The Australian/Vogel Literary Award is Australia's richest and most prestigious award for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of thirty-five and has launched the careers of some of its most successful writers, including Tim Winton, Kate Grenville, Gillian Mears, Brian Castro, Mandy Sayer and Andrew McGahan.

Vogel-winning authors have gone on to win or be shortlisted for other major awards, such as the Miles Franklin Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Booker Prize.

Sponsered by The Australian Newspaper it is administered by the publishers Allen and Unwin.

2011 Winner

The winner of this year's Australian/Vogel Award has been anounced as The Roving Party by Rohan Wilson. In a major change from previous year's the book has been published to coincide with the announcement rarther than the usual year later. This is a good move in my view. Slightly risky, in that the book may win the award and yet still need a lot of work, but it's a good way of imprinting the work on the reading public and is to be commended.

2009 Winners

This year the race was so tight that the judges decided to award two authors the title and split the $20k prize. Lisa Lang’s Utopian Man and Kristel Thornell’s Night Street took top honours.

Both manuscripts will be published by Allen & Unwin. The previously unpublished novels were selected from a pool of over 200 entries.


2009 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award Shortlisted

The Burial - by Courtney Collins

A dark, swooning upgrade of the Australian gothic genre. This time, a lost child speaks plaintively from beyond the grave, adding her voice to several others in tracing the life of Jessie, based on a real-life horse thief and murderess of the 1920s, whose real crime, it seems, was to have been born a woman.   

'It grabbed me ... great characterisation, a setting you can taste and smell and feel under your fingernails ... a story that propels itself along with real vigour.' - Margo Lanagan

Utopian Man - by Lisa Lang

Happiness writes white, reckoned Henri de Montherlant. It does not show up on the page. If he had read Lisa Lang's joyous, bejewelled fictional biography of Edward Cole, founder of Coles Book Arcade, he would have recanted. Coles life is imagined with authority and verve, and the reader is invited to warm themselves at the fire generated by a singular mans energy, wit and visionary eccentricity.     

'Impressive, vivid and enjoyable. I was won over by this author's wonderful control.' - Cate Kennedy

The Book of Lilith - by Nathan Markham

The grandest of grand guignols. Oozing with sex, violence and the blackest of comedy, The Book of Lilith recalls de Sade, Kathy Acker and William Burroughs. In the sheer antipodean exuberance of its characters transgressions, however, Markhams novel is sui generis.    

'A great seething subconscious full of dark wonders ... a compelling imagination at play, a sophisticated voice and a lot of black comedy.' - Matt Rubinstein 

 Squire Nation - by Jeremy Ohlback

A smooth and understated fictional reconstruction of the life of James Squire, convict and master brewer, whose death in 1822 inspired an outpouring of grief larger than any in the young colony's history. Well-researched, and deft in its exploration of the complex and ultimately tragic relationship between white and black during those early years.      

'A fresh and distinctive voice ... beautifully evoked ... subtle and devastating.' - Cate Kennedy

Night Street - by Kristel Thornell

In a measure of the prevalence of faction in contemporary Australian writing, four of the five books shortlisted have some real-life basis. This tough yet exquisite novel is loosely based the life of Clarice Beckett, student of Frederick McCubbin and Max Meldrum, and a formidable artist in her own right. Thornells prose, with its glowing language, its delicate and restrained tones, is a perfect instrument for approximating Becketts unique palette.     

'Full of beauty, rhythm, humanity and surprising insights ... beautifully judged' - Margo Lanagan

PRESS RELEASE: 3 out of 5 Australian/Vogel Shortlistees agree – The ASA Mentorship Program is a fine fine thing

In the recently announced shortlist for the Australian/Vogel Literary Award, an astonishing 3 out of the 5 authors listed are ‘graduates’ of the Australian Society of Author’s Mentorship Program. The 3 shortlisted ‘graduates’ are Lisa Lang, Kristell Thornell and Courtney Collins.

“This is a clear indication of the success of our program,” says Dr Jeremy Fisher, executive director of the ASA.  “But the Mentorship Program of course is not only for writers of fiction under 35. It caters for all fiction genres, children’s book illustration and literary non-fiction.  And writers in all these areas who have completed mentorships are enjoying success.”

“The mentorship program gave me an opportunity to discuss my manuscript with an experienced industry professional,” says Lisa Lang, one of the Australian/Vogel Award shortlisted authors. “ It was great to have my work taken seriously, and to be given an insight into its flaws and strengths. The process has made me a more confident writer.”

Lisa Lang, and Kristell Thornell were both mentored by Judith Lukin-Amundsen, while Courtney Collins was mentored by Delia Falconer.

The ASA offers mentorships each year for talented writers and picture book illustrators in the areas of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, Young Adult, graphic novels, children’s writing and picture book illustration. Information for applicants for the 2010 round will be on the website early next year.

2008 Winners and Shortlist

Document Z, by Andrew Croome

is the winner of The Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 2008.

A runner-up was also chosen for the 2008 award:

The Heaven I Swallowed by Rachel Hennessy

Also shortlisted in 2007 were:

Orayt? by Demet Divaroren

Credible Deterrent: A Folly in Parts by T.R. Magarey

Nobody by Threasa Meads

The Vintage and the Gleaning, by Jeremy Chambers

2008 Winner Announced - 19th September, 2008

'DOCUMENT Z' by Andrew Croome

On an electric night in 1954, Evdokia Petrov, a Russian intelligence worker from the Soviet Embassy in Canberra, arrives at Mascot Aerodrom as a prisoner of her colleagues. Her husband has defected. She is returning to Moscow where under Soviet law, she will be punished for his crime. A novel from the shadows, Document Z draws the story of the Petrov Affair from ASIO's archive of the event. It is a tale of lies and betrayal, the Cold War on Australian soil.

This tightly told story of secrets, lies, deception and betrayal – both personal and political - is the winner of the 2008 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award.

About Andrew Croome

Andrew Croome was born Canberra but grew up in Hobart and Albury/Wodonga. In 1998, he moved to Carlton to attend university and is yet to leave. He has worked as a computer programmer, creative writing tutor and copywriter, and is soon to complete a PhD in Creative Writing at Melbourne University.

Judges comments

'Impressive. A distinctive voice, taut writing ... a brooding atmosphere of shadows and spooks.' Marele Day

'A remarkable achievement .... a story that is emotionally and politically complex as well as consistently human ... distinctive and significant' Matt Rubinstein

'Very impressive ... absorbing, sophisticated ... beautiful suspenseful writing. A powerful and complex piece, wonderfully crafted.' Cate Kennedy

The 2007 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award winner

'I Dream of Magda
by Stefan Laszczuk

Praised for being quirky, deft, funny and genuinely moving, it was a unanimous favourite of the judges.

'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'

Tolstoy wasn't thinking specifically of George and Matthew Harrison when he wrote those words, but maybe he should have been. George Harrison is twenty-six, he lives with his brother Matthew, works in a bowling alley and is afraid of the dark. Reeling from a broken heart, still coping with the trauma of a childhood home invasion and boasting a dysfunctional family history to rival The Simpsons, he finds rare solace in the giant painting of an alien that sits outside his room. And Matthew is not much better off, he has his own demons to deal with. He recently lost the love of his life in a car accident (one that he was lucky to survive himself), and he finds his only solace in constant sleep - and dreams of Magda.

Also shortlisted in 2007 were:

She Played Elvis, by Shady Cosgrove

With the solid companionship of her Australian boyfriend, Shady embarks on a timely journey to Gracelands via her own American heritage. This unusual Elvis narrative casts an intriguing spotlight on Americana but is also a moving, witty and original meditation on the idea of pilgrimage, family, home and loss.

'An attractive weave of elements, a quirky sensibility and some magic moments'. Marele Day

Conditions of Return, by Daniel Ducrou

Classically trained young musician, Andrew, goes to Byron Bay for schoolies' week, but dramatically changes tempo when he joins a group of buskers, and sets sail on an odyssey of sex, drugs and self-discovery.

'Polished, assured and competently controlled.' Charlotte Wood
Memory Vertigo, by Michael Sala

Twin narratives, one dealing evocatively with the restless, troubled childhood of the central character, Michaelis, and the other with his life as a first-time father examine the struggle between what we want to be and what the past has written into us.

'What sets it apart is the restraint and compassion of the writer ... truthful and convincing.' Charlotte Wood
The Homicidal Nerd, by Jason Spongberg

Mark Watson is the likeable nerd who is thrust into a journey across Canada and a series of encounters in which he often finds himself using a gun.

‘The voice is assured and self-deprecating ... it has considerable pace and a biting sense of black humour.' John Dale

Past Winners

2006 The River Baptists by Belinda Castles
2005 Tuvalu by Andrew O'Connor
2004 Road Story by Julienne van Loon
2003 Drown Them in the Sea by Nicholas Angel
Troubled Waters by Ruth Balint
2002 The Alphabet of Light and Dark by Danielle Wood
2001 Skins by Sarah Hay
Sibyl's Cave by Catherine Padmore
2000 The Artist is a Thief by Stephen Gray - Winner
Attempts to Draw Jesus Stephen Orr - Runner Up
1999 Love and Vertigo by Hsu-Ming Teo - Winner
The Water Underneath by Kate Lyons- Runner Up
1998 Pegasus in the Suburbs by Jennifer Kremmer - Winner
The Salt Letters by Christine Ballint - Shortlisted
1997 Hiam by Eva Sallis- Winner
Spotted Skin by Rowena Ivers - Shortlisted
1996 The Blindman's Hat by Bernard Cohen - Winner
1995 Kindling Does For Firewood by Richard King - Winner
Eleven Months In Bunbury by James Ricks - Runner Up
No Safe Place by Mary Rose MacColl - Shortlisted
Listening For Small Sounds by Penelope Trevor - Shortlisted
1994 Swimming In Silk by Darren Williams - Winner
Bracelet Honeymyrtle by Judith Fox - Shortlisted
Bombora by Tegan Bennett - Shortlisted
Crew by Tony McGowan - Highly Commended
1993 The Hand That Signed The Paper by Helen Demidenko - Winner
A Mortality Tale by Jay Verney - Shortlisted
Solstice by Matt Rubinstein - Shortlisted
1992 The Mule's Foal by Fotini Epanomitis - Winner
1991 Praise by Andrew McGahan - Winner
1990 The Mint Lawn by Gillian Mears - Winner
1989 Mood Indigo by Mandy Sayer - Winner
Matinee by Michael Stephens - Shortlisted
1988 Oceana Fine by Tom Flood - Winner
1987 Ilias by Jim Sakkas - Winner
The Velodrome by Liam Davison - Shortlisted
1986 Glace Fruits by Robin Walton - Winner
1985 No prize awarded
1984 Lilian's Story by Kate Grenville - Winner
1983 Shields Of Trell by Jenny Summerville - Winner
1982 Birds of Passage by Brian Castro - Joint Winner
Matilda, My Darling by Nigel Krauth - Joint Winner
1981 Al Jazzar by Chris Matthews - Joint Winner
An Open Swimmer by Tim Winton - Joint Winner
1980 The Day Of The Dog by Archie Weller - Shortlisted
Jack Rivers and Me by Paul Radley - Winner (Disqualified)


back to top