Foundation for Australian Literary Studies News & Events MEDIA RELEASE: 2022 Roderick Literary Award Short List announced

MEDIA RELEASE: 2022 Roderick Literary Award Short List announced

covers of shortlisted books.

Six books have been shortlisted for the 2022 Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award, one of Australia’s oldest literary awards.

The Award, one of Australia’s most prestigious, covers all genres of literature, and this year received a record 230 entries including the highest ever number of entries from Indigenous authors.

Books on the shortlist are:

  • Tony Birch, Whisper Songs (UQP)
  • Emily Bitto, Wild Abandon (Allen & Unwin)
  • Rebecca Lim, Tiger Daughter (Allen & Unwin)
  • Emily Maguire, Love Objects (Allen & Unwin)
  • Inga Simpson, The Last Woman in the World (Hachette Australia)
  • Chloe Wilson, Hold Your Fire (Scribner Australia an Imprint of Simon & Schuster)

Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, Chair of the judging panel, said the entries this year had been of a very high standard and a lot of very good books didn’t even make the longlist.

“The judging panel had difficulty getting down to just six for the shortlist,” he said.

“There were a large number of dystopian works referencing climate, political, ethnic and other challenges to our present and future comfort.”

“The judges have now been sent back to re-read, reconsider and once again debate the relative merits of six very finely crafted, assured works that impress in so many different ways.”

The Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award was founded in 1967 and recognises the best original book, in the judge’s opinion, that was published in Australia in the previous calendar year for the first time.  Submissions must deal with any aspect of Australian life and can be in any field or genre of writing, verse or prose. It is valued at $20,000 and is presented by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies. It is also coupled with the silver H.T. Priestley Memorial Medal. The Foundation is based at James Cook University and is funded through the generosity of the late Professor Colin Roderick CBE, his late wife Mrs Margaret Roderick, as well as donations and membership from the general public.

Last year’s winner was Sofie Laguna for Infinite Splendours (Allen & Unwin). The 2022 winner will be announced in October.

Tony Birch, Whisper Songs (UQP)

An extraordinarily spare and powerful collection of interwoven poems of ‘skin and blood and country'. Themes of water, belonging, damage and recovery/remaining run through this collection.  There is pain, loss and joy here expressed though a controlled arrangement of theme and resonance of language through the several sections of the volume.

Emily Bitto, Wild Abandon (Allen & Unwin)

An extremely well-crafted account of a young Australian man's ‘escape’ to New York and then into US heartlands after the breakdown of his first serious relationship. Echoing some great American literary landmarks, sometimes lyrical, a coming of age and into self-knowledge story mapped through the observation of the tensions and mysteries of the relationships of others set against richly symbolic and allusive account of the decline of civilisations.

Rebecca Lim, Tiger Daughter (Allen & Unwin)

This Young Adult fiction offers a startlingly sharp and lucid first-person account of the challenges experienced by first generation ‘immigrant’ children in Australia. It traces the experience of a young woman in an ‘alien’ environment, and of children in tension with the expectations and background of their parents.

Emily Maguire, Love Objects (Allen & Unwin)

A visceral novel which deals with a traumatised, chaotic and largely dysfunctional family focusing on Nic, a hoarder, and her niece (among others). The secrets of the family are progressively unfolded in this controlled and harrowing narrative that illuminates how families can disintegrate and potentially reintegrate.

Inga Simpson, The Last Woman in the World (Hachette Australia)

A beautifully written and observed near-future fiction about a reclusive artist forced to leave her isolation to engage with others, confront the end of the world and the nameless horror which follows fire, ecological disaster and plague. The book is a quest, an apocalyptic allegory, an elegy and a faint gesture of hope

Chloe Wilson, Hold Your Fire (Scribner Australia an Imprint of Simon & Schuster)

A remarkably sharp and varied collection of short stories and other prose pieces, each with an edge of magic realism and the surreal, from the neighbour with the tiger to the half-sisters who go on a healing retreat which kills one of them.

For further information contact:

Marg Naylor | 0428585877 |