Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 30, 2019

2019 Queensland Literary Awards shortlist announced

The 2019 Queensland Literary Awards shortlist has been announced. Thanks to Michelle Vecchio from Shout Communications for the press release and the image collection.

The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award – $15,000
• Bodies of Men (Hachette) by Nigel Featherstone, see my review
• Too Much Lip (UQP) by Melissa Lucashenko, see my review
• Shell (Scribner) by Kristina Olsson, see my review
• Exploded View (Text) by Carrie Tiffany, see my review
• Daughter of Bad Times (Allen & Unwin) by Rohan Wilson, see my review

University of Southern Queensland History Book Award – $10,000
• From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia got Compulsory Voting (Text) by Judith Brett, see my review
• An Unconventional Wife: The Life of Julia Sorrell Arnold (Scribe) by Mary Hoban
• Kindred: A Cradle Mountain Love Story (MUP) by Kate Legge
• A New History of the Irish in Australia (NewSouth) by Elizabeth Malcolm and Dianne Hall
• You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World (Text) by Clare Wright, see my review

University of Southern Queensland Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection – $10,000
• Zebra: And Other Stories (Pan Macmillan) by Debra Adelaide, see my review
• The True Colour of the Sea (Penguin Random House) by Robert Drewe, see my review
• The Drover’s Wives (Brio) by Ryan O’Neill

Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance – $25,000
• The Night Dragon (UQP) by Matthew Condon
• Boy Swallows Universe (HarperCollins) by Trent Dalton, see the SRB review
• Meditations with Passing Water (Rabbit) by Jake Goetz
• Wintering (Text) by Krissy Kneen
• Too Much Lip (UQP) by Melissa Lucashenko, see my review

The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award – $10,000
• Boy Swallows Universe (HarperCollins) by Trent Dalton, see the SRB review
• Requiem with Yellow Butterflies: A Memoir (UWA Publishing) by James Halford
• Wintering (Text) by Krissy Kneen
• Too Much Lip (UQP) by Melissa Lucashenko, see my review
• Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks (Teacup) by Toni Risson
• Charles Ulm (Allen & Unwin) by Rick Searle
• Adani, Following its Dirty Footsteps (Spinifex) by Lindsay Simpson (I don’t understand why this one isn’t among the awards for a work of state significance!)
• Daughter of Bad Times (Allen & Unwin) by Rohan Wilson, see my review

Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award – two awards of $12,500 each
• Ella Jeffery
• Emily O’Grady
• Ellen van Neerven
• Yen-Rong Wong

The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award – $15,000
• Dr Space Junk vs The Universe: Archaeology and the Future (NewSouth) by Alice Gorman
• An Unconventional Wife: The Life of Julia Sorrell Arnold (Scribe) by Mary Hoban
• Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature (Text) by Stuart Kells
• The Eastern Curlew (Affirm) by Harry Saddler
• Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia (HarperCollins) by Christina Thompson

Griffith University Children’s Book Award – $15,000
• Leave Taking (UQP) by Lorraine Marwood
• Black Cockatoo (Magabala) by Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler
• The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars (Allen & Unwin) by Jaclyn Moriarty
• His Name was Walter (HarperCollins) by Emily Rodda
• Chalk Boy (Allen & Unwin) by Margaret Wild and Mandy Ord

Griffith University Young Adult Book Award – $15,000
• Small Spaces (Walker) by Sarah Epstein
• How It Feels to Float (Pan Macmillan) by Helena Fox
• Lenny’s Book of Everything (Allen & Unwin) by Karen Foxlee
• The Bogan Mondrian (UQP) by Steven Herrick
• Catching Teller Crow (Allen & Unwin) by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection – $10,000
• Hot Take (Hunter) by Liam Ferney
• Newcastle Sonnets (Giramondo) by Keri Glastonbury
• That Sight (Cordite) by Marjon Mossammaparast
• The Lost Arabs (UQP) by Omar Sakr
• Blakwork (Magabala) by Alison Whittaker

QUT Digital Literature Award – $15,000
• V[R]ignettes by Mez Breeze
• Gothic Body, in Two Parts by Eda Gunaydin
• Psychometric Researches by Benjamin Laird
• ITERATION – Part 3/Chapter 3 by CB Mako and MJ Flamiano
• The Wonders of Lost Trajectories by Jason Nelson

David Unaipon Award for an Emerging Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Writer – $15,000
Eligible entrants will receive author development activities through State Library including mentorship, editorial advice, and guidance on opportunities, pathways and artistic development, in consultation with the Award partners, Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and University of Queensland Press. [The shortlisted writers haven’t been named yet.]

Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer – $15,000
• Little Birds by Sue Goldstiver
• The Still Point of Being by Karen Hollands
• Apparitions by Jack Lio
• Henry Hamlet’s Heart by Rhiannon Ratcliffe Wilde

It’s disappointing to see that the prize money is still as stingy as it was last year. The total prize pool $253,500 up by $3,500 from last year. A quarter of a million dollars is chicken feed in a state budget. If the Premier really meant it when she said “Queensland has incredible home-grown writers and literary talent and I’m proud to continue championing their achievements through these awards which my government has proudly supported since 2015,” then it’s high time those authors were eligible for some decent prize money that could really make a difference to whether they have time to write or not.

For more information: Queensland-literary-awards


  1. This is a premier who has fast-tracked Adani rather than investing in renewables. I have no faith whatsoever in her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The trouble seems to be that the ALP state and federal is kowtowing to denialists for the sake of jobs, because of the electoral rout in the last election. I think the ALP needs to get real on this. Every job that comes from the Adani fairytale equals a loss of jobs in climate-change droughts and bushfires.
      And Queensland needs to understand that they are well out of step with the rest of Australia on this, and it is high time they stopped trading on the exceptionalism bequeathed by Joh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes it’s pretty depressing. They have their heads completely in the sand. I rang & complained about the extinguishment of W&J’s native title & the woman on the phone was completely condescending, sigh.


        • You must feel like giving up…


  2. Shell! At last! 🙌

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] You can see the shortlisted titles here. […]


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