/Vogel's Literary Award winners and manuscripts published by Allen & Unwin.
|| No winning entry chosen for publication. Read the press release (PDF)
|| Eleven Seasons by Paul D. Carter
|| The Roving Party by Rohan Wilson
|| Night Street by Kristel Thornell
Utopian Man by Lisa Lang
|| Document Z by Andrew Croome
The Heaven I Swallowed by Rachel Hennessy
||I Dream of Magda by Stefan Laszczuk
||The River Baptists by Belinda Castles
||Tuvalu by Andrew O'Connor
||Road Story by Julienne van Loon
||Drown Them in the Sea by Nicholas Angel
Troubled Waters by Ruth Balint
||The Alphabet of Light and Dark by Danielle Wood
||Skins by Sarah Hay
Sibyl's Cave by Catherine Padmore
||The Artist is a Thief by Stephen Gray - Winner
Attempts to Draw Jesus Stephen Orr - Runner Up
||Love and Vertigo by Hsu-Ming Teo - Winner
The Water Underneath by Kate Lyons- Runner Up
||Pegasus in the Suburbs by Jennifer Kremmer - Winner
The Salt Letters by Christine Ballint
||Hiam by Eva Sallis
Spotted Skin by Rowena Ivers
||The Blindman's Hat by Bernard Cohen
||Kindling Does For Firewood by Richard King - Winner
Eleven Months In Bunbury by James Ricks - Runner Up
No Safe Place by Mary Rose MacColl
Listening For Small Sounds by Penelope Trevor
||Swimming In Silk by Darren Williams - Winner
Crew by Tony McGowan - Highly Commended
Bracelet Honeymyrtle by Judith Fox
Bombora by Tegan Bennett
||The Hand That Signed The Paper by Helen Demidenko
A Mortality Tale by Jay Verney
Solstice by Matt Rubinstein
||The Mule's Foal by Fotini Epanomitis
||Praise by Andrew McGahan
||The Mint Lawn by Gillian Mears
||Mood Indigo by Mandy Sayer
Matinee by Michael Stephens - Shortlisted
||Oceana Fine by Tom Flood
||Ilias by Jim Sakkas
The Velodrome by Liam Davison
||Glace Fruits by Robin Walton
||No prize awarded
||Lilian's Story by Kate Grenville
||Shields Of Trell by Jenny Summerville
||Birds of Passage by Brian Castro - Joint Winner
Matilda, My Darling by Nigel Krauth - Joint Winner
||Al Jazzar by Chris Matthews - Joint Winner
An Open Swimmer by Tim Winton - Joint Winner
||The Day Of The Dog by Archie Weller - Shortlisted
Jack Rivers and Me by Paul Radley - Winner (Disqualified)
Quotes from previous winners:
The Roving Party by Rohan Wilson - Winner 2011
'I remember the moment: I looked up to the sky and there was light in the trees over the cafe. It was gentle light, playful. All I could think was, 'I've done it'. Years of work, twenty years of it, had led me to that cafe on that day with Annette Barlow from Allen & Unwin. Twenty years lifted off me in an instant. When I looked down she was smiling at me. I bet it was because I looked suddenly younger. 'You've won', she said again. Every day since then I feel lighter, stronger, happier. I feel renewed. Could there ever be a better gift than that?'
Night Street by Kristel Thornell - Joint Winner 2009
'Winning the Vogel was the stuff of fantasy. Arriving by magic at a new level of a dizzying game. All the work that over the years had sometimes felt and no doubt looked like an elaborate, very private madness suddenly existed in the Real World. It took on the legitimate shape and volume of a book. It became public, shared. This was thrilling and moving. And uncanny and terrifying, because it meant that I was visible now in a new way, too. But it was as if I'd been given a magnificent blessing, permission to go on with the eccentric writing life – with all the work, uncertainty and strange joy.'
Utopian Man by Lisa Lang - Joint Winner 2009
'Everything you hear about winning the Vogel is true: the incredible high, the relief that you haven't been totally delusional in thinking someone might publish your manuscript, the way it opens the door to reviews, festivals and other opportunities. But for me nothing has been sweeter than the discovery of a community of intelligent, committed and generous writers – the kind you dream of when slogging away in dusty solitude. Perhaps I would have found them eventually. But the Vogel has the power to speed everything up (everything but actual writing, that is) and when the confetti finally settles, that community is a wonderful source of friendship and encouragement.'
Document Z by Andrew Croome - Winner 2008
'J. D. Salinger once said that anyone who lets themselves in for publishing might as well walk down Madison Avenue with their pants down. If that's true, then the Vogel is perhaps the way to do it while holding your belt as high as possible. The goodwill you receive as a Vogelist is phenomenal. Not only is your book reviewed and stocked nationally (I believe my parents bought one everywhere they went), but suddenly, and rather pleasantly, you'll also find that you have readers. For me, the Vogel was all kinds of things: a high, a confidence boost, a justification to keep writing. The award opens all kinds of doors. As someone who'd not been published before, it was also a great introduction to the book world – the festivals and the people. It's the best thing that can happen to anyone who wants to be a writer.'
I Dream of Magda by Stefan Laszczuk- Winner 2007
"Winning the Vogel is just about the best thing that can happen to an emerging Australian writer. For me personally, it was brilliant in that it gave my novel a decent level of national exposure, whereas my previous book struggled to make much of an impact outside of South Australia. It won’t make writing the next book any easier, but it will mean that potential publishers and agents will most likely return my calls—if only to pay me the courtesy of rejecting me in person. Probably the most satisfying thing about winning the Vogel is that on those late lonely nights when I am staring at my computer screen, wondering why I’ve been dumped yet again, wondering when I will start losing weight, giving up cigarettes and generally succeeding in life, that I can turn off the computer, turn off the lights, crawl into bed and say to myself: ‘Well, at least I won the f-ing Vogel.’ You can’t buy that."
The River Baptists by Belinda Castles- Winner 2006
"When you have a manuscript in your drawer, you cannot help but invest it with all the hopes and dreams that led you to want to be a writer in the first place: that you can express some of what’s inside you, that it will speak to somebody in a unique way. The Vogel is a special prize because it generally goes to an unknown writer, taking their novel out of that drawer and obscurity and testing it on the world to see if anyone is listening. It was the difference for me between thinking ‘I want to be a writer’ and ‘I am a writer’. Not many moments in your life can truly be called life-changing, but for this reason, for me, winning the Vogel was."
Tuvalu by Andrew O'Connor- Winner 2005
"Winning the Vogel was an incredible high. I got the news from my parents while living in Nagano, Japan. Allen & Unwin had e-mailed it, but my mother had given them the wrong address. Mum kept ringing and telling me to 'check my e-mail'. Then she'd ring back all breathless. 'Did you check it yet?' And I'd explain there was nothing there. 'Check it, check it again and ring me.' And eventually my parents broke the news to me themselves.
Aside from disbelief I most remember relief. Suddenly I hadn't just wasted however many years making stuff up. People would actually read what I had written. This would bring income. The realisations came one after another, and this is definitely the first beauty of the award – the zero to one-hundred aspect. It comes out of nowhere. Most other awards require publication to enter, so authors have had excitement already.
Now, a few years on, winning and publication seems like a blur, like a blink. I'm bogged down drafting a second manuscript that's so far taken almost four years and which very few people have seen, and all the old fears are back. The Vogel reminds me that it can end well, and to get on and get the job done. Ultimately, this is its best gift. It provides a trickle of confidence throughout the long hiatus it takes to write a new novel."
Road Story by Julienne Van Loon- Winner 2004
"When I was seventeen I cut the call for entries advertisement for the Vogel award out of the newspaper and I kept it on my desk until it went yellow. I had not written a novel at that age, but I aspired to write one. It wasn't until another seventeen years later, after completing a couple of degrees at university, that I actually had something I felt was ready and I downloaded the entry form, posted the manuscript off and was deeply shocked and totally delighted when it won!
There has been some commentary from writers and critics to the effect that The Australian/Vogel award should become an award open to all ages. I disagree. There's something about this particular award that signals to young people right across Australia - and to young writers in particular - that somebody might be interested in what it is they have to say. I see the effect the annual call for entries has on my own creative writing students: it makes their eyes light up. It gives them something to dream about, something to work towards."
Skins by Sarah Hay- Winner 2001
"For about twenty years I toyed with a piece of writing that wasn't going anywhere. Then I started something new and at the same time I learnt about the Vogel Award. It provided a much needed focus. I never expected to win and in fact, a month before the closing date, I almost didn't enter. But it was my only chance since I turned 35 later in the year. So I sent it off and it was great to know someone was reading my work. It might have been a different story had I tried to interest a publisher from where I lived in Perth and without any contacts in the industry. Publishing Skins was a remarkable experience and it still surprises me when people tell me they've read my book. The novel attracted great reviews and I had a dream run with it. The award changed my life by giving me the confidence to make writing my focus."
Love and Vertigo by Hsu-Ming Teo- Winner 1999
'"..For me, the significance of the Vogel began long before winning it. When I started writing fiction, the closing date for Vogel entries helped to impose some sort of discipline on the unruly task of writing as well as providing a deadline I could work towards. Winning The Australian/Vogel Literary Award was one of the most unbelievable and momentous occasions of my life. Certainly the recognition of a writer's first work and the financial reward of the prize are delightful. But more importantly, what it offers are invaluable opportunities for feedback on my work, for new writing projects, and of course, the chance to be published by Allen & Unwin."
Solstice by Matt Rubinstein—Shortlisted 1993
How do I feel about the Vogel?
Fortunate. Privileged. Proud. Grateful.
It hasn't bought a movie mogul
with points and options by the crateful
or endless reprints and editions.
But I've seen actors and musicians
perform my work upon the stage
and seen it printed on the page
instead of being duly doomed
to wallow sadly in the slush.
The Vogel's varied, vibrant, lush;
it's colourful and brightly plumed:
a treasure chest. A well-stocked shed.
It's well-read, well-bred and, well, bread.
Lilian's Story by Kate Grenville—Winner 1984
"I'd been writing for some time before I won The Australian/Vogel Literary Award, but Lilian's Story was the first novel I'd written that spoke with my own true voice. Winning such a major prize for that particular book gave me the confidence that my own truth was what I should be always trying to find as a writer."
Birds of Passage by Brian Castro—Joint Winner 1982
'News of my shared win come to me in a disjointed manner. Having no telephone, I received a telegram (in the days when that sort of thing still happened). It was shoved under my door, since I wasn't home, and a torrential rainstorm left it barely legible. I walked down the street to ring my mother from a public phonebox. She thought I'd won some bake-off. The confusion continues to this day when Germans ask me about the 'Bird Prize'. Did it make a difference? Sure. Did it make things easier? I doubt it. Eighteen years later, each novel is still a first novel. Make it new. That is the first principle. I've been a candidate as well as a judge and the challenge still holds. The best testament is time. The Bird Prize is alive and well.'
Matilda, My Darling by Nigel Krauth—Joint Winner 1982
"I have already written and spoken voluminously on the significance of The Australian/Vogel Literary Award to my own career and to the careers of others. It is the most important literary award in Australia because it discovers new writers, rewards and publicises them, and continues to support them if they keep up their output. It lets young writers know that they really are writers."
An Open Swimmer by Tim Winton—Joint Winner 1981
'The Vogel prize came along at the perfect time for me. I was writing fiction in earnest as a very young person and trying to publish it while living on the wrong side of the country and without literary connections. Winning the prize gave me a huge morale boost and the impetus that only affirmation can produce. It somehow, mysteriously, made it easier for editors to publish my stories. It set me on my way, and I lived on the $5000 for a year. Without the Vogel I suspect things might have gone differently.'