2023 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award longlist announced

31 July 2023

Waverley Council is delighted to announce the longlist for the 2023 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award which celebrates excellence in research and writing in Australia.

Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award is the only national literary award of its type to be presented by a local council. It recognises the most compelling research-based Australian literature and is awarded to nominated published works of any genre that best fulfill the criteria of high literary merit, quality of research, readability and value to the community.

The longlist is:

  • An Intimate History of Evolution: The Story of the Huxley Family by Alison Bashford (Allen Lane)
  • One Illumined Thread by Sally Colin-James (Harper Collins)
  • My Giddy Aunt and her sister comedians by Sharon Connolly (Upswell Publishing)
  • We Come with This Place by Debra Dank (Echo Publishing)
  • Anam by André Dao (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Emperors in Lilliput by Jim Davidson (The Miegunyah Press)
  • The Bell of the World by Gregory Day (Transit Lounge)
  • Reckless by Marele Day (Ultimo Press)
  • The Great Dead Body Teacher by Jackie Dent (Ultimo Press)
  • The Plant Thieves: Secrets of the herbarium by Prudence Gibson (NewSouth)
  • Aphrodite's Breath by Susan Johnson (Allen & Unwin)
  • Ghosts of the Orphanage by Christine Kenneally (Hachette Australia)
  • Staging a Revolution: When Betty Rocked the Pram by Kath Kenny (Upswell Publishing)
  • Graft by Maggie MacKeller (Hamish Hamilton)
  • The Age of Seeds by Fiona McMillian-Webster (Thames & Hudson Australia)
  • Life So Full of Promise: further biographies of Australia’s lost generation by Ross McMullin (Scribe Publications)
  • Shirley Hazzard: A Writing Life by Brigitta Olubas (Virago)
  • The One Thing We’ve Never Spoken About: Exposing Our Untold Mental Health Crisis by Elfy Scott (Pantera Press)
  • Political Lives: Australian prime ministers and their biographers by Chris Wallace (UNSW Press)
  • The Passion of Private White by Don Watson (Scribner Australia)

A shortlist will be announced on 4 September 2023. Each of those six finalists will receive the Alex Buzo Shortlist Prize ($1,500). Winners of the Nib People’s Choice Prize ($4,000) and the Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award ($40,000) will be announced 9 November 2023.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, said Waverley Council is proud of its long history of supporting quality Australian literature and that it is thrilled to present one of the most prestigious and valuable literary awards in the country.

“Waverley’s role in directly supporting authors who capture stories from a very unique Australian perspective is what makes the Nib Award so very special,” Mayor Masselos said.

“We are delighted that from the record number of 239 nominations received this year, authors from across Australia including QLD, TAS, VIC, NSW and the ACT are in the longlist, including two from Sydney's eastern suburbs.

“I wish to thank the award’s principal sponsors, Mark and Evette Moran, for their ongoing support which has taken the Nib Award to a whole new level and presents new and possibly life-changing opportunities for our winning authors."

This year’s judging panel, which includes poet Jamie Grant, writer and novelist Katerina Cosgrove, and publisher Julia Carlomagno, congratulated this year’s longlisted authors, commending them for excelling amid a strong field of nominations.

“We are delighted with the fierce creativity and originality of the long-listed authors, with their unflinching research and evocative prose. Many of the long-listed books not only match but surpass our award guidelines, ranging from introspective, deeply felt works, to impassioned examinations of historical, social, and contemporary cultural issues to innovative narratives of family dynamics and hidden worlds. Combined, they give us a vivid picture of Australia and beyond.” The judges said.

The Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award is administered by Waverley Council with the generous support of Principal Sponsors Mark and Evette Moran, and the ongoing commitment of community partner Gertrude and Alice Bookshop and Café. Previous winners include Tim Low, Helen Garner, Gideon Haigh, Clare Wright and Delia Falconer.


Media inquiries: DMCPR Media T: 02 9550 9207 | E: debbie@dmcpr.com.au | M: 0412 818 071

Nib Award inquiries (excluding media): nibaward@waverley.nsw.gov.au.