ABR Publishing Profile

Issue #1, June 1978Issue #1, June 1978Australian Book Review is one of the country’s leading cultural magazines. Founded in 1961 in Adelaide and revived in Melbourne in 1978, it is an independent, not-for-profit magazine committed to publishing critical and creative writing of the highest standard. Through its print and digital publishing, website, prizes, fellowships, events, and partnerships, ABR makes a major contribution to Australia’s culture of ideas. 

The magazine publishes in-depth literary and arts reviews as well as new poetry and fiction, essays, commentaries, and interviews. ABR also reviews films, television, music, theatre, opera, dance, festivals, and art exhibitions.

ABR is a strong advocate of proper support and remuneration for freelance reviewers. We pay for everything we publish – print and online – and we pay increasingly well.

ABR is a powerful generator of ideas and creative writing, and a key supporter of fresh talent. Few publications support writers and editors through such varied and lucrative programs.



ABR issue one 1961First issue, 1961 (series one)First Series

1961 to 1974 - Geoffrey Dutton, Max Harris, and Rosemary Wighton

Second series:

1978 to 1986 - John McLaren
1986 to 1987 - Kerryn Goldsworthy
1988 - Louise Adler
1989 to 1995 - Rosemary Sorensen
1995 to 2000 - Helen Daniel
2001 to present day - Peter Rose


Find out more about ABR Staff, the ABR Board and Editorial Advisory Board, the ABR Laureates, and contributors to the first and second series. A timeline of major events from ABR’s history can be found here and our annual reviews can be found here.


ABR Print Publishing

ABR publishes reviews, commentaries, interviews, essays, surveys, and creative writing. In general ABR publishes approximately 500 features in print each year by 300 contributors. Roughly 90 or 100 of these contributors will be new to the magazine. ABR is open to approaches from new contributors and you can find out more here. ABR publishes an annual index of our print content here (from 2017 we have also indexed our digital content). 


ABR Print Edition Statistics and Gender Breakdown 

Below is a gender breakdown from the print edition between 2014 and 2019. (NB this table only includes information about items published in the print edition. It does not include our wider digital content.)  


Features published in the print edition

Percentage of those features written by men

Percentage of those features written by women

Number of new contributors

































We have published 124 interviews with a wide range of authors, critics, poets, and publishers including Tim Winton, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Geraldine Brooks, Hazel Rowley, Carmen Callil, and Sheila Fitzpatrick



ABR regularly publishes surveys of groups of critics, publishers, and commentators on a range of subjects including the following: Books of the Year, Arts Highlights of the Year, and Publisher Picks


The ABR Favourite Australian Novel polls

Back in 2009, when we sought readers’ nominations for the ABR Favourite Australian Novel (any era, any genre), we anticipated goodly interest, ABR readers being a passionate and well-read bunch. But we hadn’t expected to be inundated with quite so many faxes and emails. In the end we received thousands of votes for some 290 Australian novels. Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, a perennial favourite since its publication in 1991, was the overwhelming favourite – by a margin of three to one to its nearest rival, Henry Handel Richardson’s The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, which was closely followed by Patrick White’s Voss and Winton’s most recent novel, Breath. Particularly heartening was the large number of nineteenth-century novels and those published before the remarkable expansion of fiction publishing in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The following feature, which appeared in the February 2010 issue, lists the top twenty Favourite Australian Novels. 

In 2019 we asked readers to nominate their Favourite Australian Novel published since 2000.


Advocacy and engagement

ABR, though not politically aligned, is an engaged and responsive magazine. From time to time, we publish open letters on key social or political questions. These include an Open Letter on Marriage Equality and an Open Letter on the importance of saving the ABC. 


ABR Online Exclusives

Not all ABR’s publishing appears in the print magazine. We publish a wide range of online exclusives and previews including book and arts reviews, creative writing, essays and interviews, and podcasts. These appear online in ABR Arts, States of Poetry, Reading Australia, ABR Fiction, Book Talk, and ABR Online Exclusives.


Reading Australia

ABR commissioned and published twenty-six essays on major Australian writers as part of the Australia Council’s Reading Australia project. These essays are all available open access online.

Reading Australia essays

Kerryn Goldsworthy on Jessica Anderson's Tirra Lirra by the River
Susan Sheridan on Thea Astley's It's Raining in Mango
Agnes Nieuwenhuizen on A.J. Betts's Zac and Mia
Ruth Starke on Isobelle Carmody's The Gathering
Brian Matthews on Marcus Clarke's For the Term of His Natural Life
Kerryn Goldsworthy on Robert Dessaix's A Mother's Disgrace
Alice Pung on Garry Disher's The Divine Wind
Kerryn Goldsworthy on Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Danielle Clode on Tim Flannery's Here on Earth
Kári Gíslason on Raimond Gaita's Romulus, My Father
Bernadette Brennan on Helen Garner's The Children's Bach
Miriam Cosic on Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch
Peter Craven on Kate Grenville's Lilian's Story
Felicity Plunkett on Steven Herrick's by the river
Judith Rodriguez on Jack Hibberd's Dimboola
Delys Bird on Elizabeth Jolley's Miss Peabody's Inheritance
Tony Birch on Thomas Keneally's The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
Morag Fraser on Alex Miller's Journey to the Stone Country
Susan Lever on John Romeril's The Floating World
Patrick Allington on Kim Scott's That Deadman Dance
Peter Kirkpatrick on Kenneth Slessor's One Hundred Poems: 1919–1939
Gary Crew on Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing
Kerryn Goldsworthy on Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap
Billy Griffiths on David Unaipon's Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines
James McNamara on David Williamson's The Removalists
Felicity Castagna on Markus Zusak's The Messenger


States of Poetry

Between 2016 and 2018 ABR published nearly four hundred poems by eighty poets as part of States of Poetry, a federally arranged poetry anthology supported by Copyright Agency Limited that also included podcasts. Anthologies were published by poets from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and the ACT. These anthologies are all open access. The poets and state editors are listed below.

New South Wales

Elizabeth Allen (State Editor)
Fiona Wright
Kate Middleton
David Malouf
Toby Fitch
Pam Brown
Susie Anderson

South Australia

Peter Goldsworthy (State Editor)
Ken Bolton
Thom Sullivan
Kate Llewellyn
Jill Jones
Jelena Dinic
Aidan Coleman
Cath Kenneally
Jan Owen
Dominic Symes
Jules Leigh Koch
Louise Nicholas
Steve Brock


David McCooey (State Editor)
Jessica L. Wilkinson
Cameron Lowe
A. Frances Johnson
Michael Farrell
Amy Brown
Kevin Brophy
Gig Ryan
Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Brendan Ryan
Bella Li
Lisa Gorton

Western Australia

Kevin Brophy (State Editor)
Lucy Dougan (State Editor and poet)
Carolyn Abbs
Kia Groom
Graham Kershaw
Charmaine Papertalk Green
J P Quinton
Barbara Temperton
Edwin Lee Mulligan
Annamaria Weldon
Chris Arnold
John Kinsella
Josephine Clarke


Sarah Day (State Editor)
Adrienne Eberhard
Tim Thorne
Louise Oxley
Karen Knight
Jane Williams
Graeme Hetherington
Ben Walter
Christiane Conésa-Bostock
Gina Mercer
Jim Everett-puralia meenmatta
James Charlton
Anne Kellas 


Felicity Plunkett (State Editor)
Nathan Shepherdson
Ellen van Neerven
Lionel Fogarty
MTC Cronin
Sarah Holland-Batt
Stuart Barnes
Anna Jacobson
Zenobia Frost
Samuel Wagan Watson
David Stavanger
Liam Ferney
Pascalle Burton


Jen Webb (State Editor)
Sarah Rice
Omar Musa
Jeanine Leane
Paul Hetherington
Jen Crawford
Adrian Caesar
Merlinda Bobis
Melinda Smith
Kerry Reed-Gilbert
John Foulcher
Isi Unikowski
Geoff Page
Anita Patel
Mark O'Connor
Paul Munden
Miranda Lello
Lesley Lebkowicz
Paul Collis 


Prizes and Programs

ABR presents three prestigious international literary prizes (for poetry, essays and short stories), a vibrant Fellowship program, and a prestigious Laureate’s program. We also offer regular paid Editorial Internships.



To recognise the work of distinguished Australian artists, ABR has to date named two ABR Laureates.

  • David Malouf (2014)
  • Robyn Archer (2016)



Since 2011 ABR has awarded twenty-one Fellowships to twelve women and nine men. The Fellows are listed below under the year of publication. Find out more about the Published and current Fellows and read their essays.

Published ABR Fellowships


"What is Australia, anyway?" The glorious limitations of the Miles Franklin Literary Award’ by Patrick Allington
‘Sweeping up the Ashes’ by Rachel Buchanan


'Man on the Margins' by Jennifer Lindsay


‘Media Don’ by Ruth Starke
‘Everyone’s a Critic’ by Kerryn Goldsworthy
‘Olive Cotton at Spring Forest’ by Helen Ennis
‘Patrick White: A theatre of his own  by Andrew Fuhrmann


‘Seeing the Wood for the Trees’ by Danielle Clode


‘Sound Bridges: A Profile of Gurrumul’ by Felicity Plunkett
‘The Golden Age of Television?’ by James McNamara
‘The Scientist of his own experience: A profile of Gerald Murnane’ by Shannon Burns
'The Forest at the Edge of Time' by Ashley Hay


'Satan Repentant' by Michael Aiken
'How Do We Live With Ourselves? The Australian National Conscience' by Alan Atkinson


‘Beyond Songlines’ by Philip Jones
'Ambassadors from Another Time' by Stephen Orr
'If This Is a Jew' by Elisabeth Holdsworth
Picnic at Hanging Rock fifty years on’by Marguerite Johnson


‘Defying the Moment’, 'The art of pain: Writing in the age of trauma’, and ‘'We are all MFAs now!'  by Beejay Silcox


‘A mutinous and ferocious grace: Nick Cave and trauma’s aftermath' by Felicity Plunkett


ABR Editorial Internships

Since 2009 ABR has awarded eight paid Editorial Internships as part of our highly successful program. The current ABR Editorial Intern is Jack Callil. Find out more about past Editorial Interns.


ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize

Since 2010 ABR has awarded the Jolley Prize to eleven writers (the prize was shared in 2011). Thirty-five writers have been shortlisted for the prize. As with all our prizes the Jolley Prize is judged blind. Since 2010 ABR has shortlisted twenty-seven women and eight men. Since the prize was internationalised in 2014 we have shortlisted six writers from overseas. The winners and shortlisted authors are listed below. Find out more about the past winners of the Jolley Prize and read their stories via our Past Winners page.

Jolley Prize shortlists


‘A Roānkin Philosophy of Poetry’ by Maria Takolander (winner)
'Sleepers' by Cate Kennedy (second place)
‘Suitable for a Lampshade’ by Josephine Rowe (Reader’s Choice)
'The Virus - Travel Notes' by David Cohen
'Angus's Playground' by S.J. Finn,
'Honey' by Erin Gough
'The Body' by Joan Phillip


‘Milk Tray’ by Claire Aman
‘What’s Richard Ford Got to Do With It? by Gaylene Carbis
‘Before He Left the Family’ by Carrie Tiffany (joint winner)
‘The Neighbour's Beans’ by Gregory Day (joint winner)


‘Patterns in Nature’ by Sue Hurley (winner)
‘Gorgeous Perambulator’ by Jack Cox (second)
‘Tended by Foxes’ by Ngiare Elliot (third)


‘Leaving Elvis’ by Michelle Michau-Crawford (winner)
‘The Five Truths of Manhood’ by Rebekah Clarkson (joint second, Reader’s Choice)
‘The Accident’ by Kim Mahood (joint second)


‘Aokigahara’ by Jennifer Down (winner)
'The Art of Life' by Faith Oxenbridge (second, New Zealand)
‘Doisneau’s Kiss’ by Cate Kennedy (third)


‘The Elector of Nossnearly’ by Rob Magnuson-Smith (winner, UK/US)
'Borges and I' by Michelle Cahill (second)
‘Crest’ by Harriet McKnight (third)


‘Glisk’ by Josephine Rowe (winner)
‘Ash’ by Anthony Lawrence (second)
‘The Water Calligrapher’s Women’ by Jonathan Tel (third, UK)


‘Pheidippides’ by Eliza Robertson (winner, Canada)
‘The Leaching Layer’  by Dominic Amerena (second)
‘Butter’ by Lauren Aimee Curtis (third)


‘Ruins’ by Madelaine Lucas (winner, US/AUS)
‘Between the Mountain and the Sea’ by Sharmini Aphrodite (second, Singapore)
‘Vasco’ by Claire Aman (third)


'The Point-Blank Murder' by Sonja Dechian (winner)
'Miracle Windows' by Raaza Jamshed (second)
'Rubble Boy' by Morgan Nunan (third)


Calibre Essay Prize

Since 2007 ABR has awarded the Calibre Essay Prize to seventeen writers (the prize was shared in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011). Calibre was internationalised in 2015 and as with all our prizes it is judged blind. Since 2010 the Calibre Prize has been won by nine men and eight women. The winning authors are listed below. In 2017 ABR introduced a second prize and this has been won by two women and one man. Find out more about the past winners of the Calibre Prize via our Past Winners page

Calibre Prize winners


'An die Nachgeborenen: For Those Who Come After' by Elisabeth Holdsworth


'Reaching One Thousand' by Rachel Robertson
'A Storm and a Teacup' by Mark Tredinnick


‘“What’re yer looking at yer fuckin’ dog”: Violence and Fear in Žižek’s Post-political Neighbourhood’ by Kevin Brophy
‘Footprints’ by Jane Goodall


'On being Odd' by Lorna Hallahan
'Seeing Truganini' by David Hansen


‘The Death of the Writer' by Dean Biron
'Who Killed Matilda?'by Moira McKinnon


'Body and Soul: Copyright and Law Enforcement in the Age of the Electronic Book' by Matt Rubinstein


'"Because it's your country": Bringing Back the Bones to West Arnhem Land' by Martin Thomas


'Unearthing the Past' by Christine Piper


'Staying with the trouble' by Sophie Cunningham


'The Great Red Whale' by Michael Winkler


‘Salt Blood' by Michael Adams
'To Speak of Sorrow' by Darius Sepehri (runner-up)


'We Three Hundred' by Lucas Grainger-Brown
'Once Again' by Kirsten Tranter (runner-up)


'Nah Doongh's Song' by Grace Karskens
'Floundering' by Sarah Walker (runner-up)


Peter Porter Poetry Prize

Since 2005 ABR has awarded the Peter Porter Poetry Prize to nineteen writers (the prize was shared in 2011, 2017, and 2019). Eighty-six poems have been shortlisted for the prize. As with all our prizes the Porter Prize is judged blind. Since 2010 ABR has shortlisted forty-five poems by men and forty-one poems by women. Since the prize was internationalised in 2014 we have shortlisted six writers from overseas. The winners and shortlisted authors are listed below. Find out more about the past winners of the Porter Prize and read their poems via our Past Winners page.

Porter Prize shortlists


'Ventriloquist's Dummy' by Jennifer Harrison
'Man on the Moon' by Stephen Edgar (winner)
'Ubirr Rock' by Mark Tredinnick
'Storm' by Maria Takolander
'Headgear (a review)' by Sandra Hill 
'Low at the Edge of the Sands' by Kevin Gillam


'Mallee' by Lisa Gorton
'Braid' by J.S. Harry
'Boy' by Alex Skovron
'Still Life with Cockles and Shells' by Judith Bishop (winner)
'Back Roads, Local Roads' by Brendan Ryan
'Spiders' by Keith Harrison


'Sanctum' by Alex Skovron (winner)
'Full-Bucket Moon' by Ross Clark
'The Fledglings' by Robert Adamson
'The Fencer and His Mate' by Kathryn Lomer
'The Red Sea' by Stephen Edgar
'Guidance and Knowledge' by Anthony Lawrence


'(for the siblings)' by Kevin Gillam
'T/here' by Judith Bishop
'a full stop reaches the end of its sentence' by Nathan Shepherdson
'Danger: Lantana' by Ross Clark (winner)
'The Window' by Brenda Walker


'Yellow Jacket: Vespula maculifrons' by Rose Lucas
‘Lost Property’ by Tracy Ryan (winner)
'The Dark Zone' by Kathryn Lomer
'The Storm Glass' by Lisa Gorton
'The Reed Pen' by Angela Mahone
'The Aquarium' by Judith Beveridge


'Taken as Required' by Ynez Sanz
'The Hummingbird Suite' by Diane Fahey
'Here Come the Missionaries' by Philip Salom
'Estuary' by Jillian Pattinson
'Domestic Emergencies' by Anthony Lawrence (winner)


'Self-Portrait at Sixty' by Tony Lintermans (joint winner)
'Dreams and Artefacts' by Lisa Gorton
'Moonlight Sculptures' by Stephen Edgar
'Openings' by Judith Bishop (joint winner)


'Provenance' by Gareth Robinson
'Bayside Suburban' by Anne Elvey
'Beautiful Mother' by Michael Farrell (winner)
'After Devotion' by Annamaria Weldon
'Oscillations' by Toby Fitch


'Prophecy' by Nathan Curnow
'Big Wig' by A. Frances Johnson
'Four Sonnets' by John A. Scott (winner)
'procedures in aesthetics' by Dan Disney
'Bushfire Approaching' by John Kinsella.


'VFGA' by Paul Kane (US)
'Absence' by Elizabeth Allen
'Scenes from the Olivet Discourse' by Nathan Curnow
'Arrival Platform Humlet' by Jessica L. Wilkinson (winner).


'As Wasps Fly Upward' by Judith Beveridge (winner)
'Vantage' by Eileen Chong
'Janus' by Toby Fitch
'Floribunda' by John Kinsella
'When/Was' by Kate Middleton
'Pitch and Yaw' by Alex Skovron.


'Tailings' by Amanda Joy (winner),
'... a passing shower?' by Dan Disney
'Prelude to a Voice' by Anne Elvey
'Rage to Order' by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet (USA)
'Lament for "Cape" Kennedy' by Campbell Thomson.


'Sentence to Lilacs' by Louis Klee (joint winner)
'pH' by Damen O'Brien (joint winner)
'Four Egrets' by Ronald Dzerigian (USA)
'Laika' by Anthony Lawrence
'Drone'  by Michael Lee Phillips (USA)
'The Snow Lies Deep' by Jen Saunders
'and it is what it is' by Jessie Tu


'Compass' by Eileen Chong
'Decoding Paul Klee’s Mit Grünen Strümpfen (With Green Stockings) 1939' by Katherine Healy
'The Abstract Blue Background' by LK Holt
'breather' by Tracey Slaughter (second place, New Zealand)
'101, Taipei' by Nicholas Wong (winner, Hong Kong)


'63 Temple St, Mong Kok' by Belle Ling (joint winner, Qld/Hong Kong)
'Searching the Dead' by Andy Kissane (joint winner)
'Dancing with Stephen Hawking' by John Foulcher
'The Mirror Hurlers' by Ross Gillett
'Raven' by Mark Tredinnick


'Precision Signs' by Lachlan Brown 
'That Wadjela Tongue' by Claire G. Coleman 
'South Coast Sonnets' by Ross Gillett
 'My Father's Thesaurus' by Frances Johnson (winner)
'Constellation of Bees' by Julie Manning



From Prize to Publication

Many past ABR prize shortlisted entrants have gone on to publish full-length works (novels, short story collections, films etc) based on, or including, their shortlisted or winning works. We have listed some of these below.


Leaving Elvis by Michelle Michau Crawford
Pulse Points by Jennifer Down
Barking Dogs by Rebekah Clarkson
The Double by Maria Takolander
Those Who Come After by Elisabeth Holdsworth
Reaching One Thousand by Rachel Robertson
City of Trees by Sophie Cunningham
Olive Cotton by Helen Ennis
Here Until August by Josephine Rowe


Etched in Bone Martin Thomas



Editorial note

The statistics listed above are correct as at January 2020. The information on this page will continue to be updated and expanded over time.