Competitions and programs (77)

Payment Complete – Peter Porter Poetry Prize

30 July 2020 Written by Australian Book Review

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

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

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.

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.

2020 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize

06 December 2019 Written by Australian Book Review

Australian Book Review is delighted to announce the shortlist for this year’s ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, worth a total of $12,500. This year’s Jolley Prize received a record field of 1450 entries from 34 countries, and was judged by Gregory Day, Josephine Rowe, and Ellen van Neerven.

ABR will publish the three shortlisted stories in the 2020 August Fiction Issue. Details are listed below on how to attend a Zoom ceremony on August 13, when we will announce the winner.

Congratulations to the shortlisted entrants, and we thank all those who submitted their stories to the Jolley Prize.


The Shortlist

C.J. Garrow for 'Egg Timer'

CJ GarrowC.J. Garrow is a Melbourne writer whose fiction has been shortlisted for international prizes including the Fish Prize (Ireland) and the George Garrett Fiction Prize (USA). ‘Egg Timer’ is his first published work of fiction.






Simone Hollander for 'Hieroglyph'

Simone HollanderSimone Hollander is a writer from Monterey Bay, California. Her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington was completed on independent study from Dublin, Ireland. She has won prizes for her short fiction and creative non-fiction, and has served as a delegate on a writers’ cultural exchange to China. Her work can be found in PageBoy Magazine, The Weeklings, The Seattle Review, The Dublin Quarterly, and other literary niches. Simone has worked in public, private, and university libraries. She lives with her family, animals, the mountains, in Longmont, Colorado. She is writing a novel.



Mykaela Saunders for 'River Story'

Mykaela SaundersMykaela 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.



Highly commended

'Lucky Charms' by Jennifer Down (VIC, Australia)
'I Believe' by V. Sanjay Kumar (India) 
'Wait for Me' by Jasmin McGaughey (QLD, Australia) 
'Two Africas' by Jean McNeil (UK)  
'Bedford Jeune' by Lauren Sarazen (France) 



Join us to announce the winner

The winner will be announced at a Zoom ceremony on August 13. The event will feature readings from all the shortlisted authors, with ABR then announcing the winner. This is a free public event and all are welcome, but bookings are essential. A Zoom access link will be sent out prior to the event. 

When: 6 for 6.15 pm on Thursday, 13 August 2020
Where: A Zoom ceremony. An access link will be sent out before the event.
Bookings: This is a free public event and all are welcome, but bookings are essential.
How to book: Register your attendance by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


ABR gratefully acknowledges Ian Dickson's generous support for the Jolley Prize.

Win a holiday in India with Abercrombie & Kent!

27 November 2019 Written by Australian Book Review

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 RanthamboreUdaipur, 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. 

2020 Calibre Essay Prize Judges

08 October 2019 Written by Australian Book Review

John CoetzeeJ.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 GortonLisa 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 RosePeter 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).





Winner | 2019 Jolley Prize | Sonja Dechian for 'The Point-Blank Murder'

11 September 2019 Written by Australian Book Review

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 (photograph supplied)Sonja Dechian (photograph supplied)

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.