Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 11, 2015

2015 Queensland Literary Awards shortlist

The Queensland Literary Awards shortlist is out.  The links on the titles take you to the literary awards’ website, click on the links that follow to see my reviews.

Starred categories are limited to Queensland authors only.

Cash prizes are all only $10,000 except for, a-hem, the “Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance” (a.k.a. The Parochial Award?) which is $25,000…

I can’t tell from the History of the Award page whether the government is directly funding these awards through the State Library of Qld or if the awards are still reliant on goodwill donors.

Whatever, as in 2012 and 2013, the real value of these awards is in the publicity for the authors, so buy some books, eh?

University of Queensland Fiction Book Award

University of Queensland Non-fiction Book Award

University of Southern Queensland History Book Award

Griffith University Young Adult Book Award

Griffith University Children’s Book Award

University of Southern Queensland Australian Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award

State Library of Queensland Poetry Collection – Judith Wright Calanthe Award

Unpublished Indigenous Writer – David Unaipon Award (one of my favourite awards!)

*Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Awards

*Emerging Queensland Writer – Manuscript Award

*Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance

*The Courier-Mail 2015 People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year

Vote now – voting closes 5pm Friday 18 September 2015.


  1. Great list, thanks Lisa. And thanks for the link. (If you’d like to add it I’ve also reviewed Heat and light. Interesting, and right I think, that they’ve included it as short stories. I heard an ABC interview with the author the other day – podcast – in which the interviewer kept calling it a novel. But as open as I am to new definitions of the novel, I find it hard to see it as a novel.) I have, like you, a couple of others on my TBR, but not enough of them really.

    Re your question re the Premier’s prize, I did half-hear an interview regarding the awards and my understanding is that the Premier is supporting that award – I think the old Queensland awards always had one award limited to Queensland writers. I don’t have a problem with that, particularly given they offer so many awards. But, as I recollect from the interview, the current organisers of the awards wanted to keep running the awards overall. Someone can correct me on this, but this is my recollection. (I suppose I could Google, but I’m too lazy!)


    • #SmacksHand I should have remembered about your review of Heat and Light, it’s why I bought the book.
      Yes, those linked short stories aka novels are messy beasts, like Tim Winton’s The Turning, I’ve never quite understood why they hybridise stories like that…
      I’m not surprised the current organisers want to hang onto the award, the risk is that it could become a political football given the volatility of Qld politics. But LOL that “State Significance” award manages to sound both pompous and parochial, it brings back an idea of Qld that I’m sure they don’t really want.
      (By contrast, it’s odd how the Melbourne Prize manages to sound classy and important, and that’s not just because I live in Melbourne. And anyway, there’s no trumpeting about ‘state significance’ involved, just good writing.)
      The Sydney Prize? Yes
      The Adelaide Prize? Oh yes…
      The Perth Prize? Maybe. Only people would assume Perth in Scotland…
      The Hobart Prize? Yes, I think so.
      The Canberra Prize? What do you think?
      The Darwin Prize? No, definitely not. Besides, already taken


      • Oh well, wot’s in a name I say. In the end it’s the substance that’s important, but I agree that the name is rather retro. Politicians!

        As for the short stories. I think it’s all about people playing with form, trying to wrest different things, ideas, meanings out of their writing. Van Neerven’s is quite different again from The turning. The first section, Heat, is a bit like The turning in that there are connections between the stories. The second section, Water, is a long short story – futuristic. And the third section, Light, is more like the usual collection of short stories. It’s an intriguing work.


        • Well, the Odyssey is a linked collection of short stories, so it works in some cases!


          • Haha, Lisa … I think it works in a lot of cases. I love linked short stories. They are sort of the best of both worlds!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you read A Single Stone (Meg McKinlay), Lisa? I think you’d like it.


    • I’ve read some of her children’s stories, I loved No Bears, very clever. And I think some chapter books? (Gosh, I’ve only been retired for 9 months, and already I’ve forgotten some of the book stock in the school library!)


      • I was really surprised to see it shortlisted in the children’s section, actually; I would have called it YA, and it would be a good read for pretty much everyone. It’s a fine, sophisticated work.
        (My favourite of Meg’s picture books is The Truth About Penguins :-) I’ve bought so many copies for young friends that I must constitute a blip in the sales demographic)


        • As a primary T-Librarian I used to find the crossover between children’s & YA problematic. I taught kids whose parents were happy for them to read issues-based books but wouldn’t tolerate swearing or anything to do with teen romance. So Parvana was fine even though it dealt with grim issues but the Gleitzmann that included wet dreams (I forget its name) was not. Tricky…

          Liked by 1 person

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