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The Australian / Vogel National Literary Award (for an unpublished manuscript)
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award is given for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35. The winner's work is published by Allen & Unwin, and the winner also receives a cash prize, the amount of which has varied over time.

The award began in early 1980 when Niels Stevns, the owner of Vogel bread in Australia, approached the then literary editor of The Australian, Peter Ward, about collaborating on a cultural prize.

Stevns' approach to The Australian in 1980 was inspired by gratitude to his adopted land. As a lover of literature, he wanted to provide an opportunity specifically for young writers.

The award is a collaboration between Vogel's, The Australian and Allen & Unwin. Originally awarded for the best manuscript submitted by an author under 30, the age limit of the Award was increased to 35 in 1982.

The Vogel was not awarded in 1985, 2013, or 2019.

Sources include and 10/12/2013.)


  • The Australian/Vogel Literary Award began in early 1980 when 'Niels Stevns, the owner of Vogel bread in Australia, approached the literary editor of The Australian, Peter Ward, about collaborating on a cultural prize. [...] Following Stevns' call, Peter Ward rang Patrick Gallagher, Allen & Unwin's managing director, which led to the successful collaboration between Vogel, The Australian and Allen & Unwin - and to the birth of The Australian/Vogel Literary Award, with a prize of $10,000 provided by Vogels for the best manuscript submitted by an author under 30. The Australian undertook to promote the award and Allen & Unwin guaranteed to publish the winning manuscript. In 1982 the age limit of the Award was increased to 35...' and the prize money was increased several times in the following years.

    From 2010 onwards, the winning entry was not announced until the time of publication in May of the following year.

    (Source: Allen & Unwin's website,

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

joint winner Kgshak Akec for 'Hopeless Kingdom'.
winner y separately published work icon Now That I See You Emma Batchelor , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2021 21695577 2021 single work novel

'"In those first moments, that admission felt precious to me: it was something that I alone had been deemed worthy enough to carry and I was grateful. I was grateful to finally know, but I still couldn't speak."

'Something was wrong, she knew it, but she was entirely unprepared for what he would tell her.

'Viewed through the lens of a relationship breakdown after one partner discloses to the other that they are transgender, this autofiction spans eighteen months: from the moments of first discovery, through the eventual disintegration of their partnership, to the new beginnings of independence.

'In diaries and letters, Now That I See You unfolds a love story that, while often messy and uncomfortable, is a poignant and personal exploration of identity, gender, love and grief.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon A Treacherous Country K.M. Kruimink , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2020 19090323 2020 single work novel historical fiction

'Set in the 1800s, Gabriel Fox is newly arrived to Van Diemen’s Land from England. Drawn by the promise of his heart’s desire and compelled to distance himself from pain at home, Gabrielle is on a quest to find a woman called Maryanne Maginn. His guide, a cannibal who is not all he seems, leads him north. As Gabriel traverses this wild country, he uncovers new truths buried within his own memory.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon The Yellow House Emily O'Grady , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2018 13767453 2018 single work novel

'Even before I knew anything about Granddad Les, Wally and me sometimes dared each other to see how close to the knackery we could get. It was way out in the bottom paddock, and Dad had banned us from going further than the dam. Wally said it was because the whole paddock was haunted. He said he could see ghosts wisping in the grass like sheets blown from the washing line. But even then I knew for sure that was a lie.

'Ten-year-old Cub lives with her parents, older brother Cassie, and twin brother Wally on a lonely property bordering an abandoned cattle farm and knackery. Their lives are shadowed by the infamous actions of her Granddad Les in his yellow weatherboard house, just over the fence.

'Although Les died twelve years ago, his notoriety has grown in Cub's lifetime and the local community have ostracised the whole family.

'When Cub's estranged aunt Helena and cousin Tilly move next door into the yellow house, the secrets the family want to keep buried begin to bubble to the surface. And having been kept in the dark about her grandfather's crimes, Cub is now forced to come to terms with her family's murky history.

'The Yellow House is a powerful novel about loyalty and betrayal; about the legacies of violence and the possibilities of redemption.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2017

winner y separately published work icon The Lost Pages Marija Pericic , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2017 11086064 2017 single work novel historical fiction

'It is 1908, and Max Brod is the rising star of Prague’s literary world. Everything he desires—fame, respect, love—is finally within his reach. But when a rival appears on the scene, Max discovers how quickly he can lose everything he has worked so hard to attain. He knows that the newcomer, Franz Kafka, has the power to eclipse him for good, and he must decide to what lengths he will go to hold onto his success. But there is more to Franz than meets the eye, and Max, too, has secrets that are darker than even he knows, secrets that may in the end destroy both of them.

'The Lost Pages is a richly reimagined story of Max Brod’s life filtered through his relationship with Franz Kafka. In this inspired novel of friendship, fraud, madness and betrayal, Marija Pericicwrites vividly and compellingly of an extraordinary literary rivalry.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2016

winner y separately published work icon The Memory Artist Katherine Brabon , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2016 9511835 2016 single work novel

'How can hope exist when the past is so easily forgotten?

'Pasha Ivanov is a child of the Freeze, born in Moscow during Brezhnev's repressive rule over the Soviet Union. As a small child, Pasha sat at the kitchen table night after night as his parents and their friends gathered to preserve the memory of terrifying Stalinist violence, and to expose the continued harassment of dissidents.

'When Gorbachev promises glasnost, openness, Pasha, an eager twenty-four year old, longs to create art and to carry on the work of those who came before him. He writes; falls in love. Yet that hope, too, fragments and by 1999 Pasha lives a solitary life in St Petersburg. Until a phone call in the middle of the night acts as a summons both to Moscow and to memory.

'Through recollections and observation, Pasha walks through the landscapes of history, from concrete tower suburbs, to a summerhouse during Russia's white night summers, to haunting former prison camps in the Arctic north. Pasha's search to find meaning leads him to assemble a fractured story of Russia's traumatic past.' (Publication summary)

Works About this Award

y separately published work icon Allen & Unwin Allen and Unwin , Allen and Unwin , Z968222 website The site enables access to Allen & Unwin's current publications (searchable by genre) and provides information on authors via photographs and profiles. Due to it's role as promotor of the The Australian/Vogel Literary Award (and publisher of the winning entry), the Allen & Unwin site gives details of the history of the award and guidelines for submission of entries. The site also provides targeted resources for students, teachers and reading groups.
In the Right Hands Stephen Romei , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 18 April 2020; (p. 14)

'The Vogel award contenders are an impressive group of young Australian authors, writes Stephen Romei.'

No Vogel : We Are Not Worthy Andrew Roff , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin Online 2019;
Just Award the Vogel’s Already Jane Rawson , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , May 2019;

'In 2019, there will be no Vogel’s literary award. None of the manuscripts – the prize’s press release suggests – were up to scratch: ‘the judges’ decision speaks to their respect for the award and their desire to maintain the excellent standards of previous winning manuscripts.’ In other words: we’d be embarrassed to publish any of the submissions.' (Introduction)

Vogel Literary Prize Awarded to Brisbane Author Emily O'Grady Alice Matthews , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: ABC News [Online] , April 2018;

'A 10-year-old girl lives with her family on an abandoned cattle farm and knackery.

'She discovers her grandfather was a serial killer.

'That was the idea behind The Yellow House — the novel that won 26-year-old Brisbane author Emily O'Grady the prestigious Vogel Literary Award.'