Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance

2021 Shortlist

Congratulations to the finalists!

Car Crash by Lech Blain (Black Inc.)

Judges' comments

An excellently written account of the writer’s traumatic experience of surviving a car crash that claims the lives of three of his teenage friends. Moving on from the crash to its aftermath, this is a perceptive and intelligent investigation of the buccaneer masculine culture that dominates young Australian men – and its continuing emotional fallout. 

Ordinary Matter by Laura Elvery (University of Queensland Press)

Judges' comments 

This collection of stories takes the women winners of Nobel Prizes for sciences as a jumping off point to probe women’s lives, both historical and contemporary. Ordinary Matter is sensitively and eloquently written. Elvery demonstrates her strong imagination, first-class observation and fine prose style. A significant Queensland writer, this, her second collection, shows her moving into her prime.

Biting The Clouds by Fiona Foley (University of Queensland Press)

Judges' comments 

An original and creative exploration by visual artist Fiona Foley of the devastation wrought upon Queensland’s Batjala people at the end of the nineteenth century.The little-known story of how Batjala workers were paid in opium is inventively told in dialogue between her art and text, reclaiming the story for her own people and for the wider Australian community. 

A Question of Colour by Pattie Lees with Adam C Lees (Magabala)

Judges' comments 

The story of the writer’s early years when she’s taken from her mother and sent to Palm Island, A Question of Colour is a seamless work of storytelling. A raw and moving memoir it vividly exposes the insanity of a racialised public policy and its terrible real-world impact on the lives of Australia’s First Nations people.

Change Machine by Jaya Savige (University of Queensland Press)

Judges' comments

A genuinely impressive collection of poetry from the writer who grew up on Bribie Island, won a scholarship to Cambridge and now lives in London. Savige’s work moves eloquently between the localised and the cosmopolitan, pop culture and high art, the personal and the abstract. Playful and technically robust, it reveals a poet whose work sings with captivating intelligence.