The inaugural University of Sydney People’s Choice Award is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as part of its recognition and support for a vibrant and thriving arts and literary culture in Australia. The award offers a cash prize of $5000, and the winner is voted for by readers who are residents of NSW from the fiction and nonfiction shortlists of the Premier’s Literary Awards.
“Literature is for everyone,” said Dr Beth Yahp, Director of the Master of Creative Writing in the School of Art, Communication and English, and Chair of the 2023 judges’ panel of the NSW Premier’s Christina Stead Award for Fiction.
“Literature belongs to readers and writers, as well as judges and critics," Dr Yahp said. "It’s wonderful that this award continues to offer readers the opportunity to discover new books and choose their favourite, while the new sponsorship enables the winning author to continue writing – or have a rest if that’s what they need.”
Among Australia’s richest and most prestigious awards for writers, illustrators and translators, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards is administered by the State Library of New South Wales. Established in 1979, the purpose of the awards, according to then Premier Neville Wran, was for the arts “to take their proper place in our social priorities. If governments treat writers and artists with respect and understanding, the community will be more likely to do the same."
The Master of Creative Writing at the University of Sydney is a program that is proud to encourage diversity and support new or emerging writers to find their voice, creativity, and achieve their writerly ambitions. Through a lively program of literary and industry events and fellowships, Creative Writing and English Studies students and staff form a community of writers and scholars who share skills, inspiration and industry exposure. Graduates continue to thrive in roles such as published authors, editors, journalists, and in publishing, some going on to win major literary prizes such as the Penguin Literary Award (Annette Higgs, 2022), the David Unaipon Award (Mykaela Saunders, 2022) and the Stella Prize (Evelyn Araluen, 2022). Find out more about the Master of Creative Writing here.
The University of Sydney People’s Choice Award aligns with Creative Writing at Sydney by highlighting the importance of creativity and literacy, encouraging everyone to enjoy exciting new books by contemporary Australian writers.
Last year’s People’s Choice winner, novelist Katherine Brabon, who won for her novel The Shut Ins, said the sponsorship was of huge value to writers.
“I’m really pleased to hear that the People's Choice Award in this year’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards now has sponsorship for prize money. It’s a wonderful award: being chosen by the public, knowing your work has been recognised in this way, is such an honour. Awards are about far more than money, but in a very practical sense, winning an award can help a writer at any stage of their career. Prize money has bought me precious time to write; paid for rent and food and healthcare so I could dedicate myself to writing.”
This People’s Choice Award was established in 2009 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the awards. Past winners include Gail Jones, Charlotte Wood, Tara June Winch and Trent Dalton, whose novel Boy Swallows Universe went on to be made into a play by Queensland Theatre Company and a film for Netflix.
The 2023 shortlisted writers include: Helen Garner, Chloe Hooper, Grace Chan, Katerina Gibson, Edwina Preston, Jessica Au and Jeff Sparrow.
Jane McCredie, 2023 Senior Judge, commented: “The shortlisted writers inspire, move and provoke us, bringing insight and skill to the rich array of stories they tell. It’s exciting to see so many first-time authors represented this year, a testament to the strength and diversity of our literary culture.”
Now is your turn to vote and enter the draw for a chance to win two book packs: Vote now
Voting closes on Friday 14 April 2023.
Winners announced 22 May 2023.
Declaration: The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards are presented by the NSW Government and administered by the State Library of NSW in association with Create NSW. The $5000 sponsorship of The University of Sydney People’s Choice Award is from The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.