The judging process

2022 Judges - Published book awards and prizes

Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance

Jeanine Leane (Chair): Jeanine is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her poetry, short and essays stories have been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes, Overland, and the Australian Book Review.  Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction. She teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. 

Inga Simpson: Inga is the author of The Last Woman in the World, Mr Wigg, Nest, Where the Trees Were, Understory: my life with trees, and The Book of Australian Trees, illustrated by Alicia Rogerson. She has PhDs in creative writing and English literature and now lives on the south coast of NSW. 

Luke Stegemann: Luke is a cultural historian based in southeast Queensland. He has written on art, politics and history for a wide range of Australian and Spanish publications. He is the author of The Beautiful Obscure (2017) and in 2018 received the Premio Malaspina in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of cultural relations between Australia and Spain. His most recent book, Amnesia Road: Landscape, Violence and Memory, won the 2021 QLA Non-Fiction award, the Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award and was a runner-up in the NSW Premier’s Prize for Australian History. 

The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award

Rohan Wilson (Chair): Rohan 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 difficult relationship with history and the ways in which the Australian novel imagines its connection to the past.

Sara El Sayed: Sara is a writer based in Meanjin (Brisbane). Her work appears in Growing Up African in Australia (Black Inc.) and Arab-Australian-Other (Pan Macmillan), among other places. In 2020 she received a Queensland Writers Fellowship and was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award. Her debut memoir, Muddy People, is out now.

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

Nike Sulway: Nike is the author four novels for adults (The Bone Flute, The True Green of Hope, Rupetta, Dying in the First Person) and two children’s books (What The Sky Knows, Winter’s Tale), as well as various short stories and poems. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Southern Queensland. Her work has won or been shortlisted for various literary awards, including the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award, the Norma K Hemming Award (twice), a Children’s Book Council of Australia Award, the Rhysling Award for poetry, and the Tiptree Award. 

The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award

Mary Philip (Chair): Mary has been working in the book field for 30 years. She has reviewed books for The Courier-Mail, has advised on books for publishers, and has facilitated in-store book clubs. Mary has been on judging panels for books for 20 years, beginning with The Courier-Mail Book of the Year, and then the Queensland Literary Awards. 

Andrew Bonnell: Andrew is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Queensland, specializing in modern European and German history. He has written or edited eight books, including The People’s Stage in Imperial GermanyShylock in Germany and Shylock in German. His next book, a study of the German-Italian political theorist Robert Michels, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press, and he is also working on a history of revolutions in Germany. 

Khalid Warsame: Khalid is an arts worker and writer of essays, criticism and fiction. His work has appeared in a number of journals, online, and in anthologies. 

Yen-Rong Wong: Yen-Rong is an arts critic and writer based in Meanjin (Brisbane), on unceded Jaggera and Turrbal land. She won the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award in 2020, and in 2019, she was 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 a number of creative projects, including a satirical novel, a play, and a collection of essays.   

Griffith University Young Adult Fiction Book Award

Sue Gough (Chair): Sue is an award-winning novelist in the YA genre, her writing includes adult fiction, educational texts, theatre reviewing (she was co-founder of the theatre industry’s Matilda Awards), book reviewing, travel writing, a TV series and even cookery! She is known for her ability to encourage and mentor new writers of all ages and served for many years on the Queensland State Library Board and inaugurated their Young Writers Award.  Among her many roles, she has served as Deputy Chair of the Australia Council Literature Board, was a regular voice on ABC Drive Time, served on the committee of the Brisbane Writers Festival and was a judge of the national Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Prize.  

Jasmin McGaughey: Jasmin is a Torres Strait Islander and African American writer and editor. In 2019 she was lucky enough to be a black&write! Editor Intern and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter recipient. She has been able to write for Overland, Kill Your Darlings, SBS Voices. and Griffith Review.  

Tristan Michael Savage: Tristan is a Brisbane based writer-performer and an award-winning writer, stand-up comedian, and filmmaker. A black&write! Fellow, Tristan is Australia’s first Indigenous Science Fiction author for his novel Rift Breaker.  

Children’s Book Award

Kristy Bushnell (Chair): Kristy is an experienced freelance book editor and mentor specialising in children’s and young adult literature. She has worked with award-winning and bestselling authors, and publishers such as the University of Queensland Press, Omnibus Books, Scholastic, HarperCollins and Walker Books Australia. Based on the Sunshine Coast, she thrives on encouraging connection through story and promoting literature to the community in school and public libraries. 

Genevieve Kruyssen: Genevieve is a bookseller and events coordinator at Where the Wild Things Are Children's Bookshop. Genevieve loves working with authors and illustrators to create inspiring launches and events.  She runs the Wonder and Wilder book clubs for kids and teenagers and has interviewed some of her heroes for online and in-person launches including Neal Shusterman, Kate DiCamillo, Emily Gravett and Levi Pinfold. In 2021 she won ABA Penguin Random House Young Bookseller of the Year. 

Richard Newsome: Richard Newsome is the Director of the Masters of Writing, Editing and Publishing program at The University of Queensland, as well as an award-winning author of Middle Grade novels. His books have been published and translated in multiple territories, and he is a regular speaker at school literature events, promoting the joy of story among young creatives. 

Kirli Saunders: Kirli is a proud Gunai Woman and award-winning writer, artist, and consultant. An experienced speaker and facilitator advocating for the environment, gender, racial equality and LGBTIQA+rights, Kirli was the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year (2020). In 2022, She received at OAM for her contribution to the arts and literature, her books include The Incredible Freedom Machines (Scholastic, 2018), Kindred (Magabala, 2019), Bindi (Magabala, 2020), Our Dreaming (Scholastic, 2022) and Returning (Magabala, 2023). Her writing features in magazines and journals including among others, Vogue, Overland and Kill Your Darlings. Her debut play, Going Home was supported by Playwriting Australia (2022). Her art has been commissioned for public art and regional galleries. Kirli's Solo Exhibition, RETURNING was supported by Ausco (2022). She was a collaborating artist for VIVID, with TRACES alongside Kamsani Bin Salleh, Google and Magabala at Sydney opera House. 

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

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

Julie Koh: Julie is the author of Capital Misfits and Portable Curiosities. She was named a 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. Her short stories have been published widely, including in the Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Comedy Writing. She has written two radio plays for ABC Radio National and the libretto for the opera Chop Chef. She has also judged several literary awards including the 2018 Stella Prize. 

Melanie Myers: Melanie is a writer and sessional academic at the University of Queensland. In 2018, she won the QLA Glendower Award for an Emerging Writer. Her winning manuscript was published as Meet Me at Lennon's (UQP) and subsequently shortlisted for the 2020 Queensland Premier's Award for a Work of State Significance and The Courier-Mail People's Choice Award. In 2021, she was awarded an Individual Funds grant from Arts Queensland to research and write her next full-length work and a Griffith Review Queensland Showcase Fellowship. 

Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection

Bronwyn Lea (Chair): Bronwyn Lea is the author of four award-winning books of poetry, including The Deep North: A Selection of Poems. As poetry editor for UQP she established the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and founded UQP’s Best Australian Poetry anthology series in 2003. In 2011 she was appointed the inaugural editor of the Australian Poetry Journal, and she is the current poetry editor for Meanjin. Bronwyn is Professor of Australian Literature and Writing at the University of Queensland. 

Liam Ferney: Liam is a public affairs manager, poet and aspiring left-back living in Brisbane with his wife and daughter. His most recent collection Hot Take (Hunter Publishing) was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award. His previous volumes include Content (Hunter Publishing) and Boom (Grande Parade Poets).

Declan Fry: Declan has written for the Guardian, Griffith Review, Overland, Australian Book Review, Westerly and elsewhere. His poetry has been shortlisted for the Judith Wright Poetry Prize and selected for The Best Australian Science Writing 2021. His Meanjin essay Justice for Elijah or a Spiritual Dialogue with Ziggy Ramo, Dancing received the 2021 Peter Blazey Fellowship and he was a winner of the 2021 Griffith Review Emerging Voices Competiton. His latest work will appear in the forthcoming anthology Another Australia (Affirm Press). He currently lives with his partner, their pup Walnut, and a cat, Turnip. 

2022 Judges - Development awards and prizes

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

Sue Wright (Chair): Sue is the Director of Tiny Owl Workshop, a Brisbane-based micro-press. She is an editor, author, Print Industry Craftsmanship Award Gold Medallist, executive producer of a Shorty Award winning multi-media project, Queensland Literary Awards judge, and past Chair of the Children’s Book Council Australia (Queensland). 

Mia Macrossan: Mia is a former CBCA Children’s Book of the Year judge and judge of the Children’s Books category for the Queensland Literary awards. She administers the annual Book Links Award for Children's Historical Fiction and is the editor of the online review magazine StoryLinks. She founded the Last Tuesday Children’s Book Club for adults who love to read and discuss children’s books and reviews for Magpies, Reading Time, 4MBS Radio, and of course, StoryLinks

Ian See: Ian is an editor at Text Publishing. He has worked in editing and publishing for more than a decade, including in-house positions at Scribe Publications, the University of Queensland Press and The Saturday Paper. He was also on the judging panel for the 2021 Stella Prize. He is a graduate of RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing course and has returned to teach editing in the program. 

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

Cathy Craigie (Chair): Cathy Craigie is a Gamilaraay woman from Northern NSW. Her work has ranged across the cultural industries as a consultant, mentor and administrator. She is the founding member of Sydney’s Koori Radio, the first Executive Director and a founding member of First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN) and is a former Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Arts Board at the Australia Council. Cathy’s own writing crosses genres and includes plays, short stories, writing for children and commissioned works. 

Jasmin McGaughey: Jasmin is a Torres Strait Islander and African American writer and editor. In 2019 she was lucky enough to be a black&write! editor intern and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter recipient. She has been able to write for Overland, Kill Your Darlings, SBS Voices, and Griffith Review.  

Yasmin Smith: Yasmin (she/her) is an editor of South Sea Islander, Kabi Kabi, Northern Cheyenne Indian, and English heritage. She was raised on the Capricorn Coast on Darumbal country in Central Queensland. She began working in the publishing industry for the national project black&write! with a focus on supporting First Nations writing and editing, and has since worked across literary fiction, non-fiction, children’s and poetry titles. She currently works in-house across the editorial, marketing and publicity, and sales sectors at University of Queensland Press (UQP).   

Jared Thomas: Jared is a Nukunu person of the Southern Flinders Ranges and the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Material Cultural at the South Australian Museum. Jared’s works of theatre and fiction explore issues relating to Aboriginal marginalisation and resistance, the environment, gender and sexuality. His fiction works include Calypso Summer, Songs that Sound like Blood, and the Game Day series co-written with NBA basketballer Patty Mills. Calypso Summer was a winner of the International White Raven award in 2015.  

Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer

Madonna Duffy (Chair): Madonna is Publishing Director at the University of Queensland Press (UQP). She has worked in publishing for three decades, including stints in London and Sydney, before joining UQP. She leads the publishing team and also acquires for the adult list. Madonna has published many of UQP’s award-winning authors, including Melissa Lucashenko, Matthew Condon and David Malouf. Madonna is a judge for the Queensland Literary Awards and a member of the APA’s Residential Editorial Program committee. She is a regular guest speaker at industry events and on university creative writing courses. 

Shastra Deo:  Shastra was born in Fiji, raised in Melbourne, and lives in Brisbane. Her first book, The Agonist (UQP), won the 2016 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the 2018 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. Her second book, The Exclusion Zone, is forthcoming from University of Queensland Press in 2023. 

George Haddad: George Haddad is a writer and artist practicing on Gadigal land. His work explores identity and the limitations of language. In 2016 he won the Viva la Novella prize for Populate and Perish and in 2018 he won the Neilma Sidney prize for his short story Kátharsis. His novel Losing Face was published in May 2022 by UQP. George is currently a doctoral candidate and sessional tutor at the Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University. 

Amanda O’Callaghan: Amanda's fiction has been published in Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Her work has been awarded and shortlisted in the Bridport Prize, Carmel Bird Award, E J Brady Award, Bristol Prize, Bath Flash Fiction Award, Fish Short Story Prize, Aeon Award, Flash 500 Award, and others. She is a recipient of a Queensland Writers Fellowship. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Queensland. Her short story collection, This Taste for Silence (UQP), was shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. She lives in Brisbane.  

How are the Queensland Literary Awards judged?

Categories in the Queensland Literary Awards are assessed by panels of independent judges.

Panels are made up of authors, critics, academics, publishers, media professionals, editors, librarians, reviewers, teachers, arts organisation representatives, booksellers and journalists.

The names of the judges will be published at the conclusion of the judging process. 

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.
  • Judges award the category prize to the nomination deemed to possess the highest literary merit.
  • Shortlists are published on the State Library website in August. 
  • 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 Fiction Book Award and 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.