Walkley Book Award

Congratulations to Leigh Sales, whose book Any Ordinary Day was announced as the winner of the 2019 Walkley Book Award on November 28. Read the full list of winners for the 64th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism here.

On November 7 we announced a shortlist of three books nominated for the 2019 Walkley Book Award:

  • Gabrielle ChanRusted Off, Vintage, Penguin Random House Australia
  • Jess HillSee What You Made Me Do, Black Inc.
  • Leigh SalesAny Ordinary Day, Penguin Random House Australia

A longlist of finalists for the 2019 Walkley Book Award was announced on October 17.

Congratulations to:

  • Gabrielle Chan, Rusted Off, Vintage, Penguin Random House Australia 
  • Adele Ferguson, Banking Bad, ABC Books, HarperCollinsPublishersAustralia
  • Ean Higgins, The Hunt for MH370, Pan Macmillan Australia 
  • Jess Hill, See What You Made Me Do, Black Inc.
  • Damon Kitney, The Price of Fortune, HarperCollinsPublishersAustralia
  • Patrick Mullins, Tiberius with a Telephone, Scribe
  • Andrew Rule, Winx: The Authorised Biography, Allen & Unwin
  • Leigh Sales, Any Ordinary Day, Penguin Random House Australia 
  • Matthew Warren, Blackout, Affirm Press

Read the full finalists announcement here.

The 2019 Walkley Book Award will acknowledge the work produced by an Australian journalist or writer, published in the year from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019.

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 9158 3820 or lauren.dixon@walkleys.com

2018 Winner

From idea to opening, building the Sydney Opera House took nearly two decades, four premiers, $102 million, over 1 million tiles and more than 10,000 men from 90 different countries. It started with Danish architect Jørn Utzon, whose entry in the international design competition was chosen as winner in 1957. Many Australians know the tragedy of Utzon, who never saw his masterpiece completed after leaving because of a dispute with the NSW government. Fewer know the story of Peter Hall, the Australian architect who completed the building and died in obscurity. Helen Pitt constructs the saga with 10 years of research and interviews. As well as a tribute to an iconic building, Pitt’s book is a paean to newspaper reporting.

Helen Pitt began her career in 1986 at The Sydney Morning Herald, where she is currently a senior writer and has also been opinion and letters editor. She has worked as a feature writer for The Bulletin magazine, in California for New York Times Digital, and as a television reporter at Euronews in France. This is her first Walkley Award.

The 2019 Walkley Book Award shortlisted finalists were (in alphabetical order):

  • Peter GresteThe First Casualty, Viking
  • Chris MastersNo Front Line: Australia’s Special Forces at War in Afghanistan, Allen & Unwin
  • Helen PittThe House, Allen & Unwin

Helen Pitt's 'The House' wins the 2018 Walkley Book Award.

Past winners

The 2018 winner joins 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 64th Walkley Awards in November 2019.