273 1605 or (02) 9273 1582

Past winners and shortlists


Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure
True Girt
A Toaster on Mars
Error Australis
The Anti-Cool Girl