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

Voting has now closed for The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award

Congratulations to the eight finalists in the running for The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award.

The finalists are chosen from the eligible Queensland-authored nominations in The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award and The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award by the category judges.

The winner is determined by public vote. The nomination that receives the most votes wins the prize.

Voting is open from 30 August to 14 October 2019.

The winner will be announced at the Queensland Literary Awards ceremony at State Library of Queensland on 12 November.

Boy Swallows Universe

Trent Dalton (HarperCollins)

Judges' comments:

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton is an engaging, fantastical romp based partly on author Trent Dalton’s own childhood in Brisbane in the eighties. Despite serious crime and drug dealers, the tragedy in this story is balanced by the vulnerable and lovable brothers and their friendships with unlikely heroes. With big-hearted themes and a touch of magic realism, this book demonstrates how kindness can exist beside brutality.


Requiem with Yellow Butterflies: A Memoir

James Halford (UWA Publishing)

Judges' comments:

This collection of semi-autobiographical, poetic essays unfolds in a gentle explosion of the psyche of a writer grappling with the meaning of geographical belonging. Juxtaposing the lands and literature of South America with his own ‘wavering’ Australian identity, Halford explores how humans must try to understand a reality they can never reach through the projection onto it of their own stories and myths. From Paraguay to Redcliffe, father to son, lover to lover, tourist to cemetery and colonization to restitution, Halford maps for us that all travel ultimately takes place within ourselves, and how we choose to remember, is how we remember ourselves.


Krissy Kneen (Text)

Judges' comments:

Wintering by Krissy Kneen is part ghost story, part horror outback noir, part romance and part chilling mystery, bound together with a curiosity about science and nature. Set in the cold Tasmanian wilderness and featuring strong, competent women, this story is sure to generate robust debate about power, violence, emotional tolerance and societal judgment.



Too Much Lip

Melissa Lucashenko (UQP)

Judges comments:

Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko is a black comedy with historical tragedy at its heart. Exploring serious issues such as violence and addiction, the book uses humour and wit to engage and confront the reader. The ongoing struggles of First Nation Peoples are examined with context and deep insight.

Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks

Toni Risson (Teacup)

Judges' comments:

‘Café culture’ is such a central part of contemporary Australian life that we can lose sight of its origins. For much of the last century Australia’s Greek immigrants were pioneers of the milk bar and café. These businesses, so vital to feeding and entertaining Brisbane for decades and built around the closeness of the family unit, are remembered here in this beautifully written and illustrated social history. It will be a joyful read for anyone interested in Brisbane’s past, or those wishing to re-live their days of milkshakes and soda fountains.

Charles Ulm

Rick Searle (Allen & Unwin)

Judges' comments:

Charles Ulm, Australian aviator, is best known for his partnership with Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, co-piloting and sourcing funding for many of his famous flights, including the first ever trans-Pacific flight. Together, they established Australian National Airways in 1928 before Ulm’s untimely disappearance over the Pacific. Long overshadowed by Kingsford Smith, Rick Searle’s engaging biography succeeds in recasting Ulm as a visionary and driving force behind civil aviation in Australia.



Adani: Following its Dirty Footsteps: A Personal Story

Lindsay Simpson (Spinifex)

Judges' comments:

Adani is a word that polarises people, as this year’s Federal election demonstrated. Lindsay Simpson’s book is an activist’s view on the Adani issue. The author travelled to India to track the story of how the Adani Group managed to woo Australian governments into approving Australia’s largest coal mine despite the environmental concerns and the push for renewable energy. Hardly an unbiased book but a passionate one that may or may not change some people’s minds.




Daughter of Bad Times

Rohan Wilson (Allen & Unwin)

Judges' comments:

Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson is structured as an epistolary narrative interspersed with court transcripts, media reports and letters. The fast-paced plot, authentic dialogue and imaginative world-building provides a compelling exploration of contemporary themes including climate refugees, wealth disparity, vanishing resources and the use of personal data.