Winners announced for 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

Monday 29 April 2019

The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards were announced tonight at the State Library of NSW, with a total of $305,000 awarded across 13 prizes.

NSW Premier, The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP said: “2019 marks the 40-year anniversary of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, which are the longest-standing and richest state-funded Awards in the country. Since 1979 the NSW Government has been supporting Australian writers and we look forward to continuing to do so for the next 40 years and beyond. Congratulations to all the winners this year who continue to provide work which inspires, informs and delights.”

According to Senior Judge, Suzanne Leal: “In their exploration of regret and forgiveness, hardship and resilience, loneliness and inclusion, this year’s winning entries are rigorous in their interrogation of our past and consideration of our present. Curiosity and warmth, humour spanning from the gentle to the caustic, and clarity of thought and vision stand out in these exceptional works.”

State Librarian John Vallance said: “The 2019 winners explore a vast range of ideas, once again, challenge us as readers to expand our thinking and to learn more from the society around us."

The prize winners are listed below:


Book of the Year ($10,000)Winners of the 2019 NSW Premier's Literary Awards in a group shot.

Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia by Billy Griffiths (Black Inc. Books)


Special Award ($10,000)

No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrooz Boochani


Christina Stead Prize for Fiction ($40,000)

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin)


UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing ($5,000 — sponsored by UTS)

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Publishers)


Douglas Stewart Prize for Non‐fiction ($40,000)  – joint winners

Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia by Billy Griffiths (Black Inc. Books)
The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay and Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein (Text Publishing)


Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry ($30,000)

Interval by Judith Bishop (UQP)


Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature ($30,000) – joint winners

Leave Taking by Lorraine Marwood (UQP)
Dingo by Claire Saxby and Tannya Harricks (Walker Books Australia)


Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature ($30,000)

Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough (Hardie Grant Egmont)


Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting ($30,000)

Jirga by Benjamin Gilmour (Felix Media)


Multicultural NSW Award ($20,000 — sponsored by Multicultural NSW)

The Lebs by Michael Mohammed Ahmad (Hachette Australia)


NSW Premier’s Translation Prize ($30,000) – biennial award

Alison Entrekin


People’s Choice Award

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Publishers)


The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards are administered by the State Library of NSW in association with Create NSW.

Download the full media release