The shortlists for the 2014 Kibble and Dobbie Literary Awards have just been announced.

These awards honour the legacy of the State Library of New South Wales’ first female librarian, Nita B Kibble (1879-1962) who held the position of Principal Research Librarian from 1919 until her retirement in 1943. Nita Kibble was a founding member of the Australian Institute of Librarians. Established 21 years ago, the Nita B Kibble Literary Awards are open to Australian female writers who have published fiction or non-fiction classified as life writing.

The titles shortlisted for the $30,000 Kibble Literary Award, which recognises the work of an established Australian female writer, are:

  • Letter to George Clooney (Debra Adelaide, Picador)
  • Mullumbimby (Melissa Lucashemko, UQP)
  • Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir (Kristina Olsson, UQP).








The titles shortlisted for the $5000 Dobbie Literary Award, which recognises the work of a first-time published Australian female writer, are:

  • The Night Guest (Fiona McFarlane, Hamish Hamilton)
  • Madness: A Memoir (Kate Richards, Penguin)
  • High Sobriety: My Year without Booze (Jill Stark, Scribe).

McFarlane, The night guest

high-sobriety madnessamemoir





Judge and Humanities Australia Editor, Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Webby AM, said the shortlist represents a group of strong and talented women whose work fulfils the aims of Nita B Kibble’s legacy: to encourage female authors to improve and advance Australian literature for the benefit of the community.

“For my fellow judges and I, the joy of reading and assessing work of this calibre is a privilege. The six shortlisted books, while very different in theme and topic, all deal with significant contemporary issues and evoke a powerful and authentic reaction from the reader. These six books are beautifully written and each tells a compelling story with honesty and integrity,” Professor Webby said.

The judging panel also includes State Library of New South Wales Research and Discovery Manager, Maggie Patton, and internationally published novelist, Dr Rosie Scott.

Which shortlisted titles have you read/reviewed? We’d love to know.

You can read the longlist roundup here and all reviews can be accessed here.

In 2013, the Kibble Literary Award was presented to Annah Faulkner for The Beloved (Picador) and the Dobbie Literary Award was presented to Lily Chan for Toyo: A Memoir (Black Inc.). You can read my interview with Lily Chan here.

Congratulations to all shortlisted and longlisted authors.

The winners of the awards will be announced on 23 July.

About Me

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