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Kathleen Mitchell Literary Award
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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Established in 1996, the Kathleen Mitchell Award is an Australian literature prize for young authors. It is awarded only every second year.

The prize was established under the will of Kathleen Mitchell with the following aim: 'the advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian literature, to improve the educational style of the authors, and to provide them with additional amounts and thus enable them to improve their literary efforts'.

The prize is managed by The Trust Company, and is awarded to the novel of the highest literary merit published by an author under 30.

The Kathleen Mitchell Award was not awarded in 2016.

Source: Sighted: 26/11/2013.


  • 'The Kathleen Mitchell Award is an Award dedicated to encourage young Australian authors to achieve their dreams.

    'Established by the will of the late Kathleen Adele Mitchell who directed the Award to encourage "the advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian literature, to improve the educational style of the authors and to provide them with additional amounts and thus enable them to improve their literary efforts". First established in 1996, the Award is a biennial award with prize money being $7,500.'

    (No award was made in 2002.)

    Source: Trust website:
    Sighted: 17/05/2006

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon Invisible Boys Holden Sheppard , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 2019 16815108 2019 single work novel young adult

'In a small town, everyone thinks they know you: Charlie is a hardcore rocker, who's not as tough as he looks. Hammer is a footy jock with big AFL dreams, and an even bigger ego. Zeke is a shy over-achiever, never macho enough for his family. But all three boys hide who they really are. When the truth is revealed, will it set them free or blow them apart?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2014

winner y separately published work icon Beneath the Darkening Sky Majok Tulba , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2012 Z1871105 2012 single work novel When the rebels come to Obinna's village, they do more than wreak terror for one night. Lining the children up in the middle of the village, they measure them against the height of an AK-47. Those who are shorter than the gun are left behind. Those who are taller are taken. Obinna and his older brother Akot find themselves the rebel army's newest recruits. But while Akot almost willingly surrenders to the training, Obinna resists, determined not to be warped by the revolution's slogans and violence. In the face of his vicious captain's determination to break him, Obinna finds help in a soldier called Priest, and in the power of his own dreams. Beneath the Darkening Sky describes a life unimaginably different from our own, but one that is the experience of tens of thousands of child soldiers. Uncompromising, vivid and raw, it is an astonishing portrait of a mind trying to make sense of a senseless world' (Publisher website).

Majok Tulba talks about and reads from his book here.

Year: 2012

winner y separately published work icon Berlin Syndrome Melanie Joosten , Carlton North : Scribe , 2011 Z1773756 2011 single work novel thriller

'2006, Berlin. The once-divided city still holds its share of secrets.

'One afternoon, near the tourist trap of Checkpoint Charlie, Clare meets Andi. He's a native Berliner and English teacher; she's an architectural photographer who has taken leave from her job in Australia to travel through Eastern Europe. There is an instant attraction, and when Andi invites her to stay, Clare thinks she may finally have found somewhere to call home.

'But as the days pass and the walls of Andi's apartment close in, Clare begins to wonder if it's really love that Andi is after ... or something more sinister.' (From the publisher's website.)

Year: 2010

winner y separately published work icon The Boat Nam Le , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2008 Z1495449 2008 selected work short story (taught in 42 units)

'In the magnificent opening story, "Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice," a young writer is urged by his friends to mine his father's experiences in Vietnam - and what seems at first a satire on turning one's life into literary commerce becomes a transcendent exploration of homeland, and the ties between father and son. "Cartagena" provides a visceral glimpse of life in Colombia as it enters the mind of a fourteen-year-old hit man facing the ultimate test. In "Meeting Elise" an ageing New York painter mourns his body's decline as he prepares to meet his daughter on the eve of her Carnegie Hall debut. And with graceful symmetry, the final, title story returns to Vietnam, to a fishing trawler crowded with refugees where a young woman's bond with a mother and her small son forces both women to a shattering decision.' (From the author's website.)

Works About this Award

Joosten Time Marc McEvoy , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 17 June 2012; (p. 19)
Writer's Voices Convince Judges Claire Low , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 11 May 2010; (p. 3)
Abdel-Fattah Wins Kathleen Mitchell Award 2008 single work column
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , July vol. 88 no. 1 2008; (p. 6)
Award-Winning Author on the Write Side of 30 Susan Wyndham , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 5 May 2006; (p. 12)
Bookmarks : Lehmann Wins but Young Writers in Short Supply Jason Steger , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 1 May 2004; (p. 6)