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Making Stars of Australian Writers: The significance of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

November 21, 2018

The desire to write is like a force of nature, as irresistible as the tides and the wind. Trouble is, finding the time to do it. In Australia, where the average income for writers is $12,900 a year, most authors need another job to pay the bills and then there’s those other demands on time, like family. This is why the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards are so important – and so valuable.

Recognising the work of writers across six different categories and with generous prizes totalling $100,000 in each category, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards do more than recognise the work of our writers, they buy them the most precious commodity of all – time.

Story-building can be a lengthy process, requiring thinking, plotting, dreaming, imagination, lots of re-writing and perhaps, extensive research that may include travel. This makes the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards both incredibly important for individual writers and an invaluable investment in the cultural and intellectual life of our nation.

What does the prize mean for writers?

As a writer, being shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards is highly prestigious. Not only does it showcase a writer’s work, providing invaluable promotion to readers and the publishing industry, it is a form of recognition and celebration that is hard to come by. Writing is a lonely occupation and for many writers this recognition is not only invaluable to their careers, but also a welcome form of validation and appreciation for the hundreds of hours of work – and that part of themselves – that they have invested in their writing.

The generous nature of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards not only offers immense financial reward for their creative efforts, but allows writers to invest more time and energy into their future works.

‘I think they’re very important…people put an enormous amount of effort into their work and often don’t feel that there’s a great deal of response – of course people read it, but you don’t always know that…so it’s tremendous when there’s a public recognition like this,’ said the 2016 Joint Non-Fiction winner, Sheila Fitzpatrick.

What does the prize mean for Australia?

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were created to celebrate Australia’s outstanding literary talent, and the valuable contribution that Australian writing makes to the nation’s cultural and intellectual integrity.

Australia has a rich and diverse history of talented writers, and has produced some of the world’s most impressive literary texts. The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards stand as a testament to our country’s rich literary heritage, represents the nation’s willingness to invest in future works and shows our appreciation of and respect for Australian authors and writing.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said of the awards: ‘We have a wonderful group of talented authors and I welcome the opportunity to share their works with Australians.’

Winners of the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards will be announced on the 5th of December 2018. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for winner updates and author interviews.

You can also join the conversation by using the hashtag #PMLitAwards, and you can read the full list of shortlisted titles here.


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