Longlists for the 21st Kibble and Dobbie Literary Awards (the Awards) were announced last week. Congratulations to all longlisted authors!

Presented annually, The Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers comprise two awards:

  • The Kibble Literary Award (currently valued at $30,000) recognises an established Australian author
  • The Dobbie Literary Award (currently valued at $5,000) recognises a first published Australian author.

Open to Australian female writers who have published fiction or non-fiction classified as life writing the Awards have recognised some of Australia’s leading female authors.

The longlisted authors for the Kibble Literary Award ($30, 000 prize) for the work of an established Australian woman writer are:


Debra Adelaide Letter to George Clooney (Picador Australia)
Georgia Blain The Secret Lives of Men (Scribe)
Ashley HayThe Railway man’s Wife (Allen & Unwin)
Rachel Hennessy The Heaven I Swallowed (Wakefield Press)
Melissa Lucashenko Mullumbimby (University of Queensland Press)
Kristina Olsson Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir (University of Queensland Press)

The longlisted authors for the Dobbie Literary Award ($5, 000 prize) for a first-published work are:

Sarah Drummond Salt Story: Of Sea Dogs and Fisherwomen (Freemantle Press)
Fiona McFarlaneThe Night Guest (Penguin Group Australia)
Margaret MerrileesThe First Week (Wakefield Press)
Kate RichardsMadness: a Memoir (Penguin Group Australia)
Inga SimpsonMr Wigg (Hatchette Australia)
Jill StarkHigh Sobriety: my year without booze (Scribe)

Speaking on behalf of the panel, Humanities Australia Editor, Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Webby AM, said: “The arts community and the wider Australian public should be immensely proud that we continue to produce such fascinating, imaginative female authors, who have an unwavering ability to create such powerful novels.”

“The scope of subject matter explored by the longlisted authors and the intensity of the themes made the judging process all the more rewarding,” Professor Webby said.

Also on the judging panel is State Library of New South Wales Research and Discovery Manager, Maggie Patton, and internationally published novelist, Dr Rosie Scott.

The shortlisted authors will be announced on Wednesday 4 June, with the winners of both categories to be formally announced on Wednesday 23 July.

You can access all reviews written by AWW Challenge participants here and as always, please keep sending us your reviews as you read through award longlists/shortlists.

About Nita May Dobbie

Nita May Dobbie (1904-1992) established the Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers in recognition of her aunt, Nita Kibble, who raised her from birth after her mother died. Miss Nita Kibble was hired as a junior assistant at the Public Library of New South Wales, when her signature was taken for a man’s in 1899. She later became the first woman to be appointed a librarian with the State Library of New South Wales and held the position of Principal Research Officer from 1919 until her retirement in 1943. Throughout her career she worked hard to raise the status of the library profession and was a founding member of the Australian Institute of Librarians. Miss Dobbie followed her aunt into the library profession and recognised the need to foster women’s writing.

She established the awards, named after her inspirational aunt, through her will. For more information about the awards visit www.perpetual.com.au/kibble

About Me

I’m a freelance book reviewer, journalist, writer and editor. I blog over at Wordsville and can be found on Twitter @PaulaGrunseit