2019 Long & Short Lists

Multi-award-winning author Robert Drewe has added the 2019 Colin Roderick Literary Award to his collection with his short story compilation, The True Colour of the Sea.

True colour of the seaThe True Colour of the Sea is beautiful writing from one of the country’s most respected writersIt encompasses Australian experiences past and present, portrayed in moments that are sad, serious, and poignant,” said Dr Leigh Dale, Chair of the Judging Panel.

The long-awaited new collection of short stories from Australia’s master of the short-story genre.

An artist marooned on a remote island in the Arafura Sea contemplates his survival chances. He understands his desperate plight and the ocean’s unrelenting power. But what is its true colour?

A beguiling young woman nurses a baby by a lake while hiding brutal scars. Uneasy descendants of a cannibal victim visit the Pacific island of their ancestor’s murder. A Caribbean cruise of elderly tourists faces life with wicked optimism. Find out more at Penguin Publishing.

Robert Drewe
Robert Drewe is the author of seven novels, four books of short stories, two memoirs, six other works of non-fiction and two plays. His work has been widely translated, and adapted for film, television, theatre and radio.

Read the media release.

2019 Colin Roderick Award Winner
A conversation with Australian author, Robert Drewe, winner of the 2019 Colin Roderick Literary Award presented by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies.

2019 Shortlist

Sun MusicAbout Sun Music

Sun Music brings together poems published over a thirty-year period, from Judith Beveridge’s collections The Domesticity of Giraffes, Accidental Grace, Wolf Notes and Storm and Honey. It begins with an introduction by the poet, outlining the contours of her writing, and ends with a gathering of thirty-three new poems, including the exquisite elegy which gives this collection its title. Beveridge is an exacting poet, and the form of her poems contains and intensifies their expression of emotion. Their clarity and drama, their musical language and often playful metaphors, give them an immediate appeal. This is poetry of wonder and enchantment, compassionate in its identification with the ungainly and the vulnerable, the simple and the poor, and insistent in its emphasis on the dignity and self-possession of all that it observes. Find out more at Giramondo Publishing.

Judith Beveridge

Judith Beveridge is one of Australia most acclaimed poets, taught in high schools and universities, winner of the NSW and Victorian Premiers’ Awards, a highly regarded critic, editor and teacher of poetry. She has published six collections of poetry which have won major prizes. She is a recipient of the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal and the Christopher Brennan Award for lifetime achievement in poetry. She was poetry editor for Meanjin from 2005 to 2015, and co-editor of the anthology Contemporary Australian Poetry (Puncher & Wattmann, 2016). She teaches in the postgraduate writing program at the University of Sydney.

About Boy Swallows UniverseBoy Swallows Universe

An utterly wonderful novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe – from one of Australia’s most exciting new writers.

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It’s not as if Eli’s life isn’t complicated enough already. He’s just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way – not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer.

But Eli’s life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He’s about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.

Trent DaltonTrent Dalton

Trent Dalton is a staff writer for the Weekend Australian Magazine and a former assistant editor of The Courier Mail. He's a two-time winner of a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism, a four-time winner of a Kennedy Award for Excellence in NSW Journalism and a four-time winner of the national News Awards Features Journalist of the Year. His debut novel, Boy Swallows Universe, published by HarperCollins in 2018, is a much-loved national bestseller and critically acclaimed, winning the 2019 Indie Book of the Year Award, the MUD Literary Prize, the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing and the People's Choice Award at the 2019 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, and in addition, at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards, the book won a record four ABIA Awards including the prestigious Book of the Year Award.  Boy Swallows Universe will be published across 34 English language and translation

Noah GlassAbout The Death of Noah Glass

The art historian Noah Glass, having just returned from a trip to Sicily, is discovered floating face down in the swimming pool at his Sydney apartment block. His adult children, Martin and Evie, must come to terms with the shock of their father’s death. But a sculpture has gone missing from a museum in Palermo, and Noah is a suspect. The police are investigating.

None of it makes any sense. Martin sets off to Palermo in search of answers about his father’s activities, while Evie moves into Noah’s apartment, waiting to learn where her life might take her. Retracing their father’s steps in their own way, neither of his children can see the path ahead.

Gail Jones’s mesmerising new novel tells a story about parents and children, and explores the overlapping patterns that life makes. The Death of Noah Glass is about love and art, about grief and happiness, about memory and the mystery of time. Find out more at Text Publishing.

Gail Jones

The author of seven novels and two collections of stories, Gail Jones is one of Australia’s most celebrated writers. Her work has been translated into twelve languages, awarded several prizes in Australia. Internationally her fiction has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the IMPAC Award and the Prix Femina Étranger. She lives in Glebe, NSW.

About Dinner with the Dissidents

It is 1970, and the Kremlin is struggling to quell dissent. Though censored at home, Alexander Solzhenitsyn is lauded in the West for exposing the underbelly of communism. Now the Nobel laureate is rumoured to be writing his most devastating work yet.

The KGB turns to Leonid Krasnov, an aspiring young writer. It promises to make him Moscow’s next literary star if he can infiltrate Solzhenitsyn’s inner circle and uncover what the great author is hiding. At first Leonid complies, but when he falls in love with Klara, a dissident musician, his allegiances waver. By then he is enmeshed in a plot that is more sinister than he could ever have imagined.

Many years later, Leonid is a recluse living in Canberra under an assumed name. Haunted by his past, he seeks one last, desperate chance to make amends.

Dinner with the Dissidents is a gripping portrayal of tumultuous times, and a thrilling story of love, courage and deception.

John Tesarsch

John Tesarsch is the author of the acclaimed novels The Philanthropist and The Last Will and Testament of Henry Hoffman. He has degrees in music and law, and pursued a career as a cellist in Vienna before he turned to writing. After travelling widely John returned to Australia, where he lives with his wife and two children. He is also a barrister, and he lectures in law at the University of Melbourne. Dinner with the Dissidents is his third novel.

2019 Long List

In addition to those titles listed above the long list included the following works by celebrated authors:

About No Friend but the Mountains

In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally and indefinitely detained on Manus Island.

This book is the result. Written on a smuggled mobile phone and translated from Farsi, it is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through six years of incarceration and exile that - against all the odds - became an award-winning national bestseller.

Find out more from Pan Macmillan Australia

Behrouz Boochani

Behrouz Boochani holds a Masters degree in political geography and geopolitics. He is a Kurdish-Iranian journalist, scholar, cultural advocate, writer and filmmaker, founder of the Kurdish language magazine Weya, an Honorary Member of PEN International. In 2013, he fled Iran and became a political prisoner of the Australian Government incarcerated in the Manus Regional Processing Centre (Papua New Guinea).

About Staying

As children, Jessie Cole and her brother Jake ran wild, free to roam their rainforest home as they pleased. They had each other, parents who adored them, and two mysterious, beautiful, clever half-sisters, Billie and Zoe, who came to visit every holidays. But when Jessie was on the cusp of adolescence, tragedy struck, and her happy, loving family fell apart.

This heartbreaking memoir asks what happens to those who are left behind when someone takes their own life. It’s about the importance of home, family and forgiveness—and finding peace in a place of pain. Find out more at Text Publishing.

Jessie Cole

Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in northern New South Wales and lived a bush childhood of creek swimming and barefoot free-range adventuring. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to much critical acclaim.

About The Lost Man

The man lay still in the centre of a dusty grave under a monstrous sky.

Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland.

They are at the stockman's grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last chance for their middle brother, Cameron.

The Bright family's quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn't, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects... Find out more at Pan Macmillan Australia.

Jane Harper

'The most exciting emerging novelist of the last 12 months...places Harper in the elevated company of the authors she so admires...Gillian Flynn and Lee Child' Mail on Sunday

'A storytelling force to be reckoned with' US Publishers Weekly' Thanks to Jane Harper, whose The Dry has gone gangbusters here and internationally, Australia's very own crime genre, rural noir, is on a roll. [The Lost Man] is as much a family saga and love story as a thriller' Good Weekend Magazine.

About

Unflinching, funny, shocking, inspiring and tender: this is a story like no other. 

Alannah Hill, one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers, created an international fashion brand that defied trends with ornamental, sophisticated elegance, beads, bows and vintage florals. But growing up in a milk bar in Tasmania, Alannah’s childhood was one of hardship, fear and abuse. At an early age she ran away from home with eight suitcases of costumes and a fierce determination to succeed, haunted by her mother’s refrain of ‘You’ll never amount to anything, you can’t sew, nobody likes you and you’re going to end up in a shallow grave, dear!’

At the height of her success, Alannah walked the razor’s edge between two identities – the ‘good’ Alannah and the ‘mongrel bastard’ Alannah. Who was the real Alannah Hill? Reprieve came in the form of a baby boy and the realisation that becoming a mother not only changes your life, but completely refurbishes it, forever.

Yet 'having it all' turned out to be another illusion. In 2013 Alannah walked away from her eponymous brand, a departure that left her coming apart at the seams. She slowly came to understand the only way she could move forward was to go back. At the heart of it all was her mother, whose loveless marriage and disappointment in life had a powerful and long-lasting effect on her daughter. It was finally time to call a truce with the past.

This extraordinary book is the fierce and intelligent account of how a freckle-faced teenage runaway metamorphosed into a trailblazer and true original. Find out more at Hardie Grant Publishing.

Alannah Hill

Alannah Hill is a designer, author and stylist. For seventeen years she was the founder and creative director of the brand Alannah Hill, one of Australia's most trailblazing and iconic fashion houses. In 2013 Alannah left her eponymous brand and in 2015 launched her new fashion brand LOUISE LOVE. Alannah lives in Melbourne with her sixteen-year-old son and beagle dog, Jack.

About

‘Who is this please?’
‘Jessica. Jessica Weir.’
‘I’m sorry, miss, but this was the last number—’
‘Matthew’s on his way home. From work. He’s late. He should be home soon.’
And only the ocean breathing into the silence as if her own chest were rising and falling without fail. As if his heart were still beating. As if nothing in the world had changed.
‘We’ve found a car, miss, but there’s no sign of a driver.’

When Jessica’s partner disappears into the dark Tasmanian forest, there is of course the mystery of what happened to him—the deserted car, the enigmatic final image recorded on his phone. There is the strange circle of local women, widows of disappeared men, with their edgy fellowship and unhinged theories. And the forest itself: looming hugely over this tiny settlement on the remote tip of the island.

But for Jessica there is also the tight community in which she is still a stranger and Matthew was not. What secrets do they know about her own life, that she doesn’t. And why do they believe things that should not—cannot—be true. For her own sanity, Jessica needs to know two things. Who was Matthew? And who—or what—has he become? Find out more at Text Publishing.

Krissy Kneen

Krissy Kneen is the award-winning author of memoir—Affection—and fiction: An Uncertain GraceSteeplechaseTriptychThe Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine, as well as the Thomas Shapcott Award-winning poetry collection Eating My Grandmother. She has written and directed broadcast documentaries for SBS and ABC Television.

About

An extraordinary true story about the author's father, Mike Lewis, a British paratrooper and combat cameraman who filmed the liberation of Bergen-Belsen.

Helen Lewis was just a child when she found an old suitcase hidden in a cupboard at home. Inside it were the most horrifying photographs she’d ever seen — a record of the atrocities committed at Bergen-Belsen. They belonged to her father, Mike, a British paratrooper and combat cameraman who had filmed the camp’s liberation.

The child of Jewish refugees, Mike had grown up in London’s East End and experienced anti-semitism firsthand in the England of the 1930s. Those first images of the Nazis’ crimes, shot by Mike Lewis and others like him, shocked the world. In The Dead Still Cry Out, his daughter Helen uses photographs and film stills to reconstruct Mike’s early life and experience of the war, while exploring broader questions too: what it means to belong; how history and memory are shaped; and how anyone can deny the Holocaust in the face of such powerful evidence. Find out more at Text Publishing.

Helen Lewis

Helen Lewis is a writer, editor and researcher who was born in England and moved to Australia when she was twenty-one. She wrote her PhD thesis on her father’s experiences as a combat cameraman and has presented conference papers in Australia and overseas on the ethics and aesthetics of disseminating images of atrocity. In 2012 she was a research associate at the Imperial War Museum, London. She lives in the hinterland of Eden, New South Wales, where she indulges her love of gardening.

About

Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.

Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley.

Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble – but then trouble is Kerry’s middle name.

Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible. Find out more at UQ Press.

Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko is a Goorie author of Bundjalung and European heritage. Her first novel, Steam Pigs, was published in 1997 and since then her work has received acclaim in many literary awards. Too Much Lip is her sixth novel and won the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance. It was also shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Stella Prize, two Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, two Queensland Literary Awards and two NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Melissa is a Walkley Award winner for her non-fiction, and a founding member of human rights organisation Sisters Inside. She writes about ordinary Australians and the extraordinary lives they lead.

About

Why has no one heard of Edna Cranmer?

When a young writer is hired to put together the life of an unknown artist from Geelong, of all places, she thinks it will be just another quick commission paid for by a rich, grieving family obsessed with their own past.

But Edna Cranmer was not a privileged housewife with a paintbrush. Edna’s work spans decades. Her soaring images of red dirt, close interiors and distant jungles have the potential to change the way the nation views itself.

Edna could have been an official war artist. Did she choose to hide herself away? Or were there people who didn’t want her to be famous? As the biographer is pulled into Edna’s life, she is confronted with the fact that how she tells Edna's past will affect her own future.

This elegant and engrossing novel explores how we value and celebrate art and artists’ lives. The Biographer’s Lover reminds us that all memory is an act of curation. Find out more at Black Inc. Books.

Ruby J. Murray

Ruby J. Murray is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in many publications, including The Saturday Paper, Time OutThe AgeMeanjinDumbo Feather and Griffith Review. She was selected as a SMH Best Young Novelist for her debut novel, Running Dogs, which was also shortlisted in the 2013 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

About

Born Ellie Nellie on an Aboriginal reserve in Western Australia’s south west, she was nicknamed Ing by her family. Removed from her loving parents under government policy at the age of five, Ing was placed in a mission and denied her heritage. Her name was changed to Helen, and she needed all her strength to survive. When Ing’s parents died, she had the responsibility of her younger brother and sister. Returning to her community on a nearby reserve when the mission closed, Ing learnt what it meant to be Noongar after being brought up as a whitefella. Her family taught her culture and language. Ing has lived through many family tragedies. Her honest experiences reflect her indomitable spirit and give insight into the lives of Aboriginal people. Find out more at Magabala Books.

Helen (Ing) Nellie

Helen (Ing) Nellie is a Wirlomin Noongar Elder. She was born on the outskirts of Borden, a hamlet in WA’s south west. She believes she was born on 18 July 1947, although she doesn’t possess a birth certificate. A member of the Stolen Generations, Ing’s life is a mosaic of tragedy. Forcibly removed from her parents at five years and again aged nine under government policy, she was raised in a Baptist Mission. Ing grew up caught between cultures. She struggled with her identity, but her involvement in the Wirlomin Language and Stories Project, and the telling of her life story, has cultivated true belonging within the Aboriginal community. Ing lives in Perth with her husband, Ron.

Margaret O'Brien

Margaret O’Brien was born in Norseman in the WA Goldfields in 1948 and grew up in Bunbury. She started writing after retiring from a 45-year nursing career. Her writing took a dramatic turn when she met Helen (Ing) Nellie at the Perth Writer’s Festival in 2014 and became her ghostwriter and a non-Indigenous collaborator for Simply Ing. Margaret is married, a keen bird photographer and is passionate about animal welfare.

About

Nick Harris has been drifting for years – until the day he finds himself amid red dirt and razor wire, a refugee-prison guard in a detention centre. Nick is no crusader and no bleeding-heart. He’s just a man in debt who needs a job.

Time passes slowly behind the wire, no matter who you are. To distract themselves, the asylum seekers tell Nick about their lives and cultures, and the families they have left behind. They steal from him with good humour, and swear at him with bad.

Nick breaks all the rules: slacking off when he guards the cordial machine, swimming with crocodiles, brawling with locals, romancing workmates. And then there is the cardinal sin –  becoming friends with the detainees. Find out more at Fremantle Press.

Avan Judd Stallard

Avan Judd Stallard was born and raised in the south-west of Western Australia. He holds a PhD at the University of Queensland, where he taught Australian history and won the Dean’s Award for Excellence. Avan is the author of the history book Antipodes: In Search of the Southern Continent. He currently lives with his wife in the north of Spain.