Judges in 2020

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.

2020 Judges:

Emeritus Professor Alan Rix is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Queensland Museum, and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Queensland. He has written on contemporary Japan and its international relations, and the history of Australia’s relations with Japan. He is currently researching the history of some of Queensland palaeontological collections.

Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi multitasker. Between 2017–2018, she was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, where she was named the Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. Alison is a Senior Researcher at the Jumbunna Institute at UTS. Her debut poetry collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, was awarded the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship in 2015. Her latest book, Blakwork, was published in 2018 and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and won the QLA Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection. Alison was also the co-winner of the 2017 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for ‘Many Girls White Linen’. She was the Indigenous Poet-in-Residence for the 2018 Queensland Poetry Festival.

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.

Bronwyn Lea teaches contemporary literature and creative writing at The University of Queensland. She is the author of four award-winning books of poetry, most recently The Deep North: A Selection of Poems (George Braziller, New York). She is poetry editor for Meanjin, Australia’s leading literary and cultural magazine, and her reviews and criticism frequently appear in national literary magazines and newspapers.

Cass Moriarty’s debut novel The Promise Seed (UQP 2015) was longlisted for the 2017 Dublin International Literary Award and shortlisted for both the 2016 Queensland Literary Awards (Courier-Mail People’s Choice Award) and the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards (Emerging Author category). Parting Words (UQP 2017) is her second novel. The Saturday Paper has published her creative non-fiction. Her third novel is currently under consideration. She has received an Australia Council grant and was a Queensland Literary Awards judge in 2018 and 2019. She is a writing mentor, presents writing craft workshops and regularly publishes reviews of new fiction and other Australian writing.

Christina Wheeler is a teacher-librarian and literacy specialist working predominantly with 8-13 year-old children. Her role allows her to integrate her passion for literature and writing with her interest in curriculum, reading and academic research skills. She has been a member of the judging panel for the Queensland Literary Awards (Griffith University Children’s Book Award) since 2018 and writes teachers’ notes for several publishers. Christina delights in having conversations with readers about books they’ve recently finished and is particularly interested in empowering students to make meaningful connections across a range of texts and contexts.

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.

Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer of Mununjali Yugambeh (South East Queensland) and Dutch heritage. They write fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction. Ellen’s first book, Heat and Light, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry, Comfort Food, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize and highly commended for the 2016 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. Throat is Ellen’s highly anticipated second poetry collection. 

Evelyn Araluen is a poet, educator and researcher, and the co-editor of Overland literary journal. Her work has won the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship. Her debut forthcoming poetry collection is Dropbear (2021, UQP). Born, raised and writing in Dharug country, Evelyn is a descendant of the Bundjalung nation.  

Inga Simpson is the author of Understory: a life with trees, Mr Wigg, Nest and Where the Trees Were, which have all been long and shortlisted for various awards. She has PhDs in English literature and creative writing, and her work has appeared in Griffith Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, and the Dictionary of Literary Biography.

Jane Edwards is recognised as one of Australia’s leading businesswomen with a distinguished professional career spanning more than 35 years. Jane founded and owns the national BBS Communications Group and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland’s school of Journalism and Communications. Jane was the founding Chairman of the annual Premier’s Literary Awards, and was the first woman in 103 years to Chair the Board of Trustees of the Queensland Art Gallery.

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her first novel, Purple Threads (UQP), won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010. She is the recipient of an Australia Research Council Grant on Aboriginal literature: Aboriginal Writing: Shaping the literary and cultural history of Australia, since 1988. Jeanine teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. She has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction poetry and prose.

Jerath Head is a writer and editor from Brisbane. His work has been published in Kill Your Darlings, Overland online, Griffith Review, New Philosopher and Sydney Review of Books

Jill Eddington has a long association with the literary and wider arts sector nationally. Jill is best known for her roles as Director of Byron Writers Festival (1999-2007); Director, Literature, at the Australia Council for the Arts (2013-2017); and CEO of the University of Queensland Press (2017). She is currently a consultant to the arts sector as well as a member of the Advisory Committee for Griffith Review and a Board member for NORPA.

John Tague worked as a journalist for twenty-five years in London, contributing to the Independent on Sunday, BBC Radio FourThe Times Literary Supplement and the NME among many others. In Australia he worked for Australian Associated Press and the ABC before joining Griffith Review as Managing Editor. John 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.

Joy Lawn writes the young adult literature column for the Weekend Australian. Her reviews and interviews have also appeared in Australian Book Review, SMH/The Age, Books+Publishing and professional journals. She has judged the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, CBCA and other prestigious awards. Joy blogs about literary fiction, young adult and children’s literature at https://paperbarkwords.blog/ and loves moderating sessions at the Brisbane Writers Festival. Joy is fascinated by ideas and images and how authors and illustrators express these with truth and originality.

Khalid Warsame is a writer, editor, and arts worker who lives in Melbourne. His work has appeared in numerous publications. Khalid was formerly an editor at Folk Magazine, fiction editor for The Lifted Brow, directed the National Young Writers Festival, and was a creative producer at Footscray Community Arts Centre. His work has been anthologised in New Australian Fiction 2019 (KYD), Growing Up African in Australia (Black Inc.), Best of the Lifted Brow: Volume Two (Brow Books), and After Australia (Affirm Press). You can find links to his most recently published fiction and essays at khalidw.com.

Lech Blaine is a writer from Toowoomba. His work appears in The Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, The Guardian and The Monthly, among others. His work has been nominated for several prizes and he was an inaugural recipient of a Griffith Review Queensland Writing Fellowship. His forthcoming book is Car Crash: A Memoir (Black Inc.), which will be published in 2021.

Liam Ferney’s most recent collection, Hot Take (Hunter Publishing), was shortlisted for the Judithe Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection. His previous collections include Content (Hunter Publishing), Boom (Grande Parade Poets), Career (Vagabond Press) and Popular Mechanics (Interactive Press), which have been shortlisted for many of Australia's most prestigious poetry prizes. He is a media manager, holder of the all-time games record for the New Farm Traktor Collective, and convener of the Saturdays readings in Brisbane. 

Luke Stegemann is a writer and cultural historian based in southeast Queensland. He has written on art, politics and history for a wide range of Australian and Spanish publications. Luke is the author of The Beautiful Obscure (2017) and the forthcoming Amnesia Road: Landscape, Violence and Memory (NewSouth, 2021). In 2018 he received the Premio Malaspina in recognition of his ‘outstanding contribution to the development of cultural relations between Australia and Spain’. 

Madonna Duffy is Publishing Director at the University of Queensland Press. She acquires fiction and non-fiction and has published authors such as Tony Birch, Melissa Lucashenko, Matthew Condon and David Malouf.

Professor Manfred Jurgensen, Dr.phil., Ph.D., D.Litt, AM, BVK, is an Australian novelist, poet and critic who holds a Personal Chair at The University of Queensland where he served as Professor of German Studies for 20 years. In recognition of his extensive international research and publication he received the degree of Doctor of Letters. His academic publications include 16 major book studies, 16 anthologies and over 100 critical essays in international journals and publications; his literary works include 14 novels in English and 8 in German. His most recent volumes are The Otherness of Words and The River.

Mary Philip, formerly teacher and social worker, has been reviewing and judging books for over 25 years. She facilitated bookclubs at Riverbend Books for several years. But mainly she is a passionate reader of books across a wide range of genres. 

Mia Macrossan emigrated to Australia as a child and was educated here. She became a children's book editor in the UK but returned to Australia to work as a teacher-librarian. She is a former CBCA Children’s Book of the Year judge, and a past judge of the Queensland Literary Awards. She also judges the annual Brisbane City Council libraries Muir Shield award for best Book Week display. Mia founded the Last Tuesday Book Club for adults who love to read children’s books, and reviews for Magpies, Reading Time, 4MBS Radio and is the editor of StoryLinks, a children's books review website.

Mindy Gill is an award-winning poet and editor. She is the recipient of the Queensland Premier’s Young Writers and Publishers Award, and has received fellowships from the Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship, the Australian Poetry/NAHR Eco-Poetry Fellowship, and the CMI Arts Initiative in Chennai in partnership with Sangam House. She lives in Brisbane, where she is Peril Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief.

Mirandi Riwoe is the author of Stone Sky Gold Mountain. Her novella The Fish Girl won Seizure’s Viva la Novella V and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Queensland Literary Awards fiction prize. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies (QUT).

MTC Cronin has published over twenty books (poetry, prose poems and essays), several of which have appeared in translation, including her 2001 book, Talking to Neruda’s Questions, which has been translated into Spanish, Italian and Swedish. Her work has won and been shortlisted for many major literary awards, both internationally and in her native Australia. Cronin has studied arts, law, literature and creative writing and has published collaborative works with poet and translator Peter Boyle and poet and librettist Maria Zajkowski. She currently lives and works with her long-term partner, Richard Mohan, on a farm in Queensland.

Nathan Shepherdson is the author of five books of poetry. In recent years he has been involved in an on-going project with Berlin-based artist Arryn Snowball.

Nike Sulway is Senior Lecturer in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Southern Queensland. She is the author of the novels Dying in the First Person, Rupetta, The Bone Flute, The True Green of Hope, and the children’s books What the Sky Knows and Winter’s Tale

Patricia Buckley loves working in the library at a Catholic girls’ school on Brisbane’s southside. She also reads and chooses quality texts for Riverbend Standing Orders. She can be heard on ABC local radio every couple of months talking about young adult literature with Rhianna Patrick, and is currently CBCA (Qld Branch) President and editor of the National CBCA review website, ‘Reading Time’.

Peter Carnavas is a children’s author and illustrator. He has created over twenty books, which have been translated into many languages. Peter’s novel, The Elephant, won the Griffith University Children’s Book Award at the 2018 Queensland Literary Awards. He now divides his time between writing and working as a teacher-librarian. 

Rhianna Patrick is a Torres Strait Islander broadcaster with 21+ years as a media professional. Rhianna currently presents a national Sunday night programme for ABC Radio and for the last four years has had a dedicated monthly Australian Young Adult Fiction segment.

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 Children’s and YA literature and has received New Zealand’s oldest literary prize, the Esther Glen Award.

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 problematic relationship with history and the ways in which the Australian novel imagines its connection to the past. 

Samuel Wagan Watson is an author of poetry, articles and short stories who was born and raised on the southside of Brisbane. He was honoured with receiving the David Unaipon Award for Unpublished Indigenous Writing in 1999 and is proud to be a University of Queensland Press author. In 2018, he won the Patrick White Literary Award.

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

Sue Wright runs Tiny Owl Workshop, an award-winning micro-publisher based in Brisbane. Tiny Owl publishes novellas, zines and multi-media projects. Sue has worked in libraries, not-for-profits, government and small business, and as a freelance illustrator. She’s known for innovative projects like Napkin Stories and Krampus Crackers, and partners on projects with Terry Whidborne through their Curious imprint.

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 University of Queensland Fiction Book Award and The University of Queensland 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.