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Queensland Literary Awards 2018 winners announced

October 23, 2018

Hot off tonight’s twitter feed are this year’s winners of the Queensland Literary Awards. They combine specific state awards and awards for which all Australian writers are eligible.

Here is the whole suite of winners in the order they were announced:

  • Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance: Jackie Ryan’s Expo 88
  • Bri Lee, Eggshell skullYoung Publishers and Writers Award: Bri Lee’s Eggshell skull and Anna Jacobson, whose debut poetry collection will be published by UQP in 2019.
  • Queensland Writing Fellows: Michael Gerard Bauer, Laura Elvery and Jackie Ryan.
  • State Library of Queensland Poetry Collection — Judith Wright Calanthe Award: Michael Farrell’s I love poetry (Giramondo), which, says the Twitter feed, the judges found to be “a truly inventive book” 
  • Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer: Melanie Myers for her manuscript Garrison Town. The judges, says Twitter, described it as “a polished, multi-layered narrative”.
  • David Unaipon Award for an Unpublished Indigenous Writer: Kirstie Parker for her manuscript The making of Ruby Champion, which impressed the judges for the way it “seamlessly draws together the outback Aboriginal grassroots experience with the urban Black story”. The David Unaipon Award has brought us some wonderful writers in the past, of which, to date, I’ve reviewed four here.
  • QUT Digital Literature Award: David Henry Thomas Wright & Chris Arnold’s Little Emperor syndrome. The judges noted its “elegantly simple execution of a wickedly complex narrative”. 
  • Griffith University Children’s Book Award: Peter Carnavas’ The elephant (UQP).
  • Griffith University Young Adult Book Award: Cally Black’s In the dark spaces (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • University of Southern Queensland Short Story Collection-Steele Rudd Award: Jennifer Down’s Pulse points (Text Publishing), which the judges described as “a daring, compelling and refreshing collection” 
  • University of Southern Queensland History Book Award: Jackie Ryan’s Expo 88: We’ll show the world (UQP), which the judges praised for its “achievement in analysing the many dimensions of the Expo story…with such pacey economy is extraordinary” 
  • University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award: Alexis Wright’s Tracker (Giramondo) which the judges said “is stunningly innovative in the way it brings the life and story of Tracker Tilmouth to the printed page”
  • Kim Scott, TabooUniversity of Queensland Fiction Book Award: Kim Scott’s Taboo (Pan Macmillan) which the judges described as “a confronting but ultimately hopeful book that probes Australia’s heart of darkness in poetic and masterly prose.” (Still on my TBR but Lisa has read!)
  • Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award: Beth Wilson’s Brisbane houses with gardens.

Jackie Ryan, Expo 88

Some interesting awards and books here, but Jackie Ryan is clearly the winner of the night, having won the Award for a work of State Significance, the History Book Award, and a Writing Fellowship. I should say that publisher UQP shows her books full title as We’ll show the world: Expo 88 – Brisbane’s almighty struggle for a little bit of cred.

I particularly love that these Awards include one for Digital Literature (since 2017, I believe). It’s not surprising, though, given the work being done in keeping up with new writing and publishing technologies by the Queensland Writers Centre. You may remember that last year I reviewed the Writing black digital collection edited by Ellen van Neerven and supported by the Centre’s If:book arm.

Anyhow, as always, congratulations to all the winners. What a thrill it must be.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2018 10:26 pm

    Thanks for the mention! (I’ve read Tracker too, but there are reviews around that are much better than mine).
    I was pleased to see that Pulse Points won, because although I haven’t read it Meg (who’s written guest reviews on the blog for Eliz Jolley Week) commented when it was nominated for the Readings Prize, that she has read it, and liked it very much.

    • October 23, 2018 10:33 pm

      Thanks Lisa. I thought I wouldn’t point to your Tracker post because I seemed to recollect your uncertainty about it and, as you say, there has been a lot written about it. It sounds like a challenging read but one I should make up my mind about myself! I keep being tempted but it’s so big and my time is so short – in fact, I’m going off to read right now!!

      I’d like to read Pulse points, but Meg’s recommendation just adds to my enthusiasm!!

  2. October 23, 2018 10:30 pm

    I think Kim Scott and Alexis Wright are our two best writers right now (with daylight third, if you count Murnane as retired) so glad to see them get prizes.

    • October 23, 2018 10:37 pm

      Thanks Bill. They are certainly good choices. You are brave saying our two best! But, I’d definitely agree that they are among our best!

      Oh, and I wouldn’t absolutely count Murnane as retired – he may well be, but remember Nellie Melba! You just never know. How can a writer not write? That said, I wouldn’t blame him for retiring from the publishing rat race. I don’t think I’ll ever retire from being a librarian/archivist, but I have retired from “work”.

  3. October 25, 2018 9:06 am

    More books thaf sound well with reading. Almost all of them seem very interesting. The description of Little Emperor Syndrome sounds very good. I googled the book and I see why it won accolades.

    • October 25, 2018 10:51 am

      Oh I love that you Googled it Brian … the If:Book people are doing some interesting stuff which is great to see. It may not all take off, but it’s good for literature, isn’t it, to shake things up a bit, to explore new options. Did you see the second quote (on the book’s website) from William Faulkner about using colour in publishing? Loved that.

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