The Victorian Premier's Literary Awards were created by the Victorian Government with the aim of raising the profile of contemporary creative writing and Australia's publishing industry. As of 2013, it is reportedly Australia's richest literary prize with the top winner receiving A$125,000 and category winners A$25,000 each.
They were established in 1985 by John Cain, the Premier of Victoria at that time, to mark the centenary of the births of Vance and Nettie Palmer, two of Australia's best-known writers and critics who both made significant contributions to Victorian and Australian literary culture.
From 1986 through till 1997 they were presented as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival. In 1997 the administration of the awards was transferred to the State Library of Victoria. By 2004 the award's total prize money was A$180,000. In 2011 stewardship was taken over by the Wheeler Centre.
Beginning in 2011, the awards were restructured into 5 categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Drama and Young People's. The winner of each receives $25,000. Of those 5 winners, one is chosen as the overall winner of the Victorian Prize for Literature and receives an additional $100,000. There are two other categories with different prize amounts: An honorary People's Choice Award voted on by readers. And a Unpublished Manuscript Award with a prize amount of $15,000.
Shortlists are maintained in the main article for each category.
From 1985 to 2010 prizes were offered in some or all of the below categories.
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