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Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction (1979-)
Subcategory of New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards
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Notes

  • Awarded to a published work of non-fiction; for example, a biography, autobiography or work of history, philosophy or literary criticism.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2022

winner Kate Holden for 'The Winter Road'.

Year: 2021

winner Kate Fullagar for 'The Warrior, the Voyager, and the Artist: Three lives in an age of empire'.

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon Tiberius with a Telephone : The Life and Stories of William McMahon Patrick Mullins , Melbourne : Scribe , 2018 13911959 2018 single work biography

'The oddly compelling story of a man regarded as Australia’s worst prime minister.

'William McMahon was a significant, if widely derided and disliked, figure in Australian politics in the second half of the twentieth century. This biography tells the story of his life, his career, and his doomed attempts to recast views of his much-maligned time as Australia’s prime minister.

'In office, McMahon worked furiously to enact an agenda that grappled with the profound changes reshaping Australia. He withdrew combat forces from Vietnam, legislated for Commonwealth government involvement in childcare, established the first Department of the Environment, and accelerated the timetable for the independence of Papua New Guinea. But his failures would overshadow his successes, and by the time of the 1972 election McMahon would lead a divided, tired, and rancorous party to defeat.

'A man whose life was coloured by tragedy, comedy, persistence, courage, farce, and failure, McMahon’s story has never been told at length. Tiberius with a Telephone fills that gap, using deep archival research and extensive interviews with McMahon’s contemporaries and colleagues. It is a tour de force — an authoritative, compelling, and colourful account of a unique politician and a vital period in Australia’s history.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

joint winner y separately published work icon Deep Time Dreaming : Uncovering Ancient Australia Billy Griffiths , Carlton : Black Inc. , 2018 12791018 2018 single work autobiography

'Soon after Billy Griffiths joins his first archaeological dig as camp manager and cook, he is hooked. Equipped with a historian’s inquiring mind, he embarks on a journey through time, seeking to understand the extraordinary deep history of the Australian continent.

'Deep Time Dreaming is the passionate product of that journey. It investigates a twin revolution: the reassertion of Aboriginal identity in the second half of the twentieth century, and the uncovering of the traces of ancient Australia.

'It explores what it means to live in a place of great antiquity, with its complex questions of ownership and belonging. It is about a slow shift in national consciousness: the deep time dreaming that has changed the way many of us relate to this continent and its enduring, dynamic human history.' (Publication summary)

With The Trauma Cleaner.
joint winner y separately published work icon The Trauma Cleaner The Trauma Cleaner : One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster Sarah Krasnostein , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 11873511 2017 single work biography

'I call my dad from the car and ask him about his morning, tell him about mine.

'‘What kind of hoarder was she?’ he asks.

'‘Books and cats, mainly,’ I tell the man who loves his cats and who I know is now actively considering his extensive book collection.

'‘What’s the difference between a private library and a book hoarder?’ he wonders.

'We are both silent before we laugh and answer in unison: ‘Faeces.’

'But the difference is this phone call. And the others like it I could make—and how strong we are when we are loved.

'Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife…

'But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

'A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his loungeroom. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

'Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead—and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

With Deep Time Dreaming.

Year: 2017

winner y separately published work icon Our Man Elsewhere : In Search of Alan Moorehead Thornton McCamish , Carlton : Black Inc. , 2016 9320028 2016 single work biography

'A world-famous Australian writer, an inspiration to Robert Hughes and Clive James, a legendary war correspondent who also wrote bestselling histories of exploration and conservation . . . and yet forgotten? In this dazzling book, Thornton McCamish delves into the past to reclaim a remarkable figure, Alan Moorehead.

'As a reporter, Moorehead witnessed many of the great historical events of the mid-20th century: the Spanish Civil War and both world wars, Cold War espionage, and decolonisation in Africa. He debated strategy with Churchill and Gandhi, fished with Hemingway, and drank with Graham Greene, Ava Gardner and Truman Capote. As well as being a regular contributor to the New Yorker, in 1956 Moorehead wrote the first significant book about the Gallipoli campaign.

'With its countless adventures, its touch of jet-set glamour and its tragic arc, Moorehead’s story is a beguiling one. Thornton McCamish tells it as a quest – intimate, perceptive and superbly entertaining. His funny, ardent book reveals an extraordinary Australian and takes its place in a fresh tradition of contemporary biography.' (Publication summary)

Works About this Award

Untitled R. K. Barnes , 2011 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 28 - 29 May 2011; (p. 15)
Fraser's Unreliable Memoirs Rewrite History Books Greg Sheridan , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 26 May 2011; (p. 12)
Biography a Finalist for Illustrious Award Anthony Marx , 1995 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 25 August 1995; (p. 4)
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