The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction


Jennifer Down wins the 2018 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction

The winner of this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction is Jennifer Down for her second work of fiction, Pulse Points.

Pulse Points is a stunningly evocative collection of stories that depict people grappling with the small joys and deeper heartaches of everyday life. The judging panel praised Down’s masterful use of emotion and attention to detail in her prose, commenting that these are the ‘sorts of stories that leave bruises behind’.

Ellen Cregan, chair of the 2018 judging panel, says: ‘All of the stories in this collection are examples of the extent to which empathy can be employed in fiction – Down looks at human emotion under a microscope in each of these stories, but always does so with care and compassion. To read a story from Pulse Points is to feel it, too.’

You can read the full judges’ report here.

You can also listen to an interview with Down on the Readings Podcast, in which she discusses Pulse Points and the role of fiction in general.

Congratulations again to the five authors who were shortlisted alongside Down: Tracy Sorensen, Jamie Marina Lau, Robbie Arnott, Moreno Giovannoni and Shaun Prescott. You can read individual judges' comments for each of the shortlisted titles here.

The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction in 2019

The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction (originally known as the Readings New Australian Writing Award) was established in 2014 and recognises exciting and exceptional new contributions to local literature. First and second published works of fiction are eligible, and the Prize is awarded to the work of highest literary merit.

Every year, a shortlist of six titles is selected by a revolving panel of Readings staff. Once the shortlist has been decided, a guest judge then joins the panel to select a winner. In 2019, the winning author will receive prize money of $3000.

2019 judges include Alison Huber (Readings Carlton), Amanda Rayner (Readings Carlton), Sharon Peterson (Readings St Kilda) and Chris Gordon (Readings' Event Manager).

Eligibility Guidelines for 2019

  • The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction is open to a work of published fiction that may be a novel or a collection of short stories by a single author.
  • The author must be an Australian citizen or hold permanent residency at the time of entry.
  • The book must be the author’s first or second published work of fiction only.
  • Second or subsequent books in a series will not be considered.
  • Books published only in e-book form are not eligible to be entered.
  • Self-published works are not eligible to be entered.
  • Entries must be published in English.
  • Authors must be living at the date of publication.
  • Authors who win the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction will no longer be eligible for this Prize in future years.
  • To be eligible for the 2019 Prize, books must have been first published between 21 July 2018 and 24 July 2019.
  • Authors who are employed by Readings during the judging period for each year are not eligible for the Prize. For the 2019 Prize round, this period is from Thursday 21 July 2018, through to Thursday 31 October 2019.

Entry Guidelines for 2019

There is no process for entering the Prize. The judging panel, comprised of experienced Readings’ staff, will decide on eligible titles and invite respective publishers to submit no more than three reading copies of the nominated book for Prize consideration throughout the eligibility period. Further copies may be requested if the book is shortlisted.


Enquiries should be directed to the Prize Manager Bronte Coates at