Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 9, 2022

2022 Queensland Literary Award Winners, and other awards news

The Queensland Literary Awards were announced last night.

WINNER: Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance, $25,000

Wounded Country by Quentin Beresford, NewSouth, see the review at the Qld Reviewers Collective

Muddy People by Sara El Sayed (Black Inc. Books)
The Burnished Sun by Mirandi Riwoe (University of Queensland Press)
Operation Jungle by John Shobbrook (University of Queensland Press)
Another Day in the Colony by Chelsea Watego (University of Queensland Press)

WINNER: The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award. $15,000

The Other Half of You, by Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Hachette Australia, see Jennifer’s review at Tasmanian Bibliophile at Large.

Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au (Giramondo Publishing), see my review
The Furies by Mandy Beaumont (Hachette Australia)
The Keepers by Al Campbell (University of Queensland Press)
Australiana by Yumna Kassab (Ultimo Press)

WINNER: The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award, $15,000

Lies, Damned Lies by Claire G. Coleman,  Ultimo Press, see Bill’s review at The Australian Legend

Muddy People by Sara El Sayed (Black Inc. Books)
The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar (Pan Macmillan)
The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen by Krissy Kneen (Text Publishing)
Another Day in the Colony by Chelsea Watego (University of Queensland Press)

WINNER: University of Southern Queensland Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection, $15,000

Dark as Last Night, by Tony Birch, University of Queensland Press, on my TBR

The Kindness of Birds by Merlinda Bobis (Spinifex Press), see my review
The Burnished Sun by Mirandi Riwoe (University of Queensland Press)
If You’re Happy by Fiona Robertson (University of Queensland Press)
Lake Malibu and Other Stories by Su-May Tan (Spineless Wonders)

WINNER: Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection, $15,000

Stasis Shuffle, by Pam Brown, Hunter Publishers

TAKE CARE by Eunice Andrada (Giramondo Publishing)
accelerations & inertias by Dan Disney (Vagabond Press)
At the Altar of Touch by Gavin Yuan Gao (University of Queensland Press)
Bees Do Bother: An Antagonist’s Carepack by Ann Vickery (Vagabond Press)

WINNER: Children’s Book Award, $15,000

Kunyi by Kunyi June Anne McInerney, Magabala Books

My Brother Ben by Peter Carnavas (University of Queensland Press)
A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr (Penguin Random House Australia)
The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by Sandhya Parappukkaran and illustrated by Michelle Pereira (Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing)
The First Scientists by Corey Tutt and illustrated by Blak Douglas (Hardie Grant Explore) 

WINNER: Griffith University Young Adult Book Award, $15,000

Girls in Boys’ Cars, by Felicity Castagna, Pan Macmillan

Katipo Joe: Wolf’s Lair by Brian Falkner (Scholastic)
Morrison and Mr Moore by Michael Hyde (In Case of Emergency Press)
Social Queue by Kay Kerr (Text Publishing)
Sugar by Carly Nugent (Text Publishing)

WINNERS: Queensland Writers Fellowships, $15,000 each

‘The Celebrated Bodies of Anna Morandi’ by Melissa Ashley
‘The Red Dowager: All Debts Must be Repaid’ by Geneve Flynn
‘In These Mountains’ by Mary-Rose MacColl

WINNERS: Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award, $12,500 each

Rebecca Cheers and Marilena Hewitt

Miranda Hine
Sean West

WINNER: David Unaipon Award for an Emerging Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Writer, $15,000

‘Always Will Be – stories of Goori sovereignty, from the future(s) of the Tweed’
by Mykaela Saunders

‘Finding Billy Brown’ by Edoardo Crismani
‘Wawun, Judulu and The Big Storm’ by Julie-Ann ‘Garrimaa’ Moore
‘untitled manuscript’ by Rick Slager
‘Unplanned Journey: A personal account of one Indigenous woman’s life’ by Aunty Joan Tranter

WINNER: Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer, $15,000

‘Things Left Unsaid’ by Yen-Rong Wong

‘Do you like the artist Georgia O’Keeffe?’ by A E Macleod
‘The Interventions’ by John Richards
‘Sunshowers’ by Emily Winter

WINNER: The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award, $10,000 | Sponsored by The Courier-Mail

Another Day in the Colony by Chelsea Watego, University of Queensland Press


Whole Notes by Ed Ayres (ABC Books)
The Keepers by Al Campbell (University of Queensland Press)
Muddy People by Sara El Sayed (Black Inc. Books)
Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray by Anita Heiss (Simon & Schuster), see my review
The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen by Krissy Kneen (Text Publishing)
Red Heaven by Nicolas Rothwell (Text Publishing)
Crime Writer by Dime Sheppard (Ruby Books)

Congratulations to all the authors, editors, and publishers!

In other awards news:

  • Michelle de Kretser’s Scary Monsters has been shortlisted in the fiction category of the Kirkus Reviews. See my review here. 
  • Miles Allinson’s In Moonland has won The Age Fiction Book of the Year award.  See my review here.
  • Bernadette Brennan’s bio of Gillian Mears, Leaping into Waterfalls has won the The Age NF Book of the Year award.  On my TBR, and see here my report of the author talk with Brennan in discussion about the book with Ramona Koval.

The shortlisted works for Age Fiction Book of the Year were

Cold Enough for Snow (Jessica Au, Giramondo), see my review
After Story (Larissa Behrendt, UQP), see my review
The Signal Line (Brendan Colley, Transit Lounge), see my review
Bodies of Light (Jennifer Down, Text)
Love & Virtue (Diana Reid, Ultimo)

And the shortlisted titles for the Nonfiction award were

Whole Notes: Life lessons through music (Ed Ayres, ABC Books)
The Boy in the Dress (Jonathan Butler, Affirm)
The Uncaged Sky: My 804 days in an Iranian prison (Kylie Moore-Gilbert, Ultimo), see my review
Astronomy: Sky Country (Karlie Noon and Krystal De Napoli, Thames & Hudson)
Childless: A story of freedom and longing (Sian Prior, Text).

Congratulations to all these authors, editors and publishers too!


  1. Hello Lisa and Book Enthusiasts,
    I watched the video of the Queensland Literary Awards ceremony. I admire the award categories and diverse representation of books and authors. In the U.S., Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) are better represented by leading literary institutions’ grants, fellowships, and awards within the past few years. The National Book Awards and Pulitzer Prizes in Literature come to mind.
    Happy reading,
    Sonia (U.S.)


    • Hello Sonia, it’s nice to hear from you.
      It does indeed seem as if more diverse representation is becoming mainstream. When I started running my Indigenous Literature Week (now First Nations Reading Week) I was sometimes struggling to access new titles to read. Now I can’t keep up!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the link to my Coleman review. I’m sure you remember I also ‘reviewed’ Watego, but was too enthusiastic to say much. I thought others of us would have provided a more considered reading – but so far nada. I might have to have another shot at it.

    I was watching Twitter as the results came in. Coleman and Watego seem pretty pleased.


    • *chuckle* I did find your thoughts about the Watego, but didn’t think ‘read it!’ was quite enough in the way of a review.
      As I say in my comment to Sonia, it’s getting too hard to keep up with all the new First Nations releases. (Especially NF, which I don’t read much anyway.) I’ve already got a list as long as your arm for 2023 FNRW and that’s without any upcoming releases…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We’ll I haven’t read many of these, and only have a couple on my TBR, and I’m completely out of touch with what’s happening right now. Am on the road again having just got back from the last trip on Thursday.


    • I feel bad about being out of touch with the children’s books. I used to be right up there, reviewing lots of new releases, often from Magabala, and road-testing them on the kids at school. But now there are no children in my life at all, except for the Chinese toddler up the road, and am pleased to have progressed from “Ni Hao” (which is all the Chinese I know), to ‘My name is…’ and to learn hers because mum doesn’t speak any English. (She must be so lonely, at home with a little one and no English. I am trying to break the ice with a view to helping her learn some if she wants to, but she is very shy).
      Anyway… I’m intrigued, for example, by The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by Sandhya Parappukkaran and illustrated by Michelle Pereira and will try to remember to look for it at the library.


  4. Ooh, I have Lies Damned Lies and Another Day in the Colony, and will be reading them for Aus Reading Month in November, I hope. What a wonderful range of books we see here, thank you for sharing.


    • You’re welcome!
      (I try to keep up, but it’s a losing battle…)


  5. Thanks for the link. I have a few more books to add to my reding pile now :-)


  6. $15,000 dollars for a book of poetry!
    $15.00 and a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant will have been a more appropriate prize for a book of poetry.


    • *chuckle* I must respectfully disagree. It’s not a lot of money. Perhaps 15 weeks rent?
      IMO Many things in this life are overvalued — celebrity handbags, football players, CEOs of banks and national airlines — but the humble Australian poet is not one of them. Consider that here as elsewhere in the world, the poet like the musician is expected to perform their craft for the sheer love of it, with no thought of monetary reward. And just as well because like musicians whose creativity is pirated, poets whether popular or not cannot make a living from their work. $15000 is 1/6 of the average wage here in Victoria, an inadequate recompense for the hours of work in creating such a book, never mind the small return to the publisher who has almost certainly lost money on the book.
      But, I would argue, although creatives in the world of books and writing may welcome the cash that comes with such a prize, I would argue that a much-needed supplement to a writer’s income is not what the prize is for. Logically, if in our economy we say that writers in the absence of bestseller sales must depend on prize money for an income, how does a writer nominated but not successful make a living? What kind of crass society would we be if we said that poetry like the hamburger must be devalued to such an extent that the people who produce it are valued not by its quality but by the price to the consumer who is not willing to pay much for it?
      Finally, a prize in these awards is recognition of the excellence of the poet’s craft by her peers. The prize does us, the readers, a benefit because brings such poets to our notice so that they don’t die unrecognised.
      Never has our arts community been more needed than during the pandemic. They gave of their time freely because neither the government nor the public gave them income support while sports reporters continued to collect their fat salary packages while they reported on sport that wasn’t happening. There’s a lot of injustice in this world but a small cash prize to a poet is not something I’m going to feel indignant about.


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