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Bookish News Bites: Shortlists and Big Names Head to Byron Bay

May 14, 2019

In bookish news this week, we learn who may be about to step onto the winner’s podium, and the names of some big stars heading for Byron Bay, including one real surprise name.

Text Prize 2019 shortlist reveals some excellent children’s books

The shortlist has been announced for the 2019 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing. The winner of the $10,000 prize will be announced on 15 May at an event in Melbourne. Chosen from 300 entries, the five shortlisted manuscripts are:

  • ‘Tellurian Blue’ by Danielle Clode, a debut fantasy novel that follows Young Eilidh, sole Askernish heir, who must embark on a quest to restore the people of Barra and the House of Askernish to their lands.
  • ‘Yenda’ by Jannali Jones, the story of Yenda, who must save her remote community in the Northern Territory after Gaarn, a divine being in the form of a magpie, helps her to realise the bizarre things happening around town herald the rise of a powerful and malevolent spirit.
  • ‘The Lost Paddock’ by Eleanor Limprecht, about four cousins left with a babysitter for two weeks on a farm in rural Australia, whose lives are turned upside down when the babysitter disappears one morning.
  • ‘Loner’ by Georgina Young, a humorous and heartfelt exploration of new adulthood, set in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, that follows Lona, who’s in inexplicable, debilitating love with a bespectacled Doctor Who-obsessed former classmate.
  • ‘Year of the Hawk’, by Jenna Heller, a coming-of-age story about a girl seeking acceptance and belonging while navigating changing friendships, rocky split-family dynamics, and preparing a hawk for release into the wild.

Byron Writers Festival: sneak preview (with surprise Manus Island link)

The first authors have been announced for the 2019 Byron Writers Festival, which runs from 2­–4 August. Local authors so far attending will be Bruce Pascoe, Alison Lester, Leigh Sales, Markus Zusak, Damon Gameau, Benjamin Law and Tara June Winch, a Wiradjuri author who is currently based in France.

International guests include Kurdish-Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani (who will appear via livestream from Manus Island, where he has been detained since 2013!), Korean-American author Min Jin Lee and South African writer Sisonke Msimang.

The full program will be announced on 12 June.

Woollahra Digital Literary Awards 2019 shortlists reveal some great reads

The shortlists for the 2019 Woollahra Digital Literary Awards for writing first published online or electronically, have been announced. A $3000 prize will be awarded to the winning entries in both the fiction and nonfiction categories, and the poetry winner will receive $1000.


  • ‘Toot toot’ (Rachel Ang, Going Down Swinging)
  • ‘Osaka’ (Alexander Bennetts, Short Australian Stories)
  • My Name is Revenge (Ashley Kalagian Blunt, Spineless Wonders)
  • ‘The Day Girl’ (Rivqa Rafael, Escape Artists)
  • ‘Step on Me’ (Jonno Revanche, Seizure)


  • ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie in the Ghost Gum’ (Evelyn Araluen, Sydney Review of Books)
  • ‘The Leech Barometer’ (Rebecca Giggs, Granta)
  • ‘Gothic Body, in Two Parts’ (Eda Gunaydin, Voiceworks)
  • ‘Shitposting the Pain Away (Or All the Cars I Have Owned)’ (Dan Hogan, Meanjin)
  • ‘The Hot Desk: Working Hot by Mary Fallon’ (Fiona McGregor, Sydney Review of Books)
  • ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Stalker’ (Kate Osana Simonian, Shenandoah)


  • ‘Vague, Or I can’t Explain it Any Other Way’ (Toby Fitch, Overland)
  • ‘Holding Pattern’ (Ross Gibson & Chris Abrahams, Cordite Poetry Review)
  • ‘Nine Billion Branches’ (Jason Nelson, Hyperrhiz)
  • ‘Instructional: A baited poem’ (Barnaby Smith,
  • ‘Origami’ (Christy Tan, Cordite Poetry Review).





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