The judging process

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.

What is 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 September. 
  • The winners are announced at an awards ceremony in November. 
  • 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

2019 Queensland Literary Award judges 


Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance

Jill Eddington has a long association with the literary sector nationally, most recently she was Director of the University of Queensland Press and Director, Literature at the Australia Council.

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.

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.

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

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 is a judge of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, blogs about literary fiction, young adult and children’s literature at 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.

Kate Eltham is Business Development Manager at QUT Creative Industries. Previously Kate has been CEO/Festival Director of Brisbane Writers Festival, CEO of Queensland Writers Centre and Manager Reading and Writing at State Library of Queensland.

Mindy Gill is a recipient of the Tom Collins Poetry Prize, a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship and the Queensland Premier’s Young Writer’s and Publishers award. She is Peril Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, and is the 2019 resident of the Melbourne Visiting Poets Program. 

The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award

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.

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 (Brisbane) where he served as Professor of German for 20 years. In recognition of his extensive international research and publication he received the degree of Doctor of Letters. Although he lived most of his life in Melbourne and Brisbane, he considers himself a European expatriate with Australian citizenship. During 1980 to 2000 Jurgensen became the most influential figure in the emergence of literary multiculturalism in Australia. He founded Phoenix Publications in 1981 and became editor of Outrider from 1984 to 1995. In recognition of his services to literature he was awarded the Order of Australia and Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit (First Class). Jurgensen won multiple literary prizes, several Alexander-von-Humboldt-Fellowships and was appointed Visiting Professorship at various international universities. 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 last novels are Deutschland einst und dereinst and Fausts Erbe. He is the author of 16 poetry collections in English and in German. His most recent volumes are The Otherness of Words and The River.  

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 (The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award) and the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards (Emerging Queensland Writer category). Parting Words (UQP 2017) is her second novel. The Saturday Paper has published her creative non-fiction, and she recently received an Australia Council grant towards her next novel. In May 2018 she judged the Catherine Martin Youth Literary Award for the Penola Arts Festival in South Australia. She is a writing mentor through Queensland Writers Centre and regularly publishes reviews of new fiction independently of her tenure as a literary awards judge. In reviews, her opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award judging panel. 

Mirandi Riwoe’s novella The Fish Girl won Seizure’s Viva la Novella V and was shortlisted for The Stella Prize and Queensland Literary Award. She is the author of two crime novels and is prose editor for Peril Magazine. Her work has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Meanjin, Review of Australian Fiction, Griffith Review and Best Summer Stories. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies (QUT).

The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award

Luke Stegemann is a writer and cultural historian based in southeast Queensland. He has held senior positions in media, publishing and higher education in Australia, Europe and Asia. Luke has written for a wide range of Australian publications including Meanjin, The Monthly, The Age, the Sydney Morning HeraldOverland and the Australian Institute of International Affairs, as well as leading Spanish newspaper El País. He is the author of The Beautiful Obscure (2017) and in 2018 received the Malaspina Award in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to the development of scientific and cultural relations between Australia and Spain". 

Phil Brown is the Arts Editor of The Courier-Mail and has a popular column in Brisbane News. He has written for national and international newspapers and magazines and has published his poetry widely in the mainstream press and literary journals. He is the author of two books of verse, Plastic Parables and An Accident in the Evening. Travels with My Angst (2004) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards Steele Rudd Award. Any Guru Will Do (2006) is the second book in his memoir series.

Jayne Persian is a historian of twentieth century Australian and international history at the University of Southern Queensland. Author of Beautiful Balts: From Displaced Persons to New Australians (NewSouth Publishing, 2017), shortlisted for the Australian Historical Association's W. K. Hancock Prize 2018,  the Prime Minister's Literary Awards Prize for Australian History 2018, and the Queensland Literary Awards USQ History Book Award 2018. Co-Chief Investigator on a 2016-19 ARC Discovery Project: Displacement and Resettlement: Russian and Russian-speaking Jewish displaced persons arriving in Australia via the ‘China’ route in the wake of the Second World War.

MTC Cronin has written numerous collections of poetry (including several collaboratively with fellow-Australian poet, Peter Boyle) and a number of volumes of avant-garde cross-genre works.

Griffith University Young Adult Book Award

Patricia Buckley loves working in the library at a catholic girls school on Brisbane 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’.

Rhianna Patrick Rhianna Patrick is Torres Strait Islander woman with 20+ years as a media professional. She’s worked across Indigenous media, communications, radio, television documentaries and news. Rhianna is the former Queensland Representative of the #LoveOzYA committee and presents a national ABC Radio programme every Sunday night.

Claire Christian is a writer, blogger, podcaster, and theatre maker from Queensland, Australia. Her debut young adult novel, Beautiful Mess, won the Text Publishing Prize in 2016 and was published in 2017 through Text Publishing. Claire made her professional stage directing debut with Single Asian Female at La Boite Theatre, which received a 5-star review from The Guardian. Claire is a passionate development facilitator of youth arts and community culture, and has written, directed, and produced projects and productions with organisations across Australia.

Steph Bowe is the author of contemporary Young Adult novels Night Swimming, Girl Saves Boy and All This Could End. She is currently a Stella Prize Schools Ambassador for Queensland and was a 2016 May Gibbs Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the anthology Destroying the Joint: Why Women Have To Change The World (UQP), among others. She divides her time between Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

Griffith University Children’s Book Award

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. She 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.

Christina Wheeler has been the Primary Years Teacher Librarian at St Peters Lutheran College for the past seventeen years.  Her role allows her to integrate her passion for literature and writing with her interest in curriculum and academic research skills. She was a 2018 judge for the Queensland Literary Awards (Griffith University Children’s Book Award) and writes Teachers’ Notes for a range of publishers. Christina is particularly interested in enabling students to make meaningful connections across a range of texts and contexts. She delights in conversations with readers about the books they’ve just finished.

Andrea Lewis is the current CEO/Festival Director of Somerset Storyfest, Australia’s premier youth literature festival. Andrea has been working in the literary world since 2003 and has developed several innovative programmes which support literacy development, specifically for children. Andrea writes a personal blog and has finally started working on a novel where she shares personal experiences which will empower women in their 50s. Andrea is an avid traveller and doesn’t take life too seriously!

Trent Jamieson is the author of the Death Works series, The Nightbound Land Duology, and Day Boy which won the Aurealis awards for best Horror novel and best Fantasy novel and was long listed for the Dublin literary award. He currently works as a bookseller at The Avid Reader Bookstore. 

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

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, 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.

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.

Ellen van Neerven is a Mununjali Yugambeh writer from South East Queensland. Ellen is a David Unaipon Award winner. Their books include Heat and Light and Comfort Food.

Graham Akhurst is an Aboriginal writer hailing from the Kokomini of Northern Queensland. He has been published in Australia and America for poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction. His debut novel Borderland will be released in 2020 with Hachette. Graham was recently awarded the Fulbright W.G. Walker Scholarship to pursue an MFA in creative writing at Hunter College in New York. Graham is currently enrolled in an MPhil of Creative Writing at the University of Queensland where he teaches Indigenous Studies.

Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer

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.

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

Inga Simpson is the award-winning author of Understory: a life with trees, Where the Trees Were, Nest, and Mr Wigg. She has PhDs in creative writing and English literature, and her work has featured in Griffith Review, Review of Australian Fiction, Clues, Writing Queensland, and the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Inga was shortlisted for the Emerging Queensland Writer Award in 2009.

Victoria Carless’ first novel, ‘The Dream Walker’, was published by Hachette Australia in 2017 and was shortlisted in 2018 for the Queensland Literary Awards. Victoria is also a playwright, with seven works produced and toured over the last decade. Her script, ‘The Rainbow Dark’, was published in the collection ‘Staging Asylum’ about Australian border politics by Currency Press in 2013. Victoria holds a PhD in creative writing and teaches script writing at tertiary level. Victoria was a Griffith Review Fellow in 2018. Her story 'Paper Moon' was published in the Griffith Review 2018 Novella edition: All Being Equal. 

QUT Digital Literature Award

Simon Groth is a writer and long-time observer of publishing, technology, and creative industries. He’s a contributing editor to the Writing Platform and his books include collections of rock music interviews, novels for young adults, and remixes of short stories from the nineteenth century. With if:book Australia, Simon created a series of award-winning experimental works including the 24-Hour Book, live writing events at writers festivals around the world, and a city-wide challenge to write stories for digital billboards. His reporting on digital publishing has seen him travel the globe to discuss and explore the challenges and opportunities for writers and readers in a digital world.

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.

University of Southern Queensland History Book Award

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

Professor Joanne Scott is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) at USC. She has published in the fields of Australian and Queensland history. Her most recent project, with Professors Melanie Oppenheimer and Erik Eklund and funded by an ARC Discovery grant, explored the Australian Assistance Plan of the 1970s.

Mary Philip has been officially reviewing and judging books for 25 years. She has also facilitated bookclubs at Riverbend Books. She reads constantly across all categories and is thrilled at the thought of a new challenge.

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

Amanda O’Callaghan’s short stories and flash fiction have been published and won awards in Australia, UK, and Ireland. Her work has been awarded and shortlisted in the Bath Flash Fiction Award, Flash500, Carmel Bird Award, Aeon Award, Fish Short Story Prize, Ink Tears Flash Fiction Award, Bristol Short Story Prize, and others. She holds a PhD in English from The University of Queensland. In 2016 she was a recipient of a Queensland Writers Fellowship. She lives in Brisbane. Her collection of short stories, This Taste for Silence (UQP) was released in June.

Nike Sulway is the award-wining author of four adult novels and two children's books, including Rupetta, the winner of a Tiptree Award. Her short fiction and poetry have also been published in a range of journals and anthologies, including Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, The Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Fantasy Magazine, ASIM, Verity La, Cordite, Meanjin, Southerly, Review of Australian Fiction (RAF), Social Alternatives, and TEXT. She has published scholarly articles on women's writing in ENGLISH, TEXT, and Writing From Below. She teaches Creative Writing at USQ, and blogs very irregularly at

Sarah Deasy has been working at Avid Reader Bookstore since 2010, starting as a Christmas casual before working her way into the position of buyer. She has a degree in product design, but loved Avid Reader so much she couldn't leave after she graduated. In 2017 she was awarded the ABA Penguin Random House Young Bookseller of the Year Award. In her spare time she still likes to design and make things in between reading the piles of books scattered around her house. She will read pretty much anything that comes with a good recommendation, but loves to read literary and speculative fiction, as well as the odd social history or music biography.  

Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection

David Stavanger is a poet, performer, cultural producer and lapsed psychologist. In 2013 he won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, resulting in The Special (UQP), which was awarded the 2015 Wesley Michel Wright Poetry Prize. David was Co-Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival (2015-17) and is Co-Editor of Solid Air: Australian & New Zealand Spoken Word (UQP, 2019). These days he lives between the stage and the page.

Zenobia Frost is a poet from Brisbane who won the 2018 Val Vallis Prize and, the year before, received a Queensland Writers Fellowship to support her work. Her next collection is forthcoming with Cordite Books.

Nathan Shepherdson is the author of five books of poetry. His awards include the Newcastle Poetry Prize and the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. He is currently involved in the Slack Water project with the painter Arryn Snowball.

Angela Gardner’s most recent books are The Told World (2014) Shearsman UK; Thing & Unthing (2014) Vagabond, and The future, unimagine (2017) with Caren Florance, Recent Work Press & Ampersand Duck. Honours include The Thomas Shapcott Prize, a Churchill Fellowship and an Australia Council project grant. Recent poems are published/forthcoming in Blackbox ManifoldThe Long Poem and Tears in the Fence, UK; Axon, Rabbit and Cordite, Australia; West Branch and Yale Review USA. Her eighth book Some Sketchy Notes on Matter, shortlisted for the Dorothy Hewett Award 2018, will be published by Recent Works Press, Canberra in 2019.

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

Judges assess the eligible titles from The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award and The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award to create the shorltist of up to eight titles. The winner is determined by public vote.