Henry Mayer Book Prize

Henry Mayer Book Prize is awarded biennially to the best book on Australian politics (including political history).

Call for Nominations 2023 is closed

Judging panel comments:

Sally Young’s Paper Emperors is an engrossing historical study of the origins of our highly consolidated press and media landscape, and the extraordinary figures who created these empires. Meticulously researched, it is engaging, accessible and as gripping as Citizen Kane. It provides a rich trove of original and accessible research for scholars and the public alike that is an important contribution to our knowledge of the media in Australia. It charts and explains the multiple webs of political and business relationships as well as the complex interpersonal politics that sits at the heart of media politics in Australia. In every respect Paper Emperors is a ‘tour de force’. It will be an essential reference work for the study of media politics in Australia for decades to come.

Judging panel comments:

Jenny Hocking’s The Palace Letters is a significant and original contribution to our understanding of Australian politics. Accessibly written, The Palace Letters combines the adventure of a detective story with a scholarly meditation on Australian constitutionalism. It sheds new light on previously unknown aspects of the Whitlam dismissal, in particular the continuing capacity of British Monarchs and their representatives profoundly to influence Australian political events. The book is also an object lesson concerning the challenges of archival research as it also tells the story behind the research materials upon which much of the study rests. The Palace Letters stands as a testament to the importance of our national archives and to the necessity for these to be accessible and transparent if our historical record is to be preserved.

Call for Nominations Guideline

  • Call for Nominations 
  • Closing Date for Nominations – call for nominations 2023 is closed
  • Commission of Winner’s Award 

The Henry Mayer Book Prize is awarded on a biennial basis, alternating with the Crisp Prize.

Nomination Guidelines

  • The nomination is open to book-length monographs by academic or non-academic authors, which may be single- or jointly-authored, however edited collections are not eligible. The author does not have to be a current financial member of APSA (although this is preferable) for the book to be eligible for consideration.
  • A call for nominations will be circulated to members of APSA and to the major publishers operating in Australia. Any publisher may nominate one book for consideration, and a book may only be submitted once for the prize. Authors can self-nominate or be nominated by another person.
  • The Prize is awarded to the best book on Australian politics (including political history) that has been published by a university or commercial publisher (in Australia or overseas) in the preceding two years (e.g. The prize awarded in 2023 will be for a book published in 2022 or 2021, year of publication being the year stated in the book). Preference will be given to a monograph that focuses on one or more of Mayer’s special interests: the media, political parties or Indigenous affairs.
  • To enter, please complete the Henry Mayer Book Prize Nomination Form and email with a PDF or four electronic copies (if your copies are download codes or eBooks) of the nominated book to the APSA National Office at: Arts-SSPS-APSA@unimelb.edu.au by the announced due date. Please do not submit anything until the call for nominations is announced.

Judging Process

  • The decision will be made by a judging panel chaired by a member of the APSA Executive. The panel will consist of at least three judges (including the chair), all are APSA current financial members, with at least one woman. Except where such a nomination might give rise to a perceived conflict of interest, the panel will also include a fourth person nominated by the Mayer Trust. Past winners will be encouraged to participate in the judging process for future awards.
  • Members of judging panels should adhere to the Guidance on Identifying and Managing Conflicts of Interest. If the Chair of a judging panel has a significant conflict of interest, they must relinquish their position as Chair to one of the other panellists.
  • APSA reserves the right not to award the prize in any given year.

Award Details

  • The winner will be invited to attend the Association’s AGM & Prize Ceremony and receive the prize of $1000 and a certificate.
  • This Prize is funded by the Henry Mayer Trust.

Past winners : 

2023: Frank Bongiorno, Dreamers and Schemers, LaTrobe University Press, 2022

2021: Sally Young, Paper Emperors: The Rise of Australia’s Newspaper Empires, UNSW Press, 2019

2019: Paul Strangio, Paul ‘T Hart & James Walter, The Pivot of Power: Australian Prime Ministers and Political Leadership, 1949–2016, Melbourne University Press, 2017

2017: Sarah Ferguson & Patricia Drum, The Killing Season Uncut, Melbourne University Press, 2016.

2015: Stephen Mills (University of Sydney), The Professionals: Strategy, Money and the Rise of the Political Campaigner in Australia, Melbourne: Black Inc, 2014.

2013: Paul Strangio (Monash University)Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 Years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856 – 1956, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012.

2011: James Walter (Monash University), What Were They Thinking? The Politics of Ideas in Australia, Sydney: UNSW Press, 2010.

2009: Joint Prize: Sarah Maddison (University of New South Wales), Black Politics: Inside the Complexity of Aboriginal Political Culture, Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2008;
David McKnight (University of New South Wales), Beyond Right and Left: New Politics and the Culture Wars, Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2007.