The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award

2021 Shortlist

Congratulations to the finalists! 

Car Crash: A Memoir by Lech Blaine (Black Inc.)

Judges' comments 

A 17 year old boy walks away from an horrific car accident on a road outside Toowoomba, in which three of his friends die and two others are seriously injured.   He has to go on living, at an an already tumultuous time of teenage angst.  Blaine writes with clarity and insight about the last ten years when mental health problems threaten to overwhelm him.  Unflinching but never self-pitying.

Into the Loneliness - The Unholy Alliance of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates by Eleanor Hogan (Newsouth Books)

Judges' comments

Though this book focuses on the complex relationship between Daisy Bates and Ernestine Hill, two women arguably ahead of their time, Hogan also deftly explores, attitudes towards Indigenous people in Australia in the mid-twentieth century.  A combination of historical analysis and evocative story-telling, Into the Loneliness brings the story of these two women roaring to life.

Truth Telling - History, Sovereignty and the Uluru Statement by Henry Reynolds (NewSouth Books) 

Judges' comments 

A powerful compelling book which has at its heart the Uluru Statement yet to be incorporated into Australian political life. Reynolds goes back to the beginning of British colonisation, to the lies that were perpetrated then and continue to reverberate today – the denial of the frontier wars and all that followed.  He emphasises the need to tell the truth if we are to move ahead with dignity as a nation.

Amnesia Road by Luke Stegemann (NewSouth Books)  

Judges' comments

Stegemann takes the reader on an exceptional emotional and intellectual journey through landscapes in both western Queensland and Spain, where the legacy of historical violence is still deeply felt.  His personal confrontation with this history of trauma in two such different nations is both compelling and disturbing, and a literary gem.

The Carbon Club by Marian Wilkinson (Allen & Unwin)  

Judges' comments 

A forensic exposure of the campaign to influence Australian policy on climate change and undermine climate science, this is investigative journalism at its best. Based on impressive research, it tells a story that is disturbing in its long-term impact and in revealing the limitations of our political institutions.