Penguin News

Catch up on all the latest news from Penguin Random House Australia including award winning authors, illustrators, designers, publishers and other publishing industry and book related news.

Joan London wins the 2015 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction
15 Dec 2015

The Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, presented West Australian author Joan London with the 2015 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction for her acclaimed novel, The Golden Age, at a ceremony in Sydney on Monday 14 December.

Set in a convalescent home for polio-stricken children in Perth in the 1950s, The Golden Age tells the story of the passionate bond between thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, son of Hungarian refugees, and his fellow patient, Elsa, as they negotiate the changing world around them.

Describing Joan London’s third novel as one “of great beauty and depth” the Prime Minister’s Award judges explain how The Golden Age “is in fact a large novel writ small. Frank Gold, the young son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, is confined to a convalescent home for polio victims. Within this severely limited environment, Frank will discover love, death and his vocation as a poet. An encounter with Sullivan, an eighteen-year-old scholar-athlete who composes poetry in his head, while entombed in an iron lung, will teach Frank about the value of the life of the mind. In recording this young man's poetry on prescription pads, Frank will learn how poetry is made and also about its capacity to make sense of oneself and the world. Love for a fellow child patient will also shape the poet-in-making, as will the complicated bonds between the protagonist and his deeply deracinated parents wrestling with the trauma of displacement from cosmopolitan Budapest to suburbia. Joan London's novel takes the restricting condition of illness as its starting point and weaves a story of irreducibly powerful emotion. This is a grand narrative written on a most intimate and modest canvas.”

Reflecting on being chosen as the Fiction category winner, Joan London says, “To win an award sponsored by and named for the Prime Minister is a fantastic affirmation of the role of literature in our country and I feel pride to be part of its history.” 

This is the fourth major literary prize for The Golden Age, which has also won the 2015 Queensland Literary Award for Fiction, the 2015 NSW Premier’s People’s Choice Award (joint winner) and the 2015 Kibble Literary Award, as well as being shortlisted for the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award, The Stella Prize, ALS Gold Medal, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards – Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, The Asher Literary Award and the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year.   

Joan’s publisher, Nikki Christer, Publishing Director, Random House Australia, says: “I am truly proud to have published Joan London’s beautiful novel, The Golden Age, and am delighted that it is receiving the accolades it so deserves.” 

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards celebrate the contribution of Australian literature to the nation's cultural and intellectual life and the Prime Minister’s office has commended this year’s winners “for sharing Australian stories which capture the complexity of contemporary life and insightfully reflect on the past. From a children’s book set on the shores of Gallipoli, to the collected works of a distinguished Australian poet, these books demonstrate the breadth and creativity of Australia’s literary sector.”


For more information on all the Prime Minister’s Literary Award winners:

Peter Greste wins 2015 Human Rights Medal
10 Dec 2015

Peter Greste, the Australian journalist who focussed the nation’s attention on media freedom, has won the prestigious 2015 Australian Human Rights Medal.

The President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, presented the Human Rights Medal today at the 2015 Human Rights Awards.

A record-breaking crowd of more than 500 people attended the annual awards, hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission at the Westin Hotel in Sydney to mark International Human Rights Day.

Craig Reucassel from The Chaser emceed the celebrations, and Professor Triggs delivered a keynote speech on the future of human rights in Australia.

In presenting the Human Rights Medal, Professor Triggs described Mr Greste as a humble and inspiring individual who fought for freedom and justice.

“Journalists must be free to report news and criticise governments without fear of punishment,” Professor Triggs said.

“After his release from prison in Egypt, where he was imprisoned for allegedly spreading false news, Mr Greste campaigned tirelessly for the release of his colleagues, and campaigned for freedom of speech as a cornerstone of democratic societies.”

Professor Triggs also congratulated the winners of six other Human Rights Awards, including 23-year-old Yen Eriksen, who won the Young People’s Human Rights Medal.

“These outstanding Australians have come from different walks of life but they share a commitment to freedom, justice and equality,” Professor Triggs said.

“We honour all of our 2015 Human Rights Awards winners for their commitment to protecting and advancing human rights in Australia.

“We also acknowledge and thank all of the people and organisations who nominated for this year’s awards and who attended the presentation today,” Professor Triggs said.

“We received an unprecedented 329 nominations for the 2015 Human Rights Awards and I congratulate the more than 500 people who came today to join these celebrations. These are record numbers, and they highlight the wide-ranging support for human rights that exists at all levels of the community.”

Find more information about the 2015 Human Rights Awards here.

2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards Shortlist Announced
07 Dec 2015

Congratulations to the following Penguin Random House authors shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. 

The Prize for Fiction

CLADE by James Bradley

Highly commended: SIX BEDROOMS by Tegan Bennett Daylight

The Prize for Non-fiction


SECOND HALF FIRST by Drusilla Modjeska


The works comprise some of the best fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and writing for young adults produced in Australia in the past 12 months.

“The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards showcase the strength and diversity of Australian literature, celebrating our most exciting stories and story tellers”, said the Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley.

The winners of the five award categories – fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and writing for young adults – each receive a prize of $25,000, and go on to contest the Victorian Prize for Literature. 

The public are encouraged to participate in the Awards by voting for their favorite shortlisted work. The winner of the $2,000 People’s Choice Award will be named alongside the main category winners on Thursday 28 January 2016.

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards were established by the then Labor Government in 1985 to honour literary achievement by Australian writers. The Awards are administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.

Senior Appointments at Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand
04 Dec 2015

Senior Appointments at Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand

Julie Burland, CEO, Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand, today announced several senior appointments for the company.

Gavin Schwarcz is appointed Sales and Operations Director, Penguin Random House Australia. Gavin, previously Sales Director, Penguin Random House Australia with responsibility for Product & List Management, now also takes overall responsibility for the company’s Distribution, Production and Penguin Random House Business Development teams. Gavin joined Random House in 1991 as a Sales Account Manager and during 23 years he successfully steered its Field Sales, then Product, and Sales departments, before taking up his Group role in 2014. Gavin will work closely with Matt O’Brien, Head of Supply Chain & Logistics, to deliver the best distribution solutions for Penguin Random House and its client publishers.

Alysha Farry, previously Head of Consumer Marketing, Penguin Books Australia, becomes Marketing Director, Penguin Random House Australia. In her 7 years first with Random House and then Penguin, Alysha has masterminded publicity and marketing campaigns for authors including Nigella Lawson, Curtis Stone, Ben Elton and Michelle Bridges. In her new role, Alysha will lead a team of consumer experts responsible for capturing readers’ attention for authors and books in ever more imaginative and exciting new ways.

Karen Reid is promoted to Publicity and Communications Director, Penguin Random House Australia. During 23 years in publicity, first with Transworld and most recently as Head of Marketing and Publicity, Random House Books, Karen has delivered show-stopping international campaigns for authors including Bill Bryson, Ruth Rendell, Richard Flanagan and Julia Gillard. Karen will now lead a fully integrated Publicity team, working across the unrivalled Penguin and Random House adult lists, to connect authors with as many readers as possible. She will also deliver the company’s corporate communications.

Dorothy Tonkin is promoted to Head of Children’s Marketing and Publicity, Penguin Random House Australia. Dot, who previously held the role of Children's Marketing and Publicity Manager, Random House Australia, will lead a specialist cross-company Children’s marketing and publicity team, drawing on her extensive experience of working with Children’s authors and brands as diverse as Jacqueline Harvey, John Flanagan and Christopher Paolini, to help tomorrow’s readers discover stories they love.

In HR, Belinda Hansen is appointed Human Resources Director, Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand. Belinda was instrumental in bringing together an integrated HR team following the merger of Penguin and Random House and in her three years as Head of Human Resources, Random House Australia, colleagues across the Group have benefitted from her expert counsel in HR issues, change management and organisational design.

Each of these senior appointments will report to Julie Burland, CEO, Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand, and is effective immediately.

Alongside these internal promotions, Richard Alweyn, previously Vice President Finance at CEVA Logistics, will join the company as Chief Financial Officer, Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand, on 21st December. Richard has 25 years’ experience in wide-ranging, strategic business and finance roles at multinational companies including CEVA, PMP, Monsanto Australia and Mobil Oil Australia.  He will take responsibility for Finance, Commercial, IT, Facilities and APAC Services, reporting to Julie Burland, and will be focused on driving greater efficiency and profitability in the business.

Julie Burland said:  “I am delighted to announce these much-deserved promotions and appointments. Here, we have the perfect blend of long-serving talent with strong industry relationships and fresh expertise and perspectives to support our wonderful publishing programme, grow our distribution business, and strengthen our open and creative culture.

“At Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand, we all share the same passion for books and authors and connecting them with readers everywhere. This new structure gives our brilliantly talented teams the opportunity to work more closely and creatively with each other and our authors and readers to achieve this with even greater success.”

These appointments follow a restructure announcement last week in which Penguin Random House said 15 roles, sadly, would be impacted in its Australian business.

Julie added: “Today I would like us to start looking forward to the future with the excitement it deserves for our colleagues, our authors and their readers. It has been a difficult week but, by taking this necessary action, I’m confident we have put our company on a clearer path to future growth and to realising our full potential as the home for the very best creative talent here in Australia and New Zealand.”

For further information:
Karen Reid, Publicity and Communications Director, Penguin Random House Australia
P +61 2 8923 9832
M +61 417496719

2015 Prime Minister's Literary Awards Shortlists Announced
23 Nov 2015

Congratulations to the following Penguin Random House authors who have been shortlisted for the 2015 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.


AMNESIA, Peter Carey 

GOLDEN BOYS, Sonya Hartnett 

THE GOLDEN AGE, Joan London 


Young adult fiction

ARE YOU SEEING ME?, Darren Groth 



Children's fiction

TWO WOLVES, Tristan Bancks 


The Prime Minister's Literary Awards recognise exceptional literary achievement by Australian writers in fiction, non‐fiction, young adult fiction, children's fiction, poetry and Australian history.

These Awards celebrate Australian literature and historical scholarship, and recognise the unique role these endeavours play in communicating Australian stories. They also play an important role in strengthening the profile of Australian writers and illustrators and contribute to the growth of audiences for Australian books.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia has a dynamic and creative literary sector which is a marker of the sophistication and confidence of contemporary Australian culture.

"This is a first‐rate selection of literary and historical works, representing the depth and diversity of contemporary Australian creativity," Mr Turnbull said.

"The shortlists were selected on the recommendations of three expert judging panels, who commended the 30 shortlisted books on their exploration of the Australian experience, artistic endeavour, and scholarly insight."

Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield congratulated the shortlisted authors and emphasised the value of Australian stories.

"The 2015 shortlists is a collection of the best from Australia's established and emerging authors, with books that will delight readers both young and old," Mr Fifield said.

"I encourage all book‐loving Australians to celebrate the exceptional talent of Australia's literary sector by reading a book or two from the 2015 Prime Minister's Literary Awards shortlists."

The Prime Minister's Literary Awards have been recognising excellence in Australian literature since 2008.

Bestselling Author Sylvia Day’s New Crossfire Novel to Hit Bookshops on April 5, 2016
18 Nov 2015

Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House, announced today it will publish international bestselling author Sylvia Day’s One with You, the highly anticipated fifth and final novel in the global blockbuster Crossfire series on April 5, 2016.  The date has been chosen in celebration of the fourth anniversary of the release of Sylvia Day’s first book in this phenomenally successful series, Bared To You. 

The Crossfire series is a quintet that follows the emotional and romantic journey taken by Gideon Cross and his wife, Eva.  The rollercoaster love story has captivated millions of readers in more than 40 countries and has made Sylvia a number one bestselling author in 28 countries.

“We are so thrilled to be announcing the publication of One with You, the fifth part of Sylvia Day’s incredible Crossfire series. This is the last chapter in Gideon and Eva’s breath-taking story, and once again Sylvia has written an utterly beguiling and intriguing novel – fans of the Crossfire series are going to love this book so much” says Alex Clarke, publishing director, Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House UK.

 “It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to Eva and Gideon,” says Sylvia.  “I can’t wait for readers to discover how their story ends.  Writing One with You has been both painful and wonderful.  I’m very proud of the result and hope readers love this send-off as much as I do.”

Sylvia Day, a veteran author of over twenty award-winning novels over a career spanning a decade, is one of Penguin Random House’s biggest fiction authors of the last five years. The previous four novels in her Crossfire series are all No. 1 international bestsellers, with over 17 million copies sold worldwide. 

Bared to You, the first instalment in the Crossfire series, was one of Penguin’s biggest books of 2012. It spent 17 weeks in the paperback fiction top 10 The Sunday Times chart, 45 weeks on The New York Times trade paperback bestseller list and 67 weeks on the USA Today bestseller list. Reflected in You, the second instalment in the series, had Penguin’s biggest pre-order sales of all time. It also went straight to No. 1 in the overall Sunday Times chart. Entwined With You went straight to No. 1 in the overall Sunday Times chart beating James Patterson, Lee Child and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Captivated By You, the fourth instalment was published in 2014 and sold over 70,000 copies in the UK its first ten days.


About Sylvia Day:

Sylvia Day is the No. 1 Sunday Times, No. 1 New York Times and No. 1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than 40 countries. She is a No. 1 bestselling author in 28 countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. The Crossfire series has been optioned for television by Lionsgate.
Visit Sylvia at, and on Twitter @SylDay

About One With You:
Gideon Cross. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably. Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.

We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws … and all the beauty I couldn’t see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us.

But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free ... or break us apart.

Heartbreakingly and seductively poignant, One with You is the breathlessly awaited finale to the Crossfire saga, the searing love story that has captivated millions of readers worldwide.

One With You

By Sylvia Day

Published by Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House

Publication date: 5th April 2016

Paperback: 9781405916424

Ebook: 9781405916462


Media Enquiries

Alysha Farry
Head of Consumer Marketing, Penguin Books
Penguin Random House Australia
Ph: +612 8923 9945

New CEO Appointed Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand
06 Nov 2015

(Melbourne: 6th November, 2015) Penguin Random House today announced that Julie Burland has been appointed as CEO Australia and New Zealand.

Julie, previously, Director, Children’s Division Random House Australia and Business Development Random House Australia, will start her new role with immediate effect. She will report to Ian Hudson, CEO Penguin Random House International (English Language).

Hudson said: “I am delighted to appoint Julie to this pivotal leadership role. She is one of Australian publishing’s brightest stars, and has the publishing, sales, and managerial skills, as well as the vision and collaborative style to lead our talented teams. A true entrepreneur, she is passionate about her business, her authors and their books and her ambition to connect authors to their largest possible audiences has helped achieve record sales for, among many, Dan Brown, Christopher Paolini and brands such as MasterChef. 

“Julie will bring a fresh and a forward-looking management focus to these dynamic markets, and I am confident that she will deliver the success both we and our authors expect.”

Julie began her publishing career at Penguin as a sales rep in 1993. She left to join Carter Holt Harvey in 1995 before joining Random House Australia in 2000 as National Account Manager. Julie launched the Business Development Department in 2007, and set up ebook sales, established export customers and developed a successful custom publishing programme. In 2010 she was appointed Director, Children’s Division in charge of publishing, sales, marketing and publicity.

In her CEO role, Julie will draw upon her track record as a business builder and many long-standing relationships among authors, agents, booksellers and colleagues. Her career has spanned multiple disciplines across both adult and children’s publishing. Combined, these will help her identify and implement opportunities for growth and innovation, together with continuing the Penguin Random House commitment to bringing its authors’ books to the widest possible readership.

Julie’s collaborative and inclusive management style is underpinned by her determination, creativity and passion. Most recently, she has demonstrated this by the way she has transformed the Random House Australia Children’s Division into a highly successful and profitable business, achieving both commercial and critical acclaim.

Julie Burland, said: “I am honoured to be given the chance to work with our colleagues and our authors to build on our unrivalled heritage of local and international publishing. I want to play my part in ensuring that Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand fulfil their amazing potential in connecting authors and readers in ever more imaginative and meaningful ways.”

Also announced today was the appointment of Margie Seale, former Managing Director Random House Australia and New Zealand, as Non-Executive Chairman Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand.

Margie returns having left Random House in 2012 for a new portfolio career with positions including non-executive director for the Telstra Corporation Ltd.

Hudson said: “Margie’s unrivalled knowledge of both the Australian and New Zealand publishing markets and her local knowledge and long-standing relationships will be valuable to our company, our colleagues and our authors.”

Margie Seale, said: “I am delighted to be working with Julie. This is a great opportunity to cement our past performance into the foundations of even greater future success.”

There are also the following reporting line changes: Margaret Thompson, MD Penguin Random House New Zealand, will report to Julie; Eddy Teo, MD Penguin Random House Singapore, will report to Graham Buckel, Finance and Operations Director, Penguin Random House International (English Language).  Jo Lusby, MD Penguin Random House North Asia, will report to Ian Hudson.



Press enquiries in Australia: Hannah Glenny, Communications Manager, Penguin Random House (in Melbourne) +44 7769 617881

Gabrielle Coyne to Leave Penguin Random House
06 Nov 2015

(Melbourne: 6th November, 2015) Penguin Random House today announced that Gabrielle Coyne, CEO Penguin Random House APAC, will leave the company.

Ian Hudson, CEO Penguin Random House International (English Language), said: “Gabrielle has made a unique contribution to our business especially after taking over the Penguin leadership mantle from Peter Field in 2003.

“She has been an outstanding advocate of Penguin in Australia before expanding her influence to Penguin Random House APAC.

“Gabrielle has long been a powerful voice for the value of books and publishing, initially in Australia and then beyond. Her passion for writing and ideas and for discovering and nurturing authors throughout their careers has shone through.

“She can be proud of her many achievements. Gabrielle takes with her our very best wishes for her future endeavours.”

Gabrielle said: “I’ve had 25 extraordinary years at first Penguin and latterly at Penguin Random House and it has been a real privilege to work with some of the world’s greatest authors and publishers. I’m confident that the talented teams will go from strength-to-strength.”

Gabrielle started her Penguin career in 1990 in the marketing department and became Marketing Director in 2000. In 2003 she was appointed Managing Director of Penguin Australia, and in 2006, New Zealand was added to her responsibilities. She was appointed CEO of Penguin Group Asia Pacific in 2009, overseeing the Penguin operations in Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia.

She has held various positions on boards in the Australian publishing community, including Vice president of the Australian Publishers Association.



Press enquiries in Australia: Hannah Glenny, Communications Manager, Penguin Random House (in Melbourne) +44 7769 617881

Rebecca Johnson awarded Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools
21 Oct 2015


The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are Australia’s most prestigious and highly regarded awards for excellence in scientific research, innovation and science teaching.

Rebecca Johnson, Windaroo State School, Logan, Brisbane - Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Improved primary science teaching at no extra cost

Fifteen years ago Rebecca Johnson, from Windaroo State School, initiated a new method for teaching science more effectively in primary schools without costing the government anything extra.

“No-one ever questions the need to have specialist teachers for subjects such as music, physical education and languages other than English, in primary schools,” says Rebecca.

“Particular skill sets and qualities are required to teach these subjects effectively, and I believe the same applies to teaching science.”

With a fully-resourced science room Rebecca, with her teaching partner, teaches science to every student at Windaroo State School. Because of this designated space and the importance that has been assigned to this subject area, the children are able to experience a depth of science learning usually reserved for high school. And it’s all effectively done during the classroom teachers’ non-contact time, at no extra cost.

Almost a hectare of the school grounds have been turned into teaching gardens which, under Rebecca’s guidance, the students created and built. Here they work with real-life examples of what they are learning about in the classroom and they sell the harvest to staff.

This teaching model provides continuity and consistency across the vital key learning areas of science. By the time the students enter high school they have had consistent, engaging, positive introductions to all science strands, making them far more likely to continue on with these subjects at high school and beyond.

This model has now been widely adopted by other Queensland primary schools, and Rebecca now assists teachers to set up their own specialist science programmes. For her contributions to science teaching and fostering a love of science in her students, Mrs Rebecca Johnson has been awarded the 2015 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools.

Shortlisted for the Inaugural Australian Sports Book of the Year award
21 Oct 2015

Congratulations to the following authors who have been shortlisted for this award:

Roy Higgins by Patrick Bartley

The Short Long Book by Martin Flanagan

For more information regarding this award please visit the William Hill website.


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20 May 2016
Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards Shortlist Announced
We are delighted to announce that the following Penguin Random House authors have been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards:

Suri’s Wall by Lucy Estela and Matt Ottley
Ollie and the Wind by Ronojoy Ghosh

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