2008 A Year in Australian Literature


  • One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke is announced as an honoree of the 2008 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
  • The Company of the Dead by David Kowalski wins the Aurealis Award for Best Australian SF Novel of 2008


  • Shaun Tan is awarded "Album of the Year" at Angouleme, one of the world's biggest comic book festivals, for his book The Arrival
  • His Illegal Self by Peter Carey released
  • Novelist Sophie Cunningham is named as the new editor of Meanjin
  • "The Bulletin" magazine publishes its last issue, the first was in 1880
  • The Australia Council for the Arts announces Christopher Koch and Gerald Murnane as recipients of its 2008 emeritus writers awards


  • The Ballad of Desmond Kale by Roger McDonald wins the main fiction award of the 2008 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature
  • The Time We Have Taken by Steven Carroll wins the Best Novel award in the South-East Asia and South Pacific region of the 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee wins the Best First Novel award for the same region
  • Saturn Returns by Sean Williams wins the Best Novel award at the 2008 Ditmars
  • "The Monthly" magazine starts a series of interviews with Australian authors under their "Slow TV" banner
  • Feather Man by Rhyll McMaster wins the inaugural Barbara Jeffries Award


  • Helen Garner publishes The Spare Room, her first novel in 15 years
  • the judges for the inaugural Prime Minister's Literary Awards are announced
  • God for the Killing by Kain Massin wins the 2008 ABC Fiction Award for best unpublished manuscript
  • Napoleon: The Path To Power 1769-1799 by Philip Dwyer and These Few Lines: A Convict Story - The Lost Lives Of Myra & William Sykes by Graham Seal are announced as joint winners of the 2008 National Biography Award
  • the Australian Federal Government announces funding for a new chair of Australian Literature based at the University of Western Australia


  • the 2008 Sydney Writers' Festival runs from May 19th to 25th
  • Clunes, Victoria, holds its second Booktown weekend
  • Tim Winton publishes Breath, his first novel in seven years
  • Nights in the Asylum by Carol Lefevre wins the 2008 Nita Kibble Award, and The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee wins the Dobbie encouragement award
  • the sponsors of the Man Booker Prize announce a special award to commemorate the prize's 40th anniversary
  • the winners of the 2008 NSW Premier's Literary Awards are announced:
    Christina Stead Prize for Fiction - The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser;
    Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction - Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica by Tom Griffiths
  • Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah wins the 2008 Kathleen Mitchell Award for Young Writers
  • Max Barry, Belinda Castles, Jessica Davidson, and Jessica White are named 2008 Best Young Australian Novelists by "The Sydney Morning Herald"


  • Nam Le publishes The Boat, his first collection of short stories, to great acclaim
  • the 2008 Australian Book Industry Awards are announced, with People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks winning the major Book of the Year award
  • Shaun Tan wins an award in the 2008 Boston Globe Horn Book Awards, titled "Special Citation, for excellence in graphic storytelling", for his graphic novel The Arrival
  • Steven Carroll wins the 2008 Miles Franklin Award for his novel The Time We Have Taken


  • the first Crime and Justice Festival in held in Melbourne over the weekend of July 19-20. As it happens the Melbourne Festival of Travel Writing is held over the same dates
  • the Man Booker Prize Longlist is announced, with two Australians on the list - Michelle de Kretser and Steve Toltz. Ex-Australian resident Aravind Adiga also makes the list


  • Australia wins the right to host the 2010 World SF convention in Melbourne
  • The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett is named Book of the Year for Older Readers in the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards; Dragon Moon by Carole Wilkinson is named Book of the Year for Younger Readers
  • a number of previously unknown Banjo Paterson poems are found in an old cash book dating back to the Boer War
  • UNESCO names Melbourne as its second City of Literature, after Edinburgh received the first such award in 2004
  • "The Age" Book of the Year Awards are announced: Fiction - Breath by Tim Winton; Non-Fiction - American Journeys by Don Watson; Poetry - Not Finding Wittgenstein by J.S. Harry


  • the Ned Kelly Awards are presented: Novel - Shatter by Michael Robotham; First Novel - The Low Road by Chris Womersley; Non-Fiction - Red Centre, Dead Heart by Evan McHugh; and Lifetime Achievement - Marele Day
  • Duet by Kimberley Freeman is announced as the winner of the Long Category section of the 2008 Australian Romantic Book of the Year awards
  • the winners of the 2008 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards are announced:
    The Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction - The Spare Room by Helen Garner;
    The Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-fiction - The Ferocious Summer: Palmer's Penguins and the Warming of Antarctica by Meredith Hooper;
    The CJ Dennis Prize for Poetry - Press Release by Lisa Gorton
  • the shortlist for the 2008 Man Booker Prize is announced with A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz, and The White Tiger by ex-Australian resident Aravind Adiga among the six novels listed
  • the inaugural Prime Minister's Literary Awards are announced:
    Fiction - The Zookeeper's War by Stephen Conte;
    Non-Fiction - Ochre and Rust: Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers by Philip Jones
  • the winners of the 2008 Queensland Premier's Literary Awards are announced:
    Fiction - The Spare Room by Helen Garner;
    Non-fiction - Muck by Craig Sherborne;
    Poetry - Typewriter Music by David Malouf


  • the Davitt awards for crime fiction by women are presented by Sisters in Crime:
    Fiction - Frantic by Katherine Howell;
    YA Fiction - The Night Has a Thousand Eyes by Mandy Sayer;
    True Crime - Killing Jodie by Janet Fife-Yeomans
  • the 2008 Man Booker Prize is presented to ex-Australian resident Aravind Adiga for his novel White Tiger


  • the winners of the 2008 NSW Premier's History Awards are announced:
    Australian History Prize - Vietnam: the Australian War by Paul Ham;
    Community and Regional History Prize - Sacred Waters: the Story of the Blue Mountains Gully Traditional Owners by Dianne Johnson;
    General History Prize - The Politics of War: Race, Class and Conflict in Revolutionary Virginia by Michael A McDonnell
  • Nam Le is announced as the winner of the 2008 Dylan Thomas Prize, for his collection of short stories, The Boat
  • John Romeril, Melbourne playwright and screenwriter, is announced as the winner of the 2009 Patrick White Award
  • David Malouf is announced as the winner of the 2008 Australia-Asia Literary Award for his short story collection, The Complete Stories


  • the death of Melbourne poet Dorothy Porter is announced
  • Caro Llewellyn, a former director of the Sydney Writers' Festival and PEN World Voices Festival in New York, is appointed as director of the new Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 31, 2008 9:52 AM.

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