Competitions and programs (75)
Prize money: $10,000
Opens: 15 July 2020
Closes: 1 October 2020
Judges: To be confirmed.
Australian Book Review is delighted to announce the upcoming Peter Porter Poetry Prize, which will be open for entries on 15 July 2020. The Porter Prize, for the first time, will be worth a total of AU$10,000 – with a first prize of $6,000.
Entries must be an original single-authored poem of not more than 70 lines written in English. Poems must not have been previously published.
Porter Prize is one of Australia’s most lucrative and respected poetry awards. It honours the life and work of the great Australian poet Peter Porter (1929–2010), an honoured contributor to ABR for many years. All poets writing in English are eligible to enter.
Click here for more information about past winners and to read their poems.
Online entry (current ABR subscriber) - $15
Online entry (full-time student) - $15
Online entry (standard/non subscriber) - $25*
- Non-subscribers will receive digital access to ABR free of charge for four months.
Special online entry + subscription bundles
Subsequent entries may be submitted at the subscriber rate
Online entry + digital ABR subscription - $65
Online entry + Print subscription (Australia) - $100
Online entry + Print subscription (NZ and Asia) - $170
Online entry + Print subscription (Rest of World) - $185
We gratefully acknowledge the long-standing support of Morag Fraser AM and Andrew Taylor AM.
Yves Rees is the winner of the 2020 Calibre Essay Prize, worth a total of $7,500, for their essay ‘Reading the Mess Backwards’. As Rees writes, the essay is ‘a story of trans becoming that digs into the messiness of bodies, gender and identity’. Yves Rees receives $5,000.
Kate Middleton was named runner-up for ‘The Dolorimeter’, a highly personal account of the author’s experience with illness. She receives $2,500.
ABR Editor Peter Rose judged the Prize with J.M. Coetzee (Nobel Laureate) and Lisa Gorton, (poet, novelist, and essayist). They chose Yves Rees's winning essay from almost 600 entries from twenty-nine different countries, a record field.
‘Reading the Mess Backwards’ appears in the June-July 2020 issue. We look forward to publishing Kate Middleton's essay 'The Dolorimeter' in the August 2020 issue.
Yves Rees on ‘Reading the Mess Backwards’
Having come out as transgender aged thirty-one, I re-examine my youth in light of this new knowledge. 'Reading the Mess Backwards' explores how we come to understand and perform our gender in a world of restrictive binaries and male dominance. By insisting upon the slippery nature of gendered identity, the essay questions what means to be 'male' or 'female' – and raises the possibility of being something else altogether.
Yves Rees on winning the Calibre Prize
I am honoured to be awarded the Calibre Prize, especially given the large field this year. In my essay, I’ve sketched the kind of narrative I hungered to read: a story of trans becoming that digs into the messiness of bodies, gender and identity. My hope is that, as such stories proliferate, we will all – men and women, cisgender and trans – be liberated from the prison of patriarchy, with its suffocating gender binary. The recognition afforded by the Calibre Prize is an important step in that struggle.
In addition, the judges commended five essays, and we look forward to publishing some of them in coming months. They are:
- Sue Cochius: ‘Mrs Mahomet’
- Julian Davies: ‘A Small Boy and Cambodia’
- Mireille Juchau: ‘Only One Refused’
- Laura Kolbe: ‘Human Women, Magic Flutes’
- Meredith Wattison: ‘Ambivalence: The Afterlife of Patrick White’
About Yves Rees
Dr Yves Rees is a writer and historian living on unceded Wurundjeri land. At present, Yves is a Lecturer in History at La Trobe University and co-host of the history podcast Archive Fever. Yves has published widely across Australian gender, transnational and economic history, and also writes on transgender identity and politics. Yves is a regular contributor to ABC Radio and The Conversation.
About Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton is an Australian writer. She is the author of the poetry collections Fire Season (Giramondo, 2009), awarded the Western Australian Premier’s Award for Poetry in 2009 and Ephemeral Waters (Giramondo, 2013), shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s award in 2014. From September 2011 to September 2012 she was the inaugural Sydney City Poet.
We look forward to offering the Calibre Essay Prize again in 2021.
ABR gratefully acknowledges the generous support from Colin Golvan AM QC, and Peter McLennan and Mary-Ruth Sindrey, whose donations make the Calibre Essay Prize possible in this form.
Gregory Day is a novelist, poet, and composer from the Eastern Otways region of southwest Victoria, Australia. His latest novel A Sand Archive was shortlisted for the 2019 Miles Franklin Award and his essay 'Summer on The Painkalac' was also shortlisted for the 2019 Nature Conservancy Nature Writing Prize. Day is a winner of the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal and was joint winner of the 2011 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize for 'The Neighbour's Beans'.
Josephine Rowe is the author of three story collections and a novel, A Loving, Faithful Animal (2016). She is a fellow of the Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford University, and her writing has appeared in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Meanjin, Literary Hub, The Monthly, Granta, and elsewhere. Rowe's short story ‘Glisk’ won the 2016 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. Her new story collection, Here Until August, is published by Black Inc.
Ellen van Neerven (born in Meanjin (Brisbane) in 1990) is an award-winning writer and editor of Mununjali Yugambeh (South East Queensland) and Dutch heritage. Ellen’s first book, Heat and Light, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry, Comfort Food, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize and highly commended for the 2016 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. Throat is Ellen’s second poetry collection, a May 2020 release.
A. Frances Johnson is the winner of the 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize, worth a total of $9,000. This was announced at a ceremony at the Boyd Hub Community Center in Melbourne on January 16.
A. Frances Johnson's winning poem is titled 'My Father's Thesaurus'. She receives $7,000, while the four other shortlisted poets each receive $500. The full shortlist, including the winning poem, is available to read online and is published in the January–February issue of ABR.
This year’s judges – John Hawke, Bronwyn Lea, and Philip Mead – shortlisted five poems from almost 1,050 entries, from 30 countries. The shortlisted poets were Lachlan Brown (NSW), Claire G. Coleman (Vic.), Ross Gillett (Vic.), A. Frances Johnson (Vic. ), and Julie Manning (QLD).
Congratulations to A. Frances Johnson and to all the poets shortlisted and longlisted in the 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize.
In their report the judges noted:
‘This year’s record field demonstrates both the depth and stylistic range evident in this vital area of our literature. The poems were notable for the currency of their engagement with social issues. “My Father’s Thesaurus” by A. Frances Johnson is an unsentimental yet emotive portrayal of the situation of the elderly and their carers.’
On learning of her win, Johnson commented:
‘It was a complete honour to stand shoulder to shoulder with the fine poets on the Peter Porter Prize shortlist. These encouragements for writers in the current cultural and political climate cannot be underestimated. They spur us on to do more, to speak up. I hope my poem honours my late father, Tom, and offers a small bridge to others who have suffered or who are experiencing the terrible affliction of Alzheimer’s. I acknowledge the great work of other Australian poets on dementia topics (Sarah Holland-Batt, Jessica Wilkinson, and others). Terrible mega-fires currently afflict us on the outside, but this illness is a bushfire inside the brain, impossible to contain, still under-resourced. Despite the confusions and word salads, in Dad’s last months we were lucky that there were still ways of finding him, being with him, holding him. I know others have gleaned similar precious communication with loved ones in the last stages of this terrible disease, though sadly, it may not work out that way. Poetry and of course music are often used in aged-care settings to enable sufferers to de-scramble, to maintain a hold on language. Poetry has certainly helped me hold Dad close.’
About A. Frances Johnson
A. Frances Johnson is a writer and artist. She has published three collections of poetry. A fourth collection, Save As, is forthcoming (Puncher & Wattmann, 2020). Her recent collection, Rendition for Harp and Kalashnikov (Puncher & Wattmann, 2017) was shortlisted in the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature Best New Writing Award and, in 2017, she took up an Australia Council B.R. Whiting Fellowship to Rome. A novel, Eugene’s Falls (Arcadia 2007), retraces the Victorian journeys of colonial painter Eugene von Guérard. A new novel in progress, The Lost Garden, explores first-contact histories in remote Southern Tasmania, evoking early horticultural attempts to colonise by seed. A monograph, Australian Fiction as Archival Salvage, was published by Brill in 2015.
The Peter Porter Poetry Prize is one of Australia’s most prestigious poetry awards.
We gratefully acknowledge the long-standing support of Morag Fraser AM and Andrew Taylor AM.
Entries have now closed for the 2020 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, worth a total of AU$12,500.
Join us for a Jolley Prize Zoom ceremony on August 13, when the shortlisted authors will read their stories and the overall winner will be announced. Registration details will be released shortly.
The Jolley Prize is open to all short story writers writing in English. We seek original short stories of between 2,000 and 5,000 words.
First place will receive $6,000, second place will receive $4,000, and third place will receive $2,500.
Please read our Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us with queries about the Jolley Prize.
Before entering the Jolley Prize, all entrants must read the Terms and Conditions.
Entries may be offered elsewhere during the judging of the Jolley Prize. If an entrant is longlisted and has their story offered elsewhere, the entrant will have 24 hours to decide if they wish to withdraw their story on offer elsewhere or from the Jolley Prize. Exclusivity is essential for longlisted stories to remain in contention for shortlisting. The three shortlisted stories will be published in the Fiction issue of the magazine in August or September 2020, with the overall winner to be announced later in the month of publication.
Jolley Prize entry (current ABR subscriber) - $15
Jolley Prize entry (full-time student) - $15
Jolley Prize entry (standard/non subscriber) - $25*
* Non-subscribers will receive a digital subscription to ABR free of charge for four months from entry.
Special online entry + one-year subscription bundles
Subsequent entries may be submitted at the subscriber rate
Jolley Prize entry + digital subscription - $65
Jolley Prize entry + Print subscription (Australia) - $100
Jolley Prize entry + Print subscription (NZ and Asia) - $150
Jolley Prize entry + Print subscription (Rest of World) - $170
To keep up to date with ABR prizes and news, sign up to our newsletters.
ABR gratefully acknowledges Ian Dickson's generous support for the Jolley Prize.
Update from Australian Book Review - March 2020
Thank you for your many interesting and thoughtful contributions to the Passage to India competition. In the circumstances, ABR and our partner Abercrombie & Kent think it would be incongruous to announce the winner at this stage, when international travel is moot at best and when such grave issues are uppermost in everyone’s mind. We will name the winner in coming weeks.
About the competition
In a first for Australian Book Review, we are delighted to be partnering with luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent to offer one lucky ABR subscriber the chance to win a ten-day adventure for two in India worth up to AU$8,250. The prize is Abercrombie & Kent’s 'Essential India’ tour, a seven-day private journey from Delhi to Agra to Jaipur, staying in luxury Taj hotels throughout, plus the winner’s choice of a three-day extension to either Ranthambore, Udaipur, or Varanasi.
To be in the running to win this magnificent prize, subscribers needed to tell us – in fifty to one hundred words – about a book that has inspired them to travel, or to dream of travelling.
Entry for this competition has now closed.
Terms and Conditions apply and can be found here. By entering this promotion you agree that you have read the Terms and Conditions and will abide by them.
J.M. Coetzee was born in South Africa and educated in South Africa and the United States. He has published nineteen works of fiction, as well as criticism and translations. Among awards he has won are the Booker Prize (twice) and, in 2003, the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is currently Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide.
Lisa Gorton, who lives in Melbourne, is a poet, novelist, and critic, and a former Poetry Editor of ABR. She studied at the Universities of Melbourne and Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar, she completed a Masters in Renaissance Literature and a Doctorate on John Donne at Oxford University. Her review essays and poetry have appeared in ABR since 2002. Her first poetry collection, Press Release (2007), won the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Poetry. She has also been awarded the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize and the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal. Lisa’s novel The Life of Houses (2015) shared the 2016 Prime Minister’s Award for fiction and received the NSW Premier’s People’s Choice Award. Her third poetry collection Empirical appeared with Giramondo in 2019.
Peter Rose has been Editor of Australian Book Review since 2001. Previously he was a publisher at Oxford University Press. His reviews and essays have appeared mostly in ABR. He has published six books of poetry, two novels, and a family memoir, Rose Boys (Text Publishing), which won the 2003 National Biography Award. He edited the 2007 and 2008 editions of The Best Australian Poems (Black Inc.). His most recent publication is a volume of poems, The Subject of Feeling (UWA Publishing, 2015).
2019 Jolley Prize Winner: Sonja Dechian
ABR is delighted to announce that Sonja Dechian is the overall winner of the 2019 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize for her story ‘The Point-Blank Murder’. Sonja Dechian receives $5,000. Raaza Jamshed was placed second for her story 'Miracle Windows', and Morgan Nunan was placed third for his story 'Rubble Boy'. We would like to congratulate all three shortlisted entrants and thank all those who entered their stories in the Jolley Prize.
The ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize is one of the country’s most prestigious awards for short fiction. This year the Jolley Prize attracted almost 1,400 entries from 35 different countries. The judges were Maxine Beneba Clarke, John Kinsella, and Beejay Silcox. The three shortlisted stories appear in our September Fiction 2018 issue.
About Sonja Dechian
Sonja Dechian is the author of the short story collection An Astronaut’s Life, which won the 2016 UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing and was shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award the same year. Her writing has previously appeared in The Best Australian Stories, New Australian Stories 2, and elsewhere. She has co-edited two books of children’s writing about the Australian refugee experience, No Place Like Home and Dark Dreams.
What is Australian Book Review?
Australian Book Review (ABR) is one of Australia’s leading cultural magazines. Created in 1961, it lapsed in 1974 and was revived in 1978. ABR is a fully independent non-profit organisation. Its primary aims are several: to foster high critical standards; to provide an outlet for fine new writing; and to contribute to the preservation of literary values and a full appreciation of Australia’s literary heritage.
ABR publishes reviews, essays, commentaries, interviews, and new creative writing. It is available in print and online. ABR’s diverse programs include three prestigious international prizes, writers’ fellowships, themed issues, national events, cultural tours, and paid editorial internships.
What is the ABR Fellowship program?
ABR Fellowships are intended to reward outstanding Australian writers, to enhance ABR through the publication of long-form journalism, and to advance the magazine’s commitment to ideas and critical debate. The Fellows work closely with ABR staff, especially the Editor, Peter Rose.
Who can apply for the 2019 ABR Indigenous Fellowship?
The Fellowship is open to emerging and established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers: journalists, commentators, scholars, activists, and creative writers. ABR staff and Board members are ineligible.
Are the Fellowships themed?
Some are, some aren’t. This Fellowship – restricted to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writers – is intended to advance ABR’s Indigenous content.
Is this a purely academic Fellowship?
Not at all. We welcome applications from a broad range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers: journalists, commentators, scholars, activists, creative writers, etc. ABR is not an academic journal. We seek engaging, creative non-fiction journalism of the kind you will find in The New Yorker or the London Review of Books. Links to essays by past Fellows can be found here.
Are you looking for finished articles from applicants?
No. In your application, we seek only cogent proposals for non-fiction articles which will be developed over the course of the Fellowship, in collaboration with the Editor. Unlike the Calibre Essay Prize, the submission for the Fellowship program is not for finished works.
How much are the Fellowships worth?
The Fellow will receive a total of $10,000, payable thus: $4,000 on announcement of the Fellowship; and two further payments of $3,000 on publication of the final two contributions to the magazine.
I don’t know anything about ABR. May I still apply?
Applicants must demonstrate familiarity with the magazine. Applicants who do not refer to the magazine in their applications, or who don’t demonstrate awareness of ABR’s needs and directions, are unlikely to be successful.
Is it possible to write the article with a friend or colleague?
No. Single-author works only.
How do I apply?
Please note applications have now closed for the ABR Indigenous Fellowship
Applicants must read the guidelines of the Fellowship for which they are interested in applying and send us a succinct but comprehensive proposal (three pages maximum), plus a CV of no more than three pages and two short writing samples. The proposal should cover the following: the likely nature/scope/genre of at least two of the three proposed articles; why they want to work with the magazine; and why they believe their contributions will enhance ABR and its readership. Applicants should also nominate two professional/literary referees.
There is no application fee.
Note that we are looking for proposals – not finished articles or chapters.
How are Fellows selected?
The ABR Indigenous Fellowship will be awarded by Australian Book Review on the advice of a panel including Noongar author Kim Scott; Director of the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Professor Lynette Russell; and ABR Editor, Peter Rose. Shortlisted applicants will attend an interview in person or via Skype. No correspondence will be entered into once the decision has been announced. ABR reserves the right not to award the Fellowship.
Are the ABR Fellows expected to complete their projects at the ABR office in Melbourne?
No. Most of the editorial contact is via email or the telephone. Some meetings may be desirable during the course of the Fellowship. These are important collaborative partnerships between the magazine and the Fellow.
What kind of editorial support do Fellows enjoy?
ABR Fellows enjoy a special status at the magazine – as our senior contributors. The Fellow will work with the Editor closely throughout the Fellowship. We edit promptly, closely, and respectfully. ABR is committed to presenting the Fellow’s work with the utmost finesse. The Editor is always available to discuss the project, to respond to ideas, and to read drafts. Peter Rose edits the articles in consultation with the Fellows, and each article is then proofread by at least three editors.
Where are the Fellowship articles published?
In the print and digital editions of ABR.
Would ABR Fellows be required to take part in the promotion of the published article?
Yes, but this may be able to be done remotely.
If articles are syndicated in newspapers (with the Fellow’s permission), the Fellow and ABR will each receive 50%.
Update from Australian Book Review - April 2020
Thank you to all those who submitted applications for the ABR Indigenous Fellowship. The assessment of applications is still underway and we thank you for your patience and understanding. We hope to be able to make an announcement in coming weeks.
Australian Book Review is delighted to announce the ABR Indigenous Fellowship, worth a total of $10,000. This Fellowship – generously funded by the ABR Patrons – aims to help develop and promote vibrant new non-fiction journalism by an emerging or established Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writer. The selected Fellow will be provided $10,000 to assist the Fellow develop three non-fiction articles to be published in print and online with ABR over the course of twelve months.
Please note applications have now closed for the ABR Indigenous Fellowship.
The ABR Indigenous Fellowship will be judged by a panel comprising two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Noongar author Kim Scott; Director of the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre and Guest Editor of the August Indigenous issue, Professor Lynette Russell; and ABR Editor, Peter Rose.
‘This Indigenous-themed issue of ABR marks the start of an annual tradition. It represents a deepening of the relationship between Monash University, in particular, the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre and ABR. The creation of the ABR Indigenous Fellowship is a welcome extension of this focus.’
Professor Lynette Russell
For more information about the ABR Indigenous Fellowship, please read our Application Guidelines below and our Frequently Asked Questions.
What is the Australian Book Review Indigenous Fellowship?
The ABR Indigenous Fellowship is intended to help an emerging or established Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writer develop three high-quality non-fiction articles for ABR over the course of twelve months.
Who can apply?
The Fellowship is open only to emerging and established Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writers: journalists, commentators, scholars, activists, and creative writers. ABR staff and Board members are ineligible. Please note applications have now closed for the ABR Indigenous Fellowship
What is ABR offering?
The Fellow will receive a total of $10,000, payable thus – $4,000 on announcement of the Fellowship and two further payments of $3,000 on publication of the final two contributions to the magazine. The Fellow will work closely with the Editor of ABR throughout the year.
ABR is seeking a suite of brilliant non-fiction writing from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writer. The Fellow will produce three substantial non-fiction articles, in English, for publication in ABR. These can be review essays, commentaries, or interviews – or a combination of all three genres. Each contribution will about 3,000 words or longer. The features (agreed on with the ABR Editor) will be staggered over twelve months. The articles will appear in the print and online editions of ABR. The Fellow will be available for media coverage and at least one literary/promotional event. The Fellow is not expected to complete the Fellowship at the ABR office in Melbourne.
Is the Fellowship only open to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writers?
Yes. Only Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writers can apply.
Familiarity with Australian Book Review
Applicants must demonstrate considerable familiarity with ABR – its style, its content, its direction. Visit our website for information about subscribing and/or about the magazine’s content and history.
The Fellow will be chosen by a panel comprising two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Noongar author Kim Scott; Director of the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Professor Lynette Russell; and ABR Editor, Peter Rose.
The panel will interview the shortlisted candidates in person or via Skype. We will name the Fellow in November. No correspondence will be entered into once the decision has been announced. ABR reserves the right not to award the Fellowship.
How to apply?
Applications have now closed for the ABR Indigenous Fellowship
ABR gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the ABR Patrons.
The ABR Fellowships are intended to reward fine writers and to advance the magazine's commitment to critical debate and long-form journalism.
Please read our list of Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us with a question about the ABR Fellowship program.