HarperCollins Publishers Australia is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2019 Banjo Prize.


Beware of Dogs by Elizabeth Flann


Beware of Dogs is an almost unbearably tense Australian thriller that keeps the reader in suspense from page one.

Alix Verhoeven is hiding in a tiny cave on a remote Australian island. Written as a field diary documenting her isolation and her battle for survival against the men who are after her, this is a compelling and utterly gripping tale for fans of Harlan Coben, Karin Slaughter and the Australian classic Wake in Fright.

Anna Valdinger, Fiction Publisher at HarperCollins, says: ‘Beware of Dogs is exactly the sort of page-turning novel we were looking for, and it was a big favourite among the HarperCollins reading team. In one sense, the survival story is reminiscent of Cast Away or The Martian, as Alix has to rely solely on her wits and bushcraft skills in a hostile environment, but through it all looms the terrifying sense of her being hunted. It’s a truly unputdownable thriller and we are so excited to publish it.’

Elizabeth Flann says: ‘This story began as a dream about a person caught in a dire circumstance. The dreams continued and gradually Alix formed in my consciousness and her story developed from there. I have become very close to her in the writing, so I’m thrilled and delighted that her story can now go out and be shared by others. Thank you so much to HarperCollins for this wonderful opportunity.’

In partnership with News Regional Media, HarperCollins has also announced two runners-up who will each receive a written assessment of their manuscript from HarperCollins. The runners-up are Nina and Pearl by Fleur Glenn and The True Love Story of David Collins and Terra Nullius by Terry Whitebeach.

HarperCollins Australia launched The Banjo Prize for Australian fiction writers in 2018 in a quest to find Australia’s next great storyteller. The inaugural Banjo Prize was awarded to Tim Slee, whose poignant, sharply funny and uniquely Australian novel Taking Tom Murray Home was published in July 2019.


The Banjo is open to all Australian writers of commercial fiction, offering the chance to win a publishing contract with HarperCollins, with an advance of $15,000. Two runners-up will each receive a written assessment of their manuscript from HarperCollins.

Applicants were required to submit a full manuscript of adult commercial fiction, a 500-word synopsis and a 200-word biographical statement.



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