Winners announced today for the national 2018 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award

The 2018 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award were announced this morning at a breakfast event hosted by author, ABC Broadcaster and literary champion Richard Glover at North Bondi RSL.

Now in its 17th year, these esteemed national literary award celebrate excellence in research and writing around Australia. It is the only award of its type presented by a local council.

More than 2000 titles have been nominated for the award since its inception, and more than $400,000 has been distributed directly to winning authors.

Helen Lewis has won the Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award, and accompanying $20,000 prize, for her non-fiction work The Dead Still Cry Out, an extraordinary true story about the author’s father who was a British paratrooper and combat cameraman who filmed the liberation of Bergen-Belsen.

Helen Lewis said: “I am thrilled to have won the Nib Award. It is wonderful to have my work recognised in this way. Writing is a solitary endeavour and when a piece is finished you are always wondering whether others will understand it the way that you intended. Winning is affirmation that they do”.

Mayor of Waverley, John Wakefield congratulated Helen Lewis on this significant achievement.

“The judges had a difficult decision due to the high calibre of entries and this win is a testament to Helen’s exceptional research,” Mayor Wakefield said.

“Congratulations also to People’s Choice winner Bri Lee and Military History Prize winner, Ben McKelvey. Waverley Council is proud to continue to support Australian literature through these long running and prestigious awards.”

The well regarded Nib Military History Prize was awarded to Bondi local Ben McKelvey for his book The Commando: The life and death of Cameron Baird, VC, MG - the powerful biography of one of Australia's most decorated modern soldiers.

The popular Nib People’s Choice Prize ($1000) has been awarded to Bri Lee. Her book Eggshell Skull is the thought provoking story ofBri’s journey through the Australian legal system.

Principal sponsor Mark Moran said “We are very pleased to be able to continue our strong association with the arts via the Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Prize. Congratulations to all the winners”.

Judged on the quality of research, literary merit, readability and value to the community The Nib is one of the only national literary awards run by a local council. The record number of entries received this year is testament to the important and essential role that Waverley Council plays in supporting Australian literature.

Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award - $20,000

The Dead Still Cry Out, Helen Lewis (Text Publishing)

Helen Lewis was just a child when she found an old suitcase hidden in a cupboard at home. Inside it were the most horrifying photographs she’d ever seen—a record of the atrocities committed at Bergen-Belsen. They belonged to her father, Mike, a British paratrooper and combat cameraman who had filmed the camp’s liberation. The Dead Still Cry Out is an extraordinary true story about the author's father.

Nib Military History Prize - $3000

The Commando: The life and death of Cameron Baird, VC, MG, Ben McKelvey (Hachette Australia)

From his early life as an up-and coming AFL player to his tours of duty in Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan and his final battle in the dusty Ghawcha village in the Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan - the powerful biography of Cameron Baird, VC, MG, one of Australia's most decorated modern soldiers. In 2014, Cameron's bravery and courage under fire saw him posthumously awarded the 100th Victoria Cross, our highest award possible for bravery in the presence of the enemy. Cameron Baird died how he lived - at the front, giving it his all, without any indecision.

Nib People’s Choice Prize - $1000

Eggshell Skull, Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)

Bri Lee began her first day of work at the Queensland District Court as a bright-eyed judge's associate. Two years later she was back as the complainant in her own case. This is the story of Bri's journey through the Australian legal system; first as the daughter of a policeman, then as a law student, and finally as a judge's associate in both metropolitan and regional Queensland-where justice can look very different, especially for women.

Alex Buzo Shortlist Prize - $1000 each

Australian author and playwright Alex Buzo (1944 – 2006) had a long association with his local Waverly library which led to him becoming a founding member of the Nib awards in 2002, proposing the judging criteria and being a lead judge in the early years. The Alex Buzo Shortlist Prize was established in 2006 to honour his significant contribution to the awards success and is a practical demonstration of his strong belief that there should be a wider recognition and rewarding of deserving Australian writers.

  • Relatively Famous, Roger Averill (Transit Lounge)
  • The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster, Sarah Krasnostein (Text Publishing)
  • The Dead Still Cry Out,Helen Lewis (Text Publishing)
  • Eggshell Skull,Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)
  • Call of the Reed Warbler,Charles Massy (The University of Queensland Press)
  • The Suitcase Baby, Tanya Bretherton (Hachette Australia)

The Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award is administered and presented annually by Waverley Council with the support of Principal Sponsors Mark and Evette Moran and the generous assistance of our community partners; Friends of Waverley Library (FOWL), Gertrude and Alice Bookshop and Cafe, Mark Moran Vaucluse and Bondi Junction, North Bondi, and Rose Bay RSL Sub-Branches.

Cover image photo credit: Bradley Cummings.

For media inquiries including images, contact:             

Debbie McInnes, dmcprmedia, 02 9550 9207 or