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The Walkley Foundation today announced the shortlist for the Walkley Book Award, part of Australia’s most prestigious journalism accolades, the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The Walkley Book Award celebrates Australian writers who take enduring subjects from news, eyewitness accounts, investigations and history. Their books bring readers immersive detail, clear analysis and new revelations.

Seventy books were entered this year. Their subject matter ranged from true crime, politics and war to memoir, biography and investigative journalism.

The three books shortlisted for the 2021 Walkley Book Award are (in alphabetical order):

  • Richard Flanagan, Toxic: The Rotting Underbelly of the Tasmanian Salmon Industry, Penguin
  • Kate Holden, The Winter Road, Black Inc.
  • Stuart Rintoul, Lowitja: The authorised biography of Lowitja O’Donoghue, Allen & Unwin

The 2021 Book Award judges were:

  • Paul Bailey, editor, The Australian Financial Review
  • Amanda Collinge, series producer, Q&A, ABC TV  
  • Jane Curry, Director and Publisher, Ventura Press
  • Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley FAHA, Macquarie University
  • Paul McManus, Collins Booksellers Tamworth
  • Karen Middleton, chief political correspondent, The Saturday Paper
  • Peter Norden AO, Honorary Fellow, Deakin University
  • Suzanne Smith, journalist and author
  • Ashleigh Wilson, author and journalist


The winner of the Walkley Book Award will be announced as part of the 66th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism on February 25.

A full list of Walkley Awards finalists is available at See the nine books longlisted for this award here.

For media enquiries contact Clare Fletcher on  or 0432 616 810.

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