Walkley Book Award


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Frequently Asked Questions

The 2018  Walkley Book Award will acknowledge the work produced by an Australian journalist or writer, published in the year from September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2018.

As in past years, we stagger entries so that the judges don’t have to read six dozen books all at once. (There’s no difference between the two rounds for entrants.)

First round entries close June 15.
Second round entries close Aug. 31.

The Walkley Book Award celebrates the value and importance of long form journalism, acknowledging the proud line-up of Australian writers who have taken subjects of enduring topicality and consequence from news bulletins, eye-witness reporting, investigations and historical records and provided readers with expanded factual detail, revelation and greater clarity of analysis in book form.

For information on the Walkley Book Award please contact awards manager Lauren Dixon on 02 9333 0913 or lauren.dixon@walkleys.com

2017 WINNER – Louise MilliganCardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, Melbourne University Press

Louise Milligan’s book examines Australia’s most senior Catholic through the lens of the child abuse saga which has dogged the Catholic Church. She tells how George Pell rose from Ballarat boy to Oxford, and through the ranks to become the Vatican’s indispensable “treasurer”. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse has revealed horrific stories about sexual abuse of the most vulnerable, and provoked public anger at the extent of the cover-up. Pell has always portrayed himself as the first man in the Church to tackle the problem. But questions about what the Cardinal knew, and when, have persisted. The nation’s most prominent Catholic is now the subject of a police investigation into allegations spanning decades that he, too, abused children.

Milligan has followed the story doggedly, piecing together the story with sensitivity and care from thousands of pages of historical documents and interviews with hundreds of people. The book has had an enormous impact – reprinted within two weeks of publication and inspiring dozens of letters from supportive readers to Milligan.

Milligan is an investigative journalist for ABC TV’s 7.30 and Four Corners programs and an author. She was awarded the Melbourne Press Club’s Gold Quill Award this year, the highest prize in Victorian journalism, for her work on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse and Cardinal George Pell. Her best-selling book, Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, was published in May. Her work has been nominated for Walkleys the past three years. She is passionate about issues including institutional child abuse and cover-up, mental health and injustice.

The 2017 Walkley Book Award shortlisted finalists were (in alphabetical order):

  • Julia BairdVictoria: The Queen, HarperCollins Publishers
  • Steve CannaneFair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia, ABC Books/HarperCollins Publishers
  • Louise MilliganCardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, Melbourne University Press

Walkley Book Award Chair – Colleen Ryan

RYAN. 091113. AFR ONLINE PIC BY PETER BRAIG. Colleen Ryan, afr journalist in shanghai, china , WRITER FOR AFR ONLINE. SPECIAL 111111

Colleen Ryan has a journalistic career spanning almost four decades. She is a former Editor of the Australian Financial Review and during her career she was Washington correspondent for the AFR and more recently China correspondent, based in Shanghai for 6 years.

Colleen’s journalism career included a decade with the Sydney Morning Herald and five years with National Times. She has won three Walkley awards including the Gold Walkley and received a Centenary Medal for services to journalism and publishing.

Colleen was co author of Corporate Cannibals, The Taking of Fairfax –published in 1992; and the author of Fairfax: The Rise and Fall published in 2013. She is also the co author of Sell Up Pack Up and Take Off, published in 2014.

Past winners

The 2018 winner will join the ranks of some of the most celebrated non-fiction writers in Australia: Louise Milligan ( Cardinal), Stan Grant (Talking To My Country), Chip Le Grand (The Straight Dope), Paul Kelly (Triumph and Demise), Pamela Williams (Killing Fairfax), George Megalogenis (The Australian Moment), Russell Skelton (King Brown Country), Shirley Shackleton (The Circle of Silence), Graham Freudenberg (Churchill and Australia), Don Watson (American Journeys), Chris Masters (Jonestown), Neil Chenoweth (Packer’s Lunch) and Bob Connolly (Making Black Harvest). Entries can encompass subject matter including true crime and biographies, political analysis, business writing, war reporting, investigative journalism and foreign correspondence.


Judging is a two-tier process comprising senior representatives from the media and publishing community. Judges will determine a long list and shortlist of nominees before winners are announced at the 63rd Walkley Awards in November 2018.