Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award

2020 Shortlist 

Congratulations to the finalists! 

Sara El Sayed

Judges' comments 

It’s challenging to quit a job to write, but Sara’s move from journalism to creative writing has led to being shortlisted for the Richell Prize, publication in the gorgeous anthology Growing Up African in Australia and a contract with Black Inc. The judges agree with authors Carly Findlay and Maxine Beneba Clarke – Sara is one to watch.

About the author 

Sara El Sayed is a writer based in Meanjin (Brisbane). Her work has been anthologised in Growing Up African in Australia (Black Inc.) and Arab-Australian-Other (Pan Macmillan). She has been published in frankie, Overland and The Lifted Brow. She was shortlisted for the 2019 Richell Prize for emerging writers. Her debut memoir, Muddy People, will be published by Black Inc. in 2021.

 

Zenobia Frost

Judges' comments 

When trying to do the impossible and choose two awardees, the judges noted the thoughtful engagement of the writers in their chosen community and industry. This is true of Zenobia Frost, whose support for poetry in Queensland is unyielding. Her poems seem to be crafted from small observations, moments, rituals and edges. They have, in her own words, ‘Good bones, y’all'. The judges wish Zenobia well as she dives into new work and continues to explore the unnerving opportunities Twitter-bots offer poets.

About the author 

Zenobia Frost is a poet from Brisbane whose work – about feminism, place attachment and pop culture – has won the Val Vallis Prize and a Queensland Writers Fellowship. Her new collection, After the Demolition (Cordite Books) was recently shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. Zenobia is the current Events Manager for Queensland Poetry Festival, and Editor for a forthcoming book about the history of Metro Arts in Brisbane. She curates Panacea Poets and Couplet Poetry.

Ellen Wengert

Judges' comments 

The judges noted the incredible work done by the young Queensland writers to establish themselves while working, studying and supporting their chosen communities. Ellen epitomes this kind of commitment, already having won the State Library of Queensland’s Young Writer Award for her short story 'Everyone Will Be There'. Her work can also be found in Scum Mag, Griffith Review, Kill Your Darlings and Voiceworks, and the judges have no doubt her larger works will also appear on bookshelves sometime soon.

About the author 

Ellen Wengert lives in Brisbane and works as a primary school teacher. Her writing has been published in The Guardian, Griffith Review, Kill Your Darlings, Scum Mag, Voiceworks and the One Book Many Brisbanes anthology. In 2018 she won the State Library of Queensland Young Writers Award.

Yen-Rong Wong

Judges' comments 

As a writer, editor and publisher, Yen-Rong is simply impressive. Her writing is assured while exploring vulnerability, identity, culture, and power and its myriad misuses in ways which reveal the unending complexity of life and lives. As the founding editor of Pencilled In, Yen-Rong’s work enabling Asian-Australian voices to emerge and grow is vital. She is the safe pair of hands gently pulling the rug from under us, shaking it out and making changes. The judges wish Yen-Rong well as she works on her manuscript.

About the author 

Yen-Rong is writer of non-fiction based in Meanjin (Brisbane), on unceded Jagera and Turrbal land. She has been shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award, and in 2019, she was also 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 Guardian, Meanjin, and Griffith Review. She is currently working on her first full length manuscript, 'Things Left Unsaid'.