> Skip to content

News  •  15 June 2022


Penguin Literary Prize 2022 Winner Announced

And the winner is . . . Annette Higgs!

Penguin Random House is delighted to announce the 2022 Penguin Literary Prize winner: On a Bright Hillside in Paradise by Annette Higgs.

‘Winning the Penguin Literary Prize is such an honour,’ says Annette. ‘I’m so thrilled – my feet haven’t yet touched the ground. I spent years writing the novel, sinking so much of myself into it, and wondering all the time if anyone would ever read it. To have this story launched into the world, and with such recognition, is the culmination of all my dreams for it.’

Penguin Random House (PRH) launched the prize in 2018 as a way to find, nurture, and develop new Australian authors of literary fiction. 2022 marks the fifth year of the competition, with past winners including Hitch by Kathryn Hind, The Spill by Imbi Neeme, The Rabbits by Sophie Overett, and Denizen by James McKenzie Watson.

This year's winner, Annette, is joining this list of past winners in an exciting and exclusive club, but the prize is more than just recognition. In addition to a $20,000 award, she will also have her book published by Penguin Random House Australia in 2023.

‘I can’t wait to work with PRH to introduce my characters to readers,’ Annette affirms. ‘I feel as if I’ve been channelling their voices onto the page and at last, they’ll be able to join a wider conversation with readers. Heartfelt thanks to the judges for reading and selecting my novel and congratulations to all the shortlistees.’

With an impressive list of shortlisted titles this year, it was by no means an easy decision for judges to select just one winner. Representing both PRH and the Australian book industry at large, the judging panel included Justin Ractliffe and Meredith Curnow from PRH Australia; Kate Mayor, National Category Manager (Fiction & Travel) from Dymocks in Sydney; Alexander Okenyo, Owner of Black Swan Bookshop in New Norfolk Tasmania; and Genevieve Kruyssen, winner of the ABA Young Bookseller of the Year and Events Manager/Bookseller at Where the Wild Things Are bookshop.

‘There were six very strong shortlisted titles,’ says Ractliffe. ‘In the end, though, On a Bright Hillside in Paradise triumphed because of its distinctive voice, innovative structure, lucid prose and crystal-clear evocation of a time, place and lived experience so close to ours and yet so far away. It tackles big questions of faith and family but is always grounded in the dreams and strivings of its beautifully drawn characters. Higgs takes lives that history might have judged as small and imbues them with immense dignity and complex and compelling inner lives. It’s a brilliant winner and I congratulate Annette on her achievement and thank the judges for their insight and avid engagement with the process.’

Another judge, Okenyo, agrees: ‘Higgs draws her characters with clarity and truth, and pitches the narrative forward with a quiet but deep rhythm belonging to the time and landscape she describes. What we want for them is what we want for ourselves, to find a place in our family, our community and our time.’

As the 2022 Penguin Literary Prize draws to a close, this is only the beginning of this novel's story. While we wait in anticipation for the publication of On a Bright Hillside in Paradise, the cycle of the Penguin Literary Prize will continue.

The next round of submissions will open later this year, so keep your eyes peeled for future announcements and updates.

More features

See all
Submissions open for the 2022 Penguin Literary Prize

We're on the lookout for aspiring authors wanting to tell their story.

Penguin Random House wins Publisher of the Year

Penguin Random House was named Publisher of the Year at the 2022 Australian Book Industry Awards. Thank you to all of the authors, agents, booksellers, suppliers, staff and our amazing readers who made it possible. 

2022 ABIAs shortlist announced

Winners to be announced on Thursday 9 June.

Acknowledgement of Country now in local titles and audiobooks

The new addition is an important opportunity to show respect for Traditional Owners.

Reese Witherspoon's debut picture book announced

Busy Betty features a creative, curious, and exuberant young girl who has big plans.

CBCA Book Award Notables 2022

Fourteen Penguin and Puffin books have been selected for the CBCA Book Awards Notables list.

Netflix film inspired by The Power of the Dog leads Oscar nominations

The movie based on Thomas Savage's dark poetic tale has received 12 Academy Award nominations.

Legend Nat's What I Reckon wins 2021 FAB Award

Hey champions, Nat's What I Reckon has won the Booktopia award for the second year in a row.

Edgy new murder mystery optioned for TV series

Benjamin Stevenson's new book Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone is set to become a limited series.

Indie Book Awards 2022 shortlist revealed

We're excited to announce four of our authors have made it to the shortlist.

Indie Book Awards 2022 longlist announced

Congratulations to our five authors who have been longlisted for the awards.

Looking for more news?

See all news