More promotion of Australian literary awards benefits authors

28 January 2023

Louise Adler, director of Adelaide Writers’ Week, talking to Katrina Strickland, editor of Good Weekend, laments the lack of wider excitement generated by literary awards in Australia:

“We adore it when our authors win awards but, actually, often they do not translate into sales,” she says, pointing to the way the UK book industry gets behind the Booker Prize longlisted and shortlisted authors. “When the longlist for the Booker is announced the books on it are heavily promoted, booksellers get behind it, publishers get behind it, and then the shortlist is promoted heavily, too. And there’s lots and lots of discussion about them.”

It’s unfortunate Australian literary awards don’t have quite the same buzz surrounding them as the Booker Prize in the UK appears to. While the shortlists, and winners of prizes such as the Stella and Miles Franklin, make headlines when announced, they soon fall out of the news cycle.

No doubt the larger population of the UK, compared to Australia, makes a difference, and Australian authors recognised by local literary awards see a spike in book sales. Still, I doubt it’s anything like the “Booker boost” that writers named on the long and shortlists — and of course, the winner — of the Booker, enjoy.


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