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Blake Dawson Prize for Business Literature
or Ashurst Business Literature Prize
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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'The Ashurst Business Literature Prize is acknowledged as Australia’s most important award for business writing.

'The prestigious prize was originally established by law firm Ashurst (formerly Blake Dawson*) and the State Library of NSW to encourage the highest possible standards of literary commentary on Australian business and financial affairs written by an Australian author.

'In 2013, for the first time in its decade-long history, the Ashurst Business Literature Prize was expanded to include Australian authored works addressing international and global commercial life and its participants.

'The range of subjects covered by the prize includes corporate and commercial literature, histories, accounts and analyses of corporate affairs as well as biographies of business people. Authors must be Australian citizens or permanent residents in order to be eligible.

'On 1 March 2012, Blake Dawson combined its Asia practice with that of leading international law firm Ashurst and rebranded as Ashurst in Australia. Due to this rebranding, the former Blake Dawson Business Literature Prize is now known as the Ashurst Business Literature Prize.' (Award summary)


  • 'The annual Blake Dawson Waldron Prize for Business Literature was established to encourage the highest standards of commentary in the fields of business and finance. As such, the Prize is calculated to enable the general reader to be better informed about Australia's commercial life and participants in that life. The range of subjects covered by the Prize includes Australian corporate and commercial literature, histories, accounts and analyses of corporate affairs as well as biographies of business men and women.' (State Library of NSW website)

    The prize of $30,000 is administered by the State Library of NSW and awarded annually.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2010

winner y separately published work icon Who Wants to Be a Billionaire? Paul Barry , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2009 Z1634626 2009 single work biography

'Who Wants to be a Billionaire? is the story of James Packer's desperate battle to win his father's love and respect. It's also a tale of billion-dollar bets gone disastrously wrong. But above all it's the portrait of a troubled relationship between a dominant father and dutiful son.

'In this powerful sequel to his number one bestseller, The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer, Paul Barry shows how James's father kept his grip on the empire even as he lay close to death. And he reveals what drives his heir. As a child James was derided by Kerry as too soft, too close to his mother, or simply "a loser". Since then he has struggled to make his father proud - in the only way the Packers know - by making money.

'Having seen Kerry lose hundreds of millions in the world's casinos, James chose to bet billions of dollars on buying them instead. Then came the global financial crisis and he almost lost the lot. As markets hit rock bottom in early 2009, Australia's richest man was $4 billion poorer and no longer on top of the heap. He was smoking again, putting on weight and shutting himself off from friends.

'Years earlier, far smaller losses in One.Tel had pushed him to the brink of a nervous breakdown and made him seek salvation in Scientology. Can James survive this time? Will he bounce back? Or was his father right? (From the publisher's website.)

Year: 2008

winner y separately published work icon Funny Business Leonie Wood , Crows Nest : Arena , 2007 Z1442770 2007 single work biography

'Steve Vizard had it all: wealth, fame and power, in equal and impressive proportions

'Once a popular, fast-quipping TV comedian and Gold Logie winner, a lawyer and much-loved family man who had even been crowned Father of the Year', Vizard had become a trusted community hero. On the boards of countless companies, including Telstra, Vizard seemed to be involved in every aspect of public and corporate life. And through the charitable Vizard Foundation, he was seen to foster art and other good causes.

'Then some curious cheque transactions and the discovery of six mysterious paintings in Vizard's personal records triggered investigations into Vizard's former bookkeeper, Roy Hilliard, who, it turned out, had swindled close to $3 million from Vizard over several years. But Hilliard knew lots of secrets about his old boss, and when faced with criminal charges he hit back hard, accusing the businessman of illegal share deals and more. He portrayed Vizard as a master of deception whose public image was a charade; Hilliard depicted himself as merely the businessman's dupe. Vizard, however, saw it very differently.

'In this compelling story of Vizard's fall from grace, Leonie Wood seeks to uncover the man behind the public persona, and to answer the question on the lips of many: why did he do it? Was it greed, audacity or sheer stupidity? And what do we really know about Steve Vizard?' (Publisher's blurb)

Year: 2005

inaugural winner y separately published work icon Allan Fels : A Portrait of Power Fred Brenchley , Milton : John Wiley and Sons , 2003 Z1066423 2003 single work biography

Works About this Award

Footnotes : Down to Business Marc McEvoy , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: Sun-Herald , 12 February 2012; (p. 7)
Undercover Susan Wyndham , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 28-29 April 2007; (p. 30)
A column canvassing current literary news including the announcement of the winner of the 2006 Blake Dawson Waldron Prize for Business Literature (Gideon Haigh for Asbestos House) and news of the advance paid to Chloe Hooper by Penguin for her next two novels.
Literary Prize Winners 2005 single work column
— Appears in: Upfront , July vol. 17 no. 2 2005; (p. 15)