Winners of prestigious Queensland Literary Awards announced

Queensland’s literary talent was tonight (Wednesday 4 October) recognised at the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards (QLA) ceremony at the State Library of Queensland (SLQ).

Queensland Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated the winners of the 2017 QLA while also confirming continued funding to support the awards in partnership with SLQ.

“After reinstating the QLA in 2015, I am proud to confirm that my government will continue to support the awards, reaffirming our ongoing commitment to celebrating and nurturing our literary artists,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

Attending the awards on behalf of the Premier, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch applauded the rich pool of Queensland writers celebrated at the awards.

“I am proud of this government’s commitment to building Queensland’s reputation as a leader in the national literary landscape by profiling and supporting our homegrown writers,” Ms Enoch said.

“This year’s awards include the QUT Digital Literature Award, which supports continued growth in the digital space. I was delighted to present the $25,000 Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance to Bill Wilkie from Mossman in Far North Queensland for his work The Daintree Blockade: The Battle for Australia’s Tropical Rainforests.”

Ms Enoch also announced the two recipients of the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Awards which help foster the next generation of literary talent.

“Congratulations to Lech Blaine from regional Queensland and Mindy Gill from South Brisbane who will both receive $10,000 each along with an additional $2500 worth of professional development,” she said.

Professor Andrew Griffiths, chairperson, Library Board of Queensland, presented the three $15,000 Queensland Writers Fellowships – designed to advance a project over a 12-month period - to Zenobia Frost, Linda Neil and Mirandi Riwoe.

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald presented the State Library of Queensland Poetry Collection – Judith Wright Calanthe Award to Antigone Kefala for Fragments, her first poetry collection in 20 years.

Ms McDonald also presented Janet Lee with the Emerging Queensland Writer – Manuscript Award for her work The Killing of Louisa, which judges said showed great control of character, plot and narrative.

This year, the QLA, presented by SLQ and supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland (AQ), offered prizes for authors in 13 categories across fiction, non-fiction and poetry, for published and unpublished work.

The Queensland Government continues to match sponsor and philanthropic support through funding across all award categories, and in partnership with SLQ also supports three Queensland Writers Fellowships (QWF) of $15,000, providing authors with an opportunity to develop their manuscripts and writing projects.

A further eight Queensland writers have been selected in 2017 to receive Griffith Review Queensland Writing Fellowships, supported by AQ, SLQ and Griffith Review, which will culminate with the Fellows’ completed pieces published in the Griffith Review next year.

These Fellowships were awarded to Ashley Hay, Mirandi Riwoe, Andrea Baldwin, Victoria Carless, Anne Richards, Matthew Wengert, Jill Barker and Rosie Funder.

On behalf of the Premier, Ms Enoch acknowledged the support of QLA partners: The University of Queensland, Griffith University, University of Southern Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith Review, the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and The Courier-Mail.

2017 Queensland Literary Award winners

Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance (Prize: $25,000)

  • The Daintree Blockade: The Battle for Australia's Tropical Rainforests by Bill Wilkie (Four Mile Books)

Queensland Premier's Young Publishers and Writers Awards (Prize: $12,500 each)

  • Lech Blaine
  • Mindy Gill

Queensland Writers Fellowships (Prize: $15,000 each)

  • Zenobia Frost for Museum of Dwellings
  • Linda Neil for People are Kind
  • Mirandi Riwoe for A Gold Mountain Woman

The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award (Prize: $10,000)

  • The Birdman's Wife by Melissa Ashley (Affirm Press)

The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award (Prize: $10,000)

  • Saltwater by Cathy McLennan (UQP)

Griffith University Children’s Book Award (Prize: $10,000)

  • The Grand, Genius Summer of Henry Hoobler by Lisa Shanahan (Allen & Unwin)

Griffith University Young Adult Book Award (Prize: $10,000)

  • Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (Pan Macmillan)

University of Southern Queensland History Book Award (Prize: $10,000)

  • Into the Heart of Tasmania by Rebe Taylor (MUP)

University of Southern Queensland Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award (Prize: $10,000)

  • The Circle and the Equator by Kyra Giorgi (UWA Publishing)

State Library of Queensland Poetry Collection – Judith Wright Calanthe Award (Prize: $10,000)

  • Fragments by Antigone Kefala (Giramondo)

QUT Digital Literature Award (Prize: $10,000)

  • Nine Billion Branches by Jason Nelson

Unpublished Indigenous Writer – David Unaipon Award (Prize: $10,000)

  • Mirrored Pieces by Lisa Fuller

Emerging Queensland Writer – Manuscript Award (Prize $10,000)

  • The Killing of Louisa by Janet Lee

The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award

  • Saltwater by Cathy McLennan (UQP)

For more information about the awards visit
Photos available upon request: Cinnamon Watson Publicity, 0432 219 643 or email

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