Four former winners of the Miles Franklin Literary Award have been named on the shortlist for the 2018 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. Steven Carroll, Michelle de Kretser, Sofie Laguna and Kim Scott are joined on the fiction list by Melanie Cheng, who last year won the premier's award for an unpublished manuscript, and Michael Sala.
But several big stars of the Australian literary sphere who have published new fiction this year - Booker Prize winners Peter Carey and Richard Flanagan, and double Miles Franklin winner Alex Miller - failed to make the cut.
The non-fiction list includes the posthumous work from Georgia Blain, who last year won the Premier's fiction prize only a few weeks after she died. It is a diverse list with the latest work by former Miles Franklin winner and the new Boisbouvier Chair of Australian Literature at Melbourne University, Alex Wright, an award-winning investigation of anaesthetics, and a biography of African American singer and political activitist Paul Robeson.
The winners of the five categories - fiction, poetry, non-fiction, drama, and writing for young adults - along with the previously announced winner of the Premier's unpublished manuscript award, Christian White, each receive $25,000 and will be considered for the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature. The prizes are open to work published this year and winners will be announced on February 1.
The full shortlists are as follows. Fiction: A New England Affair, Steven Carroll; Australia Day, Melanie Cheng; The Life to Come, Michelle de Kretser; The Choke, Sofie Laguna; The Restorer, Michael Sala; Taboo, Kim Scott.
Non-Fiction: The Museum of Words: A Memoir of Language, Writing and Mortality, Georgia Blain; Anaesthesia: The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness, Kate Cole-Adams; The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman's Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster, Sarah Krasnostein; For a Girl: A True Story of Secrets, Motherhood and Hope, Mary-Rose MacColl; No Way But This: In Search of Paul Robeson, Jeff Sparrow; Tracker, Alexis Wright.
Drama: Rice, Michele Lee; Black is the New White, Nakkiah Lui; The Rasputin Affair, Kate Mulvany.
Poetry: Argosy, Bella Li; The Metronome, Jennifer Maiden; redactor, Eddie Paterson.
Young Adults: Living on Hope Street, Demet Divaroren; Ida, Alison Evans; Because of You, Pip Harry.