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Judging process

Get to know the judges and judging process.

2023 judges


Queensland Premier's Award for a Work of State Significance   

(Chair) Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes, Overland and the Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction. Jeanine teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne 

Nigel Featherstone is an Australian writer who has been published widely. His latest novel, My Heart is a Little Wild Thing, is out now from Ultimo. Nigel’s war novel, Bodies of Men, was published by Hachette Australia in 2019. It was longlisted for the 2020 ARA Historical Novel Prize, shortlisted for the 2020 ACT Book of the Year, and shortlisted in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Nigel is also a librettist and playwright, and he is finalising a new work for the stage, which is being developed by The Street Theatre in Canberra. He is currently supported by Create NSW and the Australia Council for the Arts. In 2022, Nigel was named ACT Artist of the Year. He lives on Gandangara Country (otherwise known as the Southern Tablelands of NSW) and is represented by Left Bank Literary, Sydney. 

Cass Moriarty’s novels include Parting words (University of Queensland Press 2017) and The promise seed (UQP 2015), longlisted for the 2017 Dublin International Literary Award, and shortlisted for both the 2016 Queensland Literary Awards (People’s Choice Award) and the 2013 QLA (Emerging Author category). The Saturday Paper has published her short fiction and her creative non-fiction. She is a book reviewer and critic, a writing mentor, an Australia Council recipient, a Queensland Literary Awards judge, and she presents workshops and hosts literary conversations. Cass is a staunch supporter of Australian authors and believes in the power of a supportive literary community. 

Rohan Wilson is a writer, teacher, and critic. He is the author of three novels, The Roving Party (2011),  To Name Those Lost (2014), and Daughter of Bad Times (2019). His work has won numerous awards, including the 2011 The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award, the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Award, and the 2016 Adelaide Festival Award. He lectures in Creative Writing at QUT. His academic research has focused fiction’s difficult relationship with history and the ways in which the Australian novel imagines its connection to the past. 


Queensland Writers Fellowships + Queensland Premier's Young Publishers and Writers Awards 

(Chair) Dr Inga Simpson is the author of Mr Wigg, Nest, Where the Trees Were, Understory: a life with Trees and The Last Woman in the World. Her most recent novel, Willowman, about the art of cricket batmaking, was longlisted for an Indie Book Award and shortlisted for an Australian Book Industry Award, the Bookpeople Adult Fiction Book of the Year, and the ACT Notable Book Awards. Inga has PhDs in creative writing and English literature.  Her essays and short stories have been published in Griffith Review, Wonderground, Chicago Quarterly Review, Openbook, Review of Australian Fiction, Clues, Writing Queensland, and The Dictionary of Literary Biography.  

Shastra Deo is a writer, reader, and videogame enthusiast. Her first book, The Agonist (UQP 2017), won the 2016 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the 2018 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. Her second book, The Exclusion Zone (UQP 2023), is out now. 

Ian See is a senior editor at the University of Queensland Press. Over his 14-year career in the book industry, he has also worked as an editor at Scribe Publications and Text Publishing, and as the production editor and books editor of The Saturday Paper. He is a former bookseller at Readings Carlton and was on the judging panel for the 2021 Stella Prize. 


The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award 

(Chair) Joy Lawn is a freelance writer whose reviews and interviews have appeared in the Weekend Australian, Australian Book Review, Magpies magazine, SMH/The Age, Books+Publishing and professional journals. She has judged the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and other prestigious awards; blogs about literary fiction, young adult and children’s literature as ‘Joy in Books’ at PaperbarkWords blog and loves moderating sessions at writers’ festivals. Joy is fascinated by ideas and images and how authors and illustrators express these with truth and originality. 

Simon Cleary is an author whose work includes the novels The War Artist (2019), Closer to Stone (2012) and The Comfort of Figs (2008). 

Mindy Gill’s poems have most recently appeared in Griffith Review and The Penguin Book of Indian Poets. Her criticism has been published in Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books and Meanjin. She is an Australian Book Review Rising Star

Sue Wright is the Director of Tiny Owl Workshop, a Brisbane-based micro-press. She is an editor, author, Print Industry Craftsmanship Award Gold Medallist, executive producer of a Shorty Award winning multi-media project, Queensland Literary Awards judge, and past Chair of the Children’s Book Council Australia (Queensland)


The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award 

(Chair) Andrew Bonnell is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Queensland. He has written or edited nine books, including Shylock in Germany (2008), and most recently Red Banners, Books and Beer Mugs. The Mental World of German Social Democrats, 1863-1914 (Brill, 2021) and Robert Michels, Socialism, and Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2023). He has also published numerous articles and book chapters on German and European history. 

Nike Sulway is Senior Lecturer in Creative and Critical Writing at University of Southern Queensland. Her research focuses on diversity and inclusivity in creative writing practice and research, particularly the writing and writing practices of women and queers. Her work is strongly focused on speculative fiction narratives, including fairy tales, speculative fiction, and the weird. Her recent publications include the award-winning children’s novel, Winter’s Tale (2020), the novel Dying in the First Person (2016), a co-edited book of critical reflections on Anne of Green Gables (Reflections on our Relationships with Anne of Green Gables, with Jess Carniel, 2021) and a chapter on Australian fairy tale history in The Routledge Companion to Australian Literature (Magical Migrations: Australian Fairy Tale Traditions and Practices). 

Khalid Warsame is a writer who lives in Melbourne. His essays, criticism, and fiction have appeared in Meanjin, The Lifted Brow, Overland, The Big Issue, Cordite Poetry Review and LitHub. 

Yen-Rong Wong is an arts critic and award-winning writer based between unceded Yugambeh, and Jaggera and Turrbal land. She won the Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer in 2022 and the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award in 2020. She has been a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk fellow and writer-in-residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre, and her work has appeared in many print and online publications, including The Guardian, Meanjin, and Griffith Review. She is currently working on several creative projects, and her first book of non-fiction, Me, Her, Us, is forthcoming with UQP.   


Children’s Book Award 

(Chair) Kristy Bushnell is an experienced freelance book editor and mentor specialising in children’s and young adult literature. She works with award-winning, bestselling and emerging authors, and publishing houses such as the University of Queensland Press, Scholastic, HarperCollins and Walker Books, and is an alumnus of the Australian Publishing Association’s Residential Editorial Program. Based on the Sunshine Coast, Kristy thrives on encouraging connection through story and promoting literature to the community in school and public libraries. 

Genevieve Kruyssen is a children's book specialist. She has been a bookseller and the events manager at Where the Wild Things Are children's bookshop for 8 years. Genevieve loves working with authors and illustrators to create inspiring launches and events. Her main aim is to delight in stories with kids. She runs book clubs for kids and teenagers, where they read curious new releases that often end up being adventurous and lyrical. She is a confident speaker, having interviewed some of her heroes for online and in-person launches including Neal Shusterman, Kate DiCamillo, Emily Gravett and Levi Pinfold. In 2021 she won Penguin Random House Young Bookseller of the Year. In 2022 she judged the Qld Literary Awards Children's Book Award and the Penguin Literary Prize

Mia Macrossan is a former CBCA Children’s Book of the Year judge and judge of the Children’s Books category for the Queensland Literary awards. She administers the annual Book Links Award for Children's Historical Fiction and is the editor of the online review magazine StoryLinks. She founded the Last Tuesday Children’s Book Club for adults who love to read and discuss children’s books.Mia reviews for Magpies, Reading Time, 4MBS Radio and of course, StoryLinks. 

Richard Newsome is the Director of the Masters of Writing, Editing and Publishing program at The University of Queensland, as well as an award-winning author of Middle Grade novels. His books have been published and translated in multiple territories, and he is a regular speaker at school literature events, promoting the joy of story among young creatives. 


Griffith University Young Adult Book Award 

(Chair) Trish Buckley loves her job as a teacher librarian where she spends a lot of time encouraging young people to find books that engage and connect them with their identity, their culture and their passion. This brings Trish much joy and purpose and gives her the excuse to read many young adult novels. When not working, Trish is actively involved in the Children’s Book Council of Australia (Queensland branch), volunteering in a variety of roles for almost 20 years, feeling very lucky to be surrounded by books and reading. 

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of the short fiction collection Foreign Soil, the memoir The Hate Race, the poetry collections Carrying the World and How Decent Folk Behave, and many other books for adults and children. Her forthcoming poetry collection is It's the Sound of the Thing: 100 new poems for young people. She is currently Poet in Residence at The University of Melbourne

Shivaun Plozza is the award-winning author of Frankie, Tin Heart, The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars, A Reluctant Witch’s Guide to Magic and Meet Me at the Moon Tree. Her writing has been shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year, YALSA's Top Ten Best Young Adult Books of the Year, and the Gold Inky. She won the Davitt Award for Best Young Adult Crime Novel in 2017. 


University of Southern Queensland Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection 

(Chair) John Tague is Managing Editor of Griffith Review. He worked as a writer, editor and critic for twenty-five years in London, contributing to the Independent on Sunday, BBC Radio Four, The Times Literary Supplement and the NME among many others. In Australia he worked for Australian Associated Press and the ABC before joining Griffith Review. 

Julie Koh is the author of two short-story collections: Capital Misfits and Portable Curiosities. The latter was shortlisted for several awards and led to Julie being named a 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. Her short stories have been published widely, including in the Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Comedy Writing. She has written radio plays for ABC Radio National and the libretto for the satirical opera Chop Chef. Julie has judged twelve literary prizes, among them the 2018 Stella Prize and the 2022 USQ Steele Rudd Award. She is the current Prose Editor for Westerly

Amanda O’Callaghan’s short fiction has been awarded and shortlisted in the Bridport Prize, Carmel Bird Award, Bristol Prize, Bath Flash Fiction Award, Fish Short Story Prize, Aeon Award, Flash 500 Award and others. She is a recipient of a Queensland Writers Fellowship. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Queensland. Her short story collection, This Taste for Silence (UQP), was shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. She lives in Brisbane. 


Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection 

(Chair) Ellen van Neerven is the author of two poetry collections, Comfort Food and Throat, one work of fiction, Heat and Light, and a non-fiction title Personal Score: Sport, Culture, Identity.   

Pam Brown has been writing, collaborating, editing and publishing in diverse modes for five decades. She has earned a living variously. In 2019 her poetry collection Click here for what we do (Vagabond Press) was awarded the The Australian Literature Society Gold Medal for Literature. More recently her book Stasis Shuffle (Hunter Publishers) won the Judith Wright Calanthe Award in 2022. Born in Seymour, Victoria, Pam grew up on military bases in Toowoomba and Brisbane. She has spent most of her adult life in Sydney, currently living on Gadigal land. 

Toby Fitch is poetry editor of Overland and a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Sydney. He is the author of eight books of poetry, including Where Only the Sky had Hung Before (Vagabond Press, 2019), Sydney Spleen (Giramondo Publishing, 2021), and, most recently, a newly expanded and full-colour edition of Object Permanence: Calligrammes (Puncher & Wattmann / Thorny Devil Press, December 2022). He co-edited Best of Australian Poetry 2021, with Ellen van Neerven, and edited the anthology Groundswell: The Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New & Emerging Poets 2007–2020. 


David Unaipon Award for an Emerging Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Writer 

(Chair) Dr Jared Thomas is a Nukunu person of the Southern Flinders Ranges and the Research Fellow, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Material Cultural and Visual Art, at the South Australian Museum. His novel Calypso Summer joined the 2015 International Youth Library White Raven list of books that deserve worldwide attention because of their universal themes and exceptional artistic and literary style. Jared's recent releases include My Spare Heart (Allen and Unwin, 2022) the Game Day series, which was written with NBA player and Olympian Patty Mills, and Uncle XBox (Magabala Books, 2023). 

Melanie Saward is a proud descendant of the Bigambul and Wakka Wakka peoples. She is a writer, editor, and university lecturer based in Tulmur (Ipswich), Queensland. She is the managing editor of Djed Press, and her writing has been published in Flock, Overland, Kill Your Darlings, New Australian Fiction 2022 and 2019. Her debut novel Burn (which was shortlisted for the Unaipon award in 2018 and 2020) will be published by Affirm Press in September 2023. 

Yasmin Smith is a poet, writer and editor of South Sea Islander, Kabi Kabi, Northern Cheyenne and English heritage. Beginning her publishing career at the national black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project, she has worked across literary fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and poetry with a focus on supporting First Nations creatives and their stories. Yasmin was a recipient of the Australian Publishers Association’s Residential Editorial Program in 2022. She was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Poetry Prize in 2020, and her most recent poem was published in Australian Poetry Journal’s Best of Australian Poems 2022. She is currently an editor at University of Queensland Press where her work includes overseeing their ground-breaking First Nations Classics series


Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer 

(Chair) Madonna Duffy is the Publishing Director at the University of Queensland Press (UQP). She has previously worked in London and in Sydney and has published authors at UQP such as Melissa Lucashenko, Matthew Condon, David Malouf and Tony Birch.  

Melanie Myers is a writer, editor, playwright and researcher. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and teaches at the University of Queensland. In 2018, she won the Queensland Literary Awards Glendower Award for an Emerging Writer. Her debut novel Meet Me at Lennon’s (UQP) was shortlisted for the 2020 Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance and People’s Choice Award. Her writing has been published in Kill Your Darlings, Griffith Review, Arena Magazine, Overland, Hecate, TEXT and other publications. She is a winner of the 2022 Griffith Review Emerging Voices competition. 

Mirandi Riwoe is the author of The Burnished Sun, a collection of short stories and novellas. Her novel Stone Sky Gold Mountain won the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction and the ARA Historical Novel Prize and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Her novella The Fish Girl won Seizure’s Viva la Novella and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies (QUT). Her new novel is Sunbirds.  

Ronnie Scott is the author of Salad Days, a Penguin Special; The Adversary, a novel which was shortlisted for a Queensland Literary Award and the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal; and Shirley, a second novel which was published in February. He’s a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at RMIT. 

How are the Queensland Literary Awards judged?

Categories in the Queensland Literary Awards are assessed by panels of independent judges.

Panels are made up of authors, critics, academics, publishers, media professionals, editors, librarians, reviewers, teachers, arts organisation representatives, booksellers and journalists.

The names of the judges will be published after judging is complete.

The judging process

  • Nominations are checked for eligibility by State Library of Queensland staff.
  • All eligible nominations are forwarded to the relevant judging panel.
  • Judges read and assess the nominations, deciding on a shortlist and one winner for each award category.
  • Judges award the category prize to the nomination deemed to possess the highest literary merit.
  • Shortlists are published on the State Library website in August. 
  • Winners are announced in September. 
  • The shortlist for The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award is selected by the judges from the eligible Queensland-authored nominations in the Fiction Book Award and Non-Fiction Book Award categories. The winner of the People's Choice Award is determined by public vote.

Other judging information

  • Judges must disclose any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest as soon as they become aware of them. The State Library of Queensland records all conflicts of interest, perceived, potential and actual. The conflict of interest is managed by the State Library and the panel chair and judges in accordance with the conflict of interest framework established by the Queensland Literary Awards Reference Group.
  • Judging panels may contact authors or nominators to request additional information if they feel it is required.
  • Judges have the right to move a nomination to a different category if they deem the category to be more relevant.
  • The outcomes of the judging process are final and no discussion or correspondence will be entered into in regards to final award decisions or the judging process.
  • State Library of Queensland and Queensland Literary Awards judges do reserve the right not to award a prize in a category. 
  • Panels must decide on one winner only per category, no co-winners are to be awarded in any category.
  • Shortlists are a maximum of five titles only, including the winner of the category. Panels may choose to shortlist fewer than five titles in a category.

If you have any questions about the Queensland Literary Awards judges, or the judging process, please contact