Judges in 2021

Each award category is assessed by a panel of independent judges.

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

2021 Judges - Published book awards and prizes


Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance  

Jill Eddington (Chair)  
Jill Eddington has spent much of her working life in the literary sector and is an advocate for Australian writers and writing. Jill is best known as Director of Byron Writers Festival; Arts Practice Director Literature, at Australia Council for the Arts; and CEO at UQP. 

Jeanine Leane  
Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. She has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction. Jeanine teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne and in 2020, Jeanine edited Guwayu – for all times – a collection of First Nations Poetry commissioned by Red Room Poetry and published by Magabala Books. 

John Tague 
John Tague worked as a journalist 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. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in English Literature and Language from the University of Leeds and an MA (Modern Literature: Studies in Fiction) from the University of East Anglia. 

The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award 

Rohan Wilson (Chair) 
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 on fiction’s difficult relationship with history and the ways in which the Australian novel imagines its connection to the past.

Sara El Sayed 
Sara El Sayed is a writer based in Meanjin. She teaches at the Queensland University of Technology, where she is completing a Master of Fine Arts. Her debut memoir, Muddy People, will be published via Black Inc. in August 2021. Her work is anthologised in Growing Up African in Australia (Black Inc.) and Arab-Australian-Other (Pan Macmillan). She is a current Queensland Writers Fellow. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award, and the 2019 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers. 

Cass Moriarty 
Cass Moriarty’s novels include Parting Words (2017) and The Promise Seed (2015), longlisted for 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. 

Ronnie Scott 
Dr Ronnie Scott is a Senior Lecturer in the Writing & Publishing Discipline at RMIT University and Program Manager of the Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing). His current research project is Australian Comics 1980-2020: A New History. His novel The Adversary (2020) was shortlisted for a Queensland Literary Award – Fiction in 2020. 

The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award  

Mary Philip (Chair) 
Mary Philip has been judging books for the Queensland Literary Awards for several years, and before that she was a judge for The Courier-Mail Book of the Year Award. She has reviewed hundreds of books, mainly for The Courier-Mail. She regularly reads manuscripts for the University of Queensland Press, and for five years she facilitated bookclubs at Riverbend Books.  

Andrew Bonnell 
Andrew Bonnell is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Queensland, specializing in modern European and German history. He has written or edited eight books, including The People’s Stage in Imperial Germany, Shylock in Germany, and, most recently, Red Banners, Books and Beer Mugs: The Mental World of German Social Democrats, 1863-1914 (2021), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. 

Alan Rix 
Alan Rix is an emeritus professor of the University of Queensland, currently an honorary research fellow at the Queensland Museum. He has written and published widely on contemporary Japan, the history of Australia-Japan relations and Japanese foreign policy, while the focus of his recent work is on the geosciences and the history of some of Queensland's important geological collections. 

Yen-Rong Wong 
Yen-Rong is a writer of non-fiction based in Meanjin (Brisbane), on unceded Jaggera and Turrbal land. She won the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award in 2020, and in 2019, she was shortlisted for the Deakin University Non-Fiction Prize. 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 GuardianMeanjin, and Griffith Review. She is currently working on her first full length manuscript, 'Things Left Unsaid'. 

Griffith University Young Adult Fiction Book Award 

Sue Gough (Chair) 
Sue Gough is an award-winning YA author, who has served on the Library Board of Queensland, as a mentor for the Australian Society of Authors, and as Deputy Chair of the Literature Fund.  She inaugurated the State Library's Young Writers Award competition and teaches creative writing. 

Jasmin McGaughey 
Jasmin is a Torres Strait Islander and African American writer and editor. She is studying a Master of Philosophy in creative writing and worked as a Junior Editor at State Library of Queensland in the black&write! team. She is also a recipient of the Wheeler Centre’s 2019 Next Chapter Fellowship. Jasmin’s passions have always been writing and reading and she is proud to be able to work and learn in this field with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writing. 

Richard Newsome 
Dr Richard Newsome is the director of the Masters of Writing, Editing and Publishing program at The University of Queensland. He has written nine novels for younger readers and his works have been published and translated around the world. He was the inaugural winner of the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing and has received New Zealand’s oldest literary prize, the Esther Glen Award. 

Children’s Book Award 

Mia Macrossan (Chair)  
Mia Macrossan is a teacher librarian and editor of children's books as well as a former CBCA children’s book of the year judge. She has also judged children’s books for the Queensland Literary Awards as well as the annual Brisbane City Council libraries Muir Shield Award for best Book Week display. She founded the Last Tuesday Children’s Book Club for adults who love to read and discuss children’s books and reviews for Magpies, Reading Time, and 4MBS Radio. She also edits and reviews for StoryLinks.  

Ed Ayres 
Ed Ayres is a writer, music teacher and broadcaster. He was born on the White Cliffs of Dover and began playing violin when he was eight years old. He studied music in Manchester, Berlin and London, played professionally in the UK and Hong Kong, and moved to Australia in 2003. Ed has written three books about music and travel; he was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for his children’s book, Sonam and the Silence

Kristy Bushnell
Kristy Bushnell is an editor specialising in children’s and young adult literature. She has edited award-winning picture books and fiction, including titles that have won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, CBCA Book of the Year Award, Queensland Literary Award, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, Western Australian Premier’s Book Award and the Australian Book Industry Award. Kristy has worked for the University of Queensland Press, Omnibus Books, Scholastic, HarperCollins, Allen & Unwin and Pan Macmillan. Based on the Sunshine Coast, she combines freelance editing and promoting children’s and young adult literature to the community in school and public libraries.

Ezekiel Kwaymullina 
Ezekiel Kwaymullina is a multi-award winning Aboriginal children's author. He belongs to the Palkyu people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. He began his career with a focus on picture books, achieving critical acclaim for his short text, lyrical style of writing. His last work Catching Teller Crow won numerous awards in Australia and was published in eight different countries around the world and translated into six different languages. 

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

Jerath Head (Chair) 
Jerath Head is a writer and editor. His work has featured in numerous Australian publications, and he has twice been shortlisted for the New Philosopher Writers’ Award. He is the former assistant editor of Griffith Review and co-editor of Griffith Review 56: Millennials Strike Back

Amanda O’Callaghan 
Amanda O’Callaghan’s fiction has been awarded and shortlisted in the Bridport Prize, Carmel Bird Award, E J Brady 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.  

Khalid Warsame 
Khalid Warsame is an arts worker and writer of essays, criticism and fiction. His work has appeared in a number of journals, online, and in anthologies. 

Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection 

Bronwyn Lea (Chair) 
Professor Bronwyn Lea is the Head of the School of Communication and Arts, at the University of Queensland, where her research interests include contemporary Australian and American poetry and fiction. She is the author of eleven books, including the multi-award winning Flight Animals (UQP), The Other Way Out (Giramondo), and The Deep North (George Braziller). Her poems have been anthologised in Australian Poetry Since 1788Thirty Australian PoetsSixty Classic Australian Poems, and The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry. She is the founding editor of The Best Australian Poetry series, the inaugural editor of Australian Poetry Journal, and the current poetry editor at Meanjin

Liam Ferney 
Liam Ferney is the author of four collections of poetry including Hot Take and Career (both Hunter Publishing) and Boom (Grande Parade Poets). His work has been shortlisted for a number of national awards including the Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. He lives in Brisbane with his wife and daughter. He works in public affairs and captains the New Farm Traktor Collective

Omar Sakr 
Omar Sakr is the author of These Wild Houses (Cordite, 2017) and The Lost Arabs (UQP, 2019), which won the 2020 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Poetry. His poems have been widely published and anthologised in places such as the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series, Border Lines: Poems of Migration (Vintage Knopf, 2020), the Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry (MUP, 2020), Best Australian Poems 2016 (Black Inc) and Contemporary Australian Poetry (Puncher & Wattmann, 2016). Born and raised on Dharug country to Lebanese and Turkish Muslim migrants, he lives there still. His debut novel is forthcoming with Affirm Press. 

2021 Judges - Development awards and prizes


Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award and Queensland Writers Fellowships 

Sue Wright (Chair) 
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). 

Joy Lawn 
Joy Lawn writes the young adult literature column for the Weekend Australian. Her reviews and interviews have also appeared in Australian Book Review, Magpies magazine, SMH/The AgeBooks+Publishing and professional journals. She has judged the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, CBCA and other prestigious awards; blogs about literary fiction, young adult and children’s literature and loves moderating sessions at writers’ festivals.  

Nike Sulway 
Nike Sulway is an Australian writer of both fantastic and realist fiction and poetry. Her previous publications include award-winning novels, such as Rupetta, Dying in the First Person, and Winter’s Tale. She coordinates the creative writing discipline at University of Southern Queensland. 

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

Cathy Craigie (Chair)  
Cathy Craigie is a Gamilaraay woman from Northern NSW. She is passionate about Aboriginal capacity and community development utilising the arts and in particular literature. Her work has ranged across the cultural industries and she is a former Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Arts Board at the Australia Council and was the first Executive Director of First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN). Cathy’s own writing crosses genres and includes plays, short stories, writing for children and commissioned essays. In 2016 she was awarded the NSW Indigenous Arts Award to further her interest in transferring traditional stories to a more contemporary form. 

Declan Fry 
Born on Wongatha country in Kalgoorlie, Declan Fry has written for The GuardianSaturday PaperOverlandLiminalAustralian Book Review, CorditeKill Your DarlingsWesterly and elsewhere. His Meanjin Quarterly essay “Justice for Elijah: A Spiritual Dialogue With Ziggy Ramo, Dancing” received the Peter Blazey Fellowship. He has been the recipient of a Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Award for memoir and shortlisted for the Judith Wright Poetry Prize. He is a graduate of UWA, where he studied European and Asian literature. He currently lives on unceded Wurundjeri country.  

Jared Thomas 
Dr Jared Thomas is a Nukunu person of the Southern Flinders Ranges and the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Material Cultural at the South Australian Museum. Jared’s works of theatre and fiction explore issues relating to Aboriginal marginalisation and resistance, the environment, gender and sexuality. His fiction works include Calypso SummerSongs that Sound like Blood and the Game Day series co-written with NBA basketballer Patty Mills. Calypso Summer was a winner of the International White Raven award in 2015. 

Tara June Winch 
Tara June Winch is an Australian (Wiradjuri) writer based in France. She is the author of Swallow the Air, After the Carnage, and The Yield, which won the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award. 

Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer 

Aviva Tuffield (Chair) 
Aviva Tuffield has worked in Australian publishing for twenty years and is currently a publisher at the University of Queensland Press. She has previously worked at Black Inc, Affirm Press and Scribe Publications, where she was responsible for building an award-winning Australian fiction list. She was a co-founder and the inaugural executive director of the Stella Prize. In 2015 she was selected as one of Westpac/Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence, and has also been a finalist in the NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards for her work with the Stella Prize. 

Sarah Deasy 
Sarah Deasy is the buyer for Avid Reader Bookshop and has worked in bookselling for over 12 years with a passion for reading paper books, winning the ABA Young Bookseller of the year award in 2017. In 2020 she joined the board of the Australian Booksellers Association, with the goal to support independent bookshops and local authors. 

Shastra Deo 
Shastra Deo was born in Fiji, raised in Melbourne, and lives in Brisbane. She is currently undertaking her PhD in Creative Writing at The University of Queensland, focused on nuclear semiotics and a language of warning. Her first book, The Agonist (2017), won the 2016 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the 2018 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. 

George Haddad 
George Haddad is a writer and artist practising on Gadigal land whose work explores masculinities and the limitations of language in communicating truths. His novella Populate and Perish was the recipient of the 2016 Viva La Novella prize and his short story Kátharsis was awarded the 2018 Neilma Sidney prize. He is currently a doctoral candidate and sessional tutor at the Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University. His upcoming novel Losing Face will be published by UQP in 2022. 

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.
  • The judges award the category prize to the nomination deemed to possess the highest literary merit.
  • The shortlists are published on the State Library website in August. 
  • The 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 qla@slq.qld.gov.au.