Awarded to an outstanding work, by an Australian writer, focused on documenting, discussing or highlighting a uniquely Queensland story.
We'll Show the World: Expo 88 (UQP) by Jackie Ryan
Jackie Ryan provides the definitive account of World Expo 88. Meticulously researched, this book describes the ‘behind the scenes’ political manoeuvring leading up to the event, and the challenges in ensuring that the Expo site on the south bank of the Brisbane River was retained as a public space for future generations. We’ll Show the World captures the ways in which Expo contributed to Queensland’s evolution from an inward-looking state to one that embraced a more cosmopolitan sense of itself.
Awarded to two (2) outstanding Queensland writers up to 30 years of age.
Prize: two awards of $10,000 plus career development support to the value of $2,500 each
Anna Jacobson’s interdisciplinary work and bold collage poetry show she is a writer who takes risks, which often pay off. Anna is also one of the emerging writers helping to forge a distinct Queensland voice which holds cultural diversity, respect, and a shamelessly critical eye at its core.
It is heartening to see a young writer and publisher find their voice, their place in the literary community and in the broader public sphere. Eggshell Skull is an important book for many reasons, not least because of the strength of Bri Lee’s writing, the vital message she drives home, and the conversations happening as a result. Bri’s commitment to supporting other writers via Hot Chicks with Big Brains is also indicative of the heart, creative eye, and vision needed to succeed in an ever-changing industry.
Awarded to three (3) established Queensland authors to advance a writing project over a 12-month period.
The Queensland Writers Fellowships are supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland; State Library of Queensland; and Crowd Giving 2018 donors through the Queensland Library Foundation. Queensland Writers Fellowships are administered by Queensland Writers Centre.
Prize: three Fellowships of $15,000 each
Michael Gerard Bauer
Gaps and Silences is a Young Adult novel that takes place over one long, hot Queensland summer holidays when a 14 year old boy is forced to confront and question the unknowns and mysteries of life, along with his image and understanding of himself, in a way that will change him forever
The panel members were equally drawn to Michael’s project which seeks to explore how we fill the ‘gaps and silences’ we create as we craft and re-craft the stories that help us make sense of our own existence. Queensland’s children’s and YA authors have a reputation for tackling challenging subject matter, and Michael’s project seeks to build on that legacy as well as challenge his own identity as a children’s and YA author.
Medallion is a collection of eighteen short stories based on the lives, work and influence of the Nobel Prizes for science that have been awarded to women, beginning with Marie Curie’s first of two medals in 1903. Each story takes a different approach in timeframe, character and narrative separation from the scientists, seen through domestic, physiological and geographical lenses.
Laura’s project has an intriguing literary challenge at its heart - build a cohesive short story collection based on the lives of the 18 women who have won the Nobel Prize for science. While a range of new titles highlight the real contribution of women scientists, Laura’s fiction project will explore their imagined reach.
Alfred Russel Wallace: Optimist and Dissenter is about Alfred Russel Wallace who was, and seems destined to remain, ‘the other one’. In a historic flash of insight in 1858, he formulated a theory of evolution that was almost identical to one that Charles Darwin had been quietly working on for twenty years. In an equally historic flash—this time of unwelcome enthusiasm—Wallace committed this theory to paper and sent it ‘by the next post to Mr. Darwin, in the full expectation that it would be as new and startling a revelation to him as it had been to myself.’ Darwin was indeed startled. Their papers were delivered as a joint presentation. But joint acclaim did not follow, a fact made most evident in the name by which their theory came to be known: Darwinism. The Victorian scientific community partially erased Wallace’s efforts when it became apparent that he was not interested in science so much as the extent to which information gleaned through it could advance humanity in moral and ethical terms. This book seeks to redress the balance by examining his work and his treatment in the context of his time, and by removing some of the scientific strictures through which his contributions have previously been judged.
Jackie has a proven capacity to tackle subjects in which thousands of everyday punters have a personal stake. The panel members are keen to see how the author will step up and into a space with higher stakes and where erasure has played a significant role in defining scientific, public and political discourse, and myth.
Awarded to an exceptional work of transmedia or digital literature showcasing innovation in storytelling.
An elegantly simple execution of a wickedly complex narrative, ‘Little Emperor Syndrome’ makes clever use of database-driven web coding — an accessible choice of platform — to achieve a multi-threaded narrative. The author has introduced a stunning number of permutations for experiencing the different modes and yet still the story works as a cohesive whole. It is a remarkable feat of narrative craft.
Awarded to an outstanding work of fiction by an Australian writer.
A confronting but ultimately hopeful book that probes Australia’s heart of darkness in poetic and masterly prose. Scott just gets better and better in a novel that is brutal but also idealistic. He should be regarded as an important voice in world literature.
Awarded to an outstanding work of non-fiction by an Australian writer.
This book is stunningly innovative in the way it brings the life and story of Tracker Tilmouth to the printed page. Tracker was a visionary Aboriginal leader who used his knowledge of economics to further opportunities for his people. This book is operatic in form, soaring to great heights and depths, always fascinating and ultimately illuminating about this Indigenous leader who remains unknown to many non-Indigenous Australians.
Awarded to a work, suitable for children up to 12 years old, by an Australian writer.
Peter Carnavas has illustrated his debut novel, The Elephant, with simple, evocative line drawings. How Olive and her grandad cope with her mother’s death and father’s overwhelming grief is shown through consummate, heartfelt storytelling. The sensory, lyrical writing is exquisite and the symbols are profound yet ultimately light-filled and hopeful.
Awarded to a work, suitable for young adults aged 13 to 19, by an Australian writer.
This brutally realistic sci-fi novel enfolds a heart-wrenching family story. The norms of race, class, social justice, and personal responsibility are confronted by our young protagonist, Tamara, as she collides and colludes with an alien culture in a quest to rescue her baby cousin and find a way home.
Awarded to an outstanding non-fiction history book by an Australian writer.
Jackie Ryan’s Expo 88 is an engaging history of Queensland in the 1970s and 1980s giving an extraordinary insight into Queensland’s distinctive political and commercial machinations, as well as its social history. Ryan’s achievement in analysing the many dimensions of the Expo story — its boosters, doubters, and opponents of its social dislocation — with such pacey economy is extraordinary. Ryan’s literary writing style demonstrates that scholarly excellence can still be accessible to all readers.
Awarded to an outstanding collection of short stories by an Australian writer.
It’s exceedingly rare to see astonishing talent in a writer so young. Pulse Points is a daring, compelling, and refreshing collection of stories that covers diverse territory. Each story is emotionally evocative, surprising the reader at every turn. This is a collection of an author to watch.
Awarded to an outstanding collection of poetry by an Australian writer.
One of the country’s foremost poets, Michael Farrell opens a door and invites the reader to step beyond the threshold of disbelief into a new and dazzling world. In I Love Poetry, his commitment to Australia as subject, and to poetry as a mode of thought, gains power with each fearless interrogation. Farrell remixes the Australian experience though a multiplicity of word play, bush poetic, irony, fragmented joy, and surprise cameos from Australian icons such as INXS and Waleed Aly. A truly inventive book, I Love Poetry brings a whole new dimension to Australian camp: extravagant, subversive, and hilarious, but also profound in its capacity to reimagine the terms with which we inhabit this complex continent. In the great tradition of queer Australian landscape poetics, like Patrick White, David Malouf, and Martin Harrison, Farrell recombines Australian ecology, history, and mythology into glorious, and very funky, new forms. But despite the book’s grand canvas, many of the poems feature a startling intimacy: the poet has become as open to the details of his self as he has always been to the currents and conjectures of pop culture, literature and philosophy; all is vibrant, viable material for this lyrebird of Australian poetry.
Awarded to an outstanding book by a Queensland author. The winner is determined by public vote.
Awarded for an outstanding manuscript by an unpublished Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writer.
Supported by the Copyright Agency through the Cultural Fund.
Prize: $15,000, plus publication with the University of Queensland Press (UQP)
One of the achievements of this manuscript is the way it seamlessly draws together the outback Aboriginal grassroots experience with the urban Black story. Both settings are deeply and authentically Blak, and the humour and characters expressed by the author shine as a rough diamond from the heart of Aboriginal Australia.
Supported by the University of Queensland Press.
Awarded for an outstanding manuscript by an unpublished Queensland writer.
This category is sponsored by Jenny Summerson.
Garrison Town is a polished, multi-layered narrative that reveals the simmering tensions in WWII Brisbane between visiting US soldiers and Australian troops. Told through the perspective of several female characters, it is a well-researched historical fiction that expertly weaves epistolary into a modern-day narrative. The author elegantly mirrors the challenges and limitations faced by wartime women with contemporary themes of violence and sexism.
Supported by the University of Queensland Press
Find all past Queensland Literary Awards winners here.