Winners of 2023 WA Premier’s Book Awards announced

  • Premier’s Books Awards showcase the best in Western Australian writing
  • Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship winner, Tracy Ryan
  • Book of the Year winner,The Red Witch: A Biography of Katharine Susannah Prichardby Nathan Hobby (Melbourne University Publishing)
  • Emerging Writer winner, Banjawarn by Josh Kemp(UWA Publishing)
  • Children’s Book of the Year winner,Wild Australian Life,written by Leonard Cronin and illustrated by Chris Nixon (Allen & Unwin)
  • Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and Young Adult Fiction winner,Uncle Xbox (Book 2) – Getting Dustyby Jared Thomas

The 2023 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards winners have been announced at an award ceremony at the State Library of Western Australia.

The night’s major winner was Tracy Ryan, who won the WA Writer’s Fellowship ($60,000). Ryan is a well-respected novelist and poet who has worked as a teacher, journalist and bookseller.

The highly anticipated Premier’s Prize for Book of the Year ($15,000), sponsored by Writing WA, was won by The Red Witch: A Biography of Katharine Susannah Prichardby

Nathan Hobby. The judges described the book as an impeccably researched and definitive account of one of WA’s greatest writers.

An urban legend, a swamp monster, an apocalyptic thriller and an owl who loves stars were all nominated for the Premier’s Prize for Children’s Book of the Year ($15,000). Wild Australia Life, written by best-selling author and biologist Leonard Cronin and illustrated by Chris Nixon won with an exquisite exploration of Australian animals that belongs on every family’s bookshelf.

Gothic fiction novel Banjawarn by Josh Kemp, a white knuckle, psychedelic road trip through the Eastern Goldfields, won the Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer ($15,000).

The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and Young Adult Fiction ($15,000 and a publishing contract) was awarded to Uncle Xbox (Book 2) – Getting Dusty by Nukunu man Jared Thomas. The manuscript is a middle-grade story that follows Dusty as he learns valuable lessons on respecting the power of nature, knowing your limits and when to walk away.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award is administered and funded by Broome-based Indigenous publisher Magabala Books with support from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and was open to Indigenous writers from across Australia.

For more information on the winners, the shortlists and the judging panel,

As stated by Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:

“It’s a thrill to see Western Australian writers and illustrators honoured at the 2023 WA Premier’s Book Awards. What a fantastic night of celebrating literature.

“It was an honour and pleasure to present the WA Premier’s Book Awards to an extraordinary group of talented, passionate, hardworking people. I encourage everyone to delve into these engaging, captivating stories and to support Western Australian writers.

“The State Library of Western Australia is a haven of our stories, knowledge and history. The library collects, preserves and shares our Western Australian stories making it the perfect home for the Premier’s Book Awards.”

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