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The Barbara Ramsden Award is sponsored by the Fellowship of Australian Writers as part of the National Literary Awards. It is a major literary award for a book of quality writing in any field of literature, and it recognises the contributions by both author and editor in producing the final product.

The award, named after esteemed Melbourne editor B. M. Ramsden, started in 1971 and ran until 1992. It was revived in 2006 with the support of the Society of Editors (Victoria) Inc.

This award was cancelled in 2016.


  • Created in 1971 by the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW), the Barbara Ramsden Award commemorates the editor, Barbara Ramsden (q.v.) and is awarded jointly to the author and publisher's editor.

    The Award was presented annually from 1971 to 1994, and again from 2007.

    Awards can be for fiction or nonfiction and AustLit records awards in scope.

    The Award to publisher's editor is recorded on the agent record for the editor.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2015

winner y separately published work icon Under Cover : Adventures in the Art of Editing Craig Munro , Carlton North : Scribe , 2015 8873794 2015 single work autobiography

'Craig Munro began his blue-pencil adventures at the University of Queensland Press in 1971. Over the next thirty years, he became friend, counsellor, and occasionally foil to some of the country's leading authors.

'From a champagne-fuelled telegram to Patrick White to a run-in with Xavier Herbert, Craig's editorial life was punctuated by encounters with remarkable writers. Championing the early works of Peter Carey, right up to the Booker–winning True History of the Kelly Gang, Craig also edited David Malouf's first novel, Johnno. He was teased by Murray Bail's tantalising mind games, discovered a passion for Olga Masters' fiction, and helped create UQP's acclaimed Indigenous list.

'Blending book history with memoir, Under Cover explores the invisible art of editing from an insider's perspective. Told with warmth and humour, it is a wise, entertaining tour of three audacious, intoxicating, and ultimately inspiring decades of publishing mayhem.

Jointly awarded to the author Craig Monro and his editor Julia Carlomagno.

Year: 2014

winner y separately published work icon Gough Whitlam : His Time : Volume 2 Jenny Hocking , Carlton : Melbourne University Publishing , 2012 18722676 2012 single work biography

'The much-anticipated second volume of former labor prime minister Gough Whitlam's biography.
'In the first volume acclaimed biographer Jenny Hocking illuminated Whitlam's path to power, and here she recreates the excitement of Whitlam's historic win in 1972, the forces that never accepted his ascendency and the tragedy that followed. Drawing on previously unseen archival material, extensive interviews with family and colleagues as well as exclusive interviews with the man himself, this second volume finally exposes the truth about the Whitlam years.' (Publisher's blurb)

Year: 2013

winner y separately published work icon Lightning Felicity Volk , Sydney : Pan Macmillan , 2013 Z1930741 2013 single work novel fantasy young adult 'Amid the chaos of sweeping bushfires, Persia gives birth alone at home with tragic consequences. Traumatised and grieving, she travels north, and encounters Ahmed, a refugee fleeing deportation and his past in Pakistan. So begins a road trip to the dead heart of Australia, a journey that transcends the limits of ordinary experience. In Persia and Ahmed's world, ancient winds wreak havoc across generations, lightning ignites flames that both destroy and rejuvenate, and water drowns then delivers. Hearts break, days are leavened with loss, laughter kills and cinnamon preserves. Lightning is an odyssey across continents and centuries that explores identity and connection, and our yearning to reveal ourselves even when cloaked in crippling grief. A glorious feat of magic realism, and a moving meditation on finding hope in the rubble of our lives, Lightning celebrates the way our stories and their telling keep us alive when all else is pulling us under.' (Publisher's blurb)

Year: 2012

winner y separately published work icon The Ink Bridge Neil Grant , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012 Z1851319 2012 single work novel young adult

'Each step becomes a heartbeat and I feel the distance between Omed and me closing. I remember when I first met him - when he had showed me what bravery meant. How he had stood up for what he believed. In the end that had been his undoing.

'Omed is a boy from Afghanistan. After making an enemy of the Taliban on the day the Buddhas of Bamiyan are destroyed, he undertakes a perilous journey to seek asylum in Australia. Hector is a grieving Australian boy who has given up on school and retreated into silence. Their paths meet at a candle factory where they both find work. But secrets fester behind the monotonous routine of assembling wax and wicks - secrets with terrible consequences. And, ultimately, it is up to Hector to see how the story ends.

'Omed's and Hector's beautifully told and compelling journeys will grip hold of your heart and not let go.' (From the publisher's website.)

Year: 2011

winner y separately published work icon In Bligh's Hand : Surviving the Mutiny on the Bounty Jennifer Gall , William Bligh , Canberra : National Library of Australia , 2010 Z1839609 2010 single work biography Centred on the notebook written at sea by Captain William Bligh immediately after the mutiny on the Bounty.

Works About this Award

Henshaw Wins Literary Award Robert Hefner , 1994 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 10 February 1994; (p. 4)
Author's Insight Impresses Judges 1993 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The West Australian , 19 November 1993; (p. 4)