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The Australian / Vogel National Literary Award (for an unpublished manuscript) (1980-)
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The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award is given for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35.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: 2023

winner y separately published work icon Immaculate Anna McGahan , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2023 26396964 2023 single work novel

'All Frances wants is a cure for her daughter, but that would take a miracle, and miracles aren't something Frances believes in anymore.

'Newly divorced from her pastor ex-husband and excommunicated from the church community she once worked within, she wrestles alone with the prognosis of her terminally ill child. Any suggestion of 'divine intervention' is salt in the wound of her grief. So when Frances is forced to take in a homeless and pregnant teenage girl who claims to have had an immaculate conception, she's deeply challenged.

'But sixteen-year-old Mary is not who she seems, and soon opens the door to perspectives that profoundly shift Frances's sense of reality, triggering a chain of astonishing events. It seems that where there is the greatest suffering lies an unexpected magic. Frances begins to hold hope for her family's future, but the miracle prayed for is not always the one received.

'Immaculate is a provocative and tender exploration of loss, identity and healing, and the secret worlds we hide within in order to survive.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2022

winner y separately published work icon A Place Near Eden Nell Pierce , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2022 24504704 2022 single work novel

'How can we know the truth of our own lives? This question troubles Matilda, as she looks back on her time with her foster brother, Sem. Matilda remembers long hours at the swimming pool. Celeste, a girl who lived downstairs with her artist mother. Sem disappearing for hours, then days. Her father yelling in the driveway. A car coming to take Sem away.

'Five years later, Matilda lives in Melbourne with her mother. Sem is now a memory she has locked away. Until, at a party, Matilda reconnects with Celeste and then Sem. Celeste and Matilda move out to the coast near Eden to house-sit. Sem follows, but as the long summer drags on, the atmosphere in the house becomes claustrophobic. When Sem starts disappearing again, Matilda finds herself on unsteady ground, haunted by their past.

'One morning, after a night at the pub, Matilda wakes up scratched and hungover, with no memory of the previous night. Sem is once again gone. This time, for good. Matilda becomes consumed by an obsession to know if she is responsible for Sem's disappearance. But the truth struggles to fit into a neat story.

'Part absorbing mystery, part riveting family drama, A Place Near Eden is a story of the pursuit of truth and the ways we fail those we love.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2021

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)

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 its 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.

Eyes on the Prize Caroline Overington , 2023 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 17-18 June 2023; (p. 7)
A Book Deal Can Change Your Life Caroline Overington , 2023 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 4 February 2023; (p. 17)
Unanimous Decision on Vogel Award Caroline Overington , 2022 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 7 May 2022; (p. 18)
Come Writers and Critics Caroline Overington , 2022 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 7 May 2022; (p. 15)