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Australian Book Review is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. ABR is also supported by: the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland; the South Australian Government through Arts South Australia; and the Government of Western Australia through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

We also acknowledge the generous support of university partner, Monash University, and we are grateful for the support of Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund, Eucalypt Australia, the City of Melbourne, and Arnold Bloch Leibler.

ABR’s online readers have an option to purchase books direct from Booktopia, the Australian-owned online bookstore. Our aim here is to assist Australian authors and publishers and to facilitate prompt orders and delivery. ABR receives a small percentage of resultant sales through Booktopia’s Affiliate Program – a welcome contribution to revenue at a difficult time.

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Winner | 2020 Jolley Prize | Mykaela Saunders for 'River Story'

13 August 2020 Written by Australian Book Review

2020 Jolley Prize Winner: Mykaela Saunders

ABR is delighted to announce that Mykaela Saunders is the overall winner of the 2020 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize for her story ‘River Story’. Mykaela Saunders receives $6,000. C.J. Garrow was placed second for his story 'Egg Timer', and Simone Hollander was placed third for her story 'Hieroglyph'. 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 1,450 entries from 34 different countries. The judges were Gregory Day, Josephine Rowe, and Ellen van Neerven. The three shortlisted stories appear in our August Fiction issue.


About Mykaela Saunders

Mykaela Saunders (photograph supplied)

Mykaela Saunders is a Koori writer, teacher, and community researcher. Of Dharug and Lebanese ancestry, she’s working-class and queer, and belongs to the Tweed Aboriginal community. Mykaela has worked in Aboriginal education since 2003, and her research explores trans-generational trauma and healing in her community. Mykaela began writing fiction and poetry in 2017, as part of her Doctor of Arts degree at the University of Sydney. Her work has since been published across forms and disciplines, placed in writing prizes, and attracted funding and fellowships.

An update from ABR

06 August 2020 Written by Australian Book Review
Published in Information

ABR’s office remains open each day, with reduced staff. We can receive deliveries, but couriers need to ring us from outside the Boyd Community Hub – (03) 9699 6622. We encourage subscribers, donors, and prize entrants to consult the website rather than phoning the office and to send emails to the relevant staff member whenever possible (see below).

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Payment Complete – Peter Porter Poetry Prize

30 July 2020 Written by Australian Book Review

Thank you for entering the Peter Porter Poetry Prize.

If you created a new account to enter, you can now sign in with the Username and Password you entered. Simply click 'Sign In' in the top left-hand corner to enter your details. We hope you enjoy reading our extensive archive going back to 1978.

If you wish to submit another entry to the Porter Prize, click here to return to the entry form. Remember to first sign in with your new ABR account before entering multiple entries.

2021 Porter Prize Judges

14 July 2020 Written by Australian Book Review

Lachlan Brown 800x500 monoLachlan Brown is a senior lecturer in English at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. He is the author of Limited Cities (Giramondo, 2012) and Lunar Inheritance (Giramondo, 2017). Lachlan has been shortlisted and commended for various poetry prizes including the Mary Gilmore Prize, the Newcastle Poetry Prize, the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and the Macquarie Fields Poetry Prize. Lachlan is currently the vice-president of Booranga Writers Centre in Wagga Wagga. His poem 'Precision Signs' was shortlisted in the 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. 


John HawkeJohn Hawke is a Senior Lecturer, specialising in poetry, at Monash University. His books include Australian Literature and the Symbolist Movement, Poetry and the Trace (co-edited with Ann Vickery), and the volume of poetry Aurelia, which received the 2015 Anne Elder award. He is ABR's Poetry Editor.



A. Frances JohnsonA Frances Johnson is a writer, artist, and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Her fourth poetry collection, Save As, is forthcoming from Puncher & Wattmann. A previous collection, Rendition for Harp and Kalashnikov (Puncher & Wattmann, 2017), was shortlisted in the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature Best New Writing Award. Other books include the novel Eugene's Falls (Arcadia, 2007), which retraces the journeys of colonial painter Eugene von Guérard, and a monograph, Australian Fiction as Archival Salvage (Brill, 2015). Her poem ‘My Father’s Thesaurus’ won the 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize.


John Kinsella 240John Kinsella is the author of over forty books. His most recent publications include Displaced: A rural memoir (2020), The Weave (with Thurston Moore, 2020), and Insomnia (2020). His poetry collections have won a variety of awards, including the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Poetry and the Christopher Brennan Award for Poetry. His volumes of stories include In the Shade of the Shady Tree (Ohio University Press, 2012), Crow’s Breath (Transit Lounge, 2015), and Old Growth (Transit Lounge, 2017). He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and Professor of Literature and Environment at Curtin University. With Tracy Ryan he is the co-editor of The Fremantle Press Anthology of The Western Australian Poetry (2017). He lives with his family in the Western Australian wheatbelt. 

2021 Peter Porter Poetry Prize

19 June 2020 Written by Australian Book Review

First prize: $AU$6,000

Four other shortlisted poets: $AU$1,000

Closes: 11:59 pm, 1 October 2020

Judges: Lachlan Brown, John Hawke, A. Frances Johnson, and John Kinsella

 Australian Book Review welcomes entries for the seventeenth Peter Porter Poetry Prize, which is open to all international poets from 15 July 2020. This year the Porter Prize is worth a total of AU$10,000 – with a first prize of $6,000 – and will be open until midnight 1 October 2020.

Entries must be an original single-authored poem of not more than 70 lines written in English. Poems must not have been previously published or on offer to other prizes or publications for the duration of the Porter Prize. The five shortlisted poems will be published in the January–February 2021 issue and the winner will be announced at a ceremony later that month.

The Peter Porter Poetry  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.

Before entering the Porter Prize, all poets must read the Terms and Conditions. Please read our Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us with queries about the Porter Prize.


Entry fees

Online entry (current ABR subscriber) - $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) - $190
Online entry + Print subscription (Rest of World) - $210

We gratefully acknowledge the long-standing support of Morag Fraser AM and Andrew Taylor AM.

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2020 Calibre Essay Prize winner: Yves Rees

01 June 2020 Written by Australian Book Review

Yves Rees (photograph by Susan Papazian)Yves Rees (photograph by Susan Papazian)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.

Further information

pdfMedia release

Subscribe to ABR to gain access to this issue, plus the ABR archive.

Click here for more information about past winners and to read their essays.

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.

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2020 Jolley Prize Judges

20 January 2020 Written by Australian Book Review

Maxine Beneba Clarke colour cropped

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 (photograph by Derek Shapton)

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 ConcernMeanjinLiterary HubThe MonthlyGranta, 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 (photograph by Anna Jacobson)

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.

2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize winner

17 January 2020 Written by Australian Book Review

A. Frances Johnson REVISED 2020 PORTER PRIZEA. Frances JohnsonA. 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.

Further information

The Peter Porter Poetry Prize is one of Australia’s most prestigious poetry awards.

Subscribe to ABR to gain access to this issue online, plus the ABR archive.

Click here for more information about past winners.

We gratefully acknowledge the long-standing support of Morag Fraser AM and Andrew Taylor AM.