2023 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards night

Tonight, the New South Wales Premier’s Literature Awards were announced at an event livestreamed from the State Library of NSW. I missed the start but got to see two of Debra Dank’s four acceptance speeches, and Sara Mansour and Bilal Hafda accepting the Special Award on behalf of Bankstown Poetry Slam (Bilal’s hands were a joy to watch). It’s been a while since a Premier has actually presented the awards – Chris Minns may be the first to do it since Christina Keneally in 2011. The recording is on YouTube, and I can think of worse ways to spend a couple of hours if you’re interested in Australian literary culture.

The winners (with links to the judges’ comments):

UTS Glenda Adam’s Award for New Writing: We Come With This Place, DEBRA DANK (Echo Publishing)

Indigenous Writers’ Prize: We Come With This Place, DEBRA DANK (Echo Publishing)

Multicultural NSW Award: The Eulogy, JACKIE BAILEY (Hardie Grant)

Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting: Whitefella Yella Tree, DYLAN VAN DEN BERG (Griffin Theatre Company/ Currency Press)

Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting: Blaze, DEL KATHRYN BARTON and HUNA AMWEERO (Causeway Films)

NSW Premier’s Translation Prize: People from Bloomington, BUDI DARMA, translated from Indonesian by TIFFANY TSAO (Penguin Classics)

Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature: The Upwelling, LYSTRA ROSE (Hachette Australia)

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature: The First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia’s First Peoples, COREY TUTT and BLAK DOUGLAS (Hardie Grant)

Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry: The Singer and Other Poems, KIM CHENG BOEY (Cordite Books)

Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction: We Come With This Place, DEBRA DANK (Echo Publishing)

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction: Women I Know, KATERINA GIBSON (Scribner)

The People’s Choice Award: Every Version of You, GRACE CHAN (Affirm Press)

The Special Award: Bankstown Poetry Slam

Book of the Year: We Come With This Place, DEBRA DANK (Echo Publishing)

The evening ended with a bunch of flowers to Jane McCredie, Senior Judge, to mark her final year in that role.

I have read exactly none of the winning books, plays or TV shows, but I am a huge fan of the Bankstown Poetry Slam and couldn’t be more delighted by that award.

9 responses to “2023 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards night

  1. I’d read three of the fiction shortlist (Iris, Cole Enough for Snow and Bad Art Mother) and would have been happy to see Bad Art Mother win though I liked Iris too. I liked Cold Enough for Snow well enough when I read it but now I am so tired of Sad Girl stories, and it has already won so many awards anyway…
    It does seem a bit much that one book, no matter how good it is, takes out *four* awards. I like to see the love shared around because it’s so tough for authors and the rewards are so few.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see what you mean, but watching Debra Dank speak I was completely happy to see her scoop the pool. I haven’t read her book, but I will. In her third acceptance speech she said, ‘This is the last time I’ll be referring to myself as an accidental writer.’ She asked us to bear in mind what is happening in her country, with fracking in the Beetaloo Basin. My sense was that this clutch of awards may have unleashed her as a writer


  2. The Debra Dank book is truly captivating. EVERY Australian should read it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am going to add the Debra Dank to my reading group schedule.

    Liked by 1 person

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