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

2023 shortlist

Congratulations to the finalists!

The public poll is now closed – thanks to everyone who cast their vote.

Winners will be revealed at the Queensland Literary Awards ceremony on 6 September. Register here to watch the live stream.


Cover of We Come with This Place by Debra Dank. The cover is orange with paint and map motifs.

We Come with This Place 

Debra Dank (Echo Publishing)

Judges' comments: 

With a generous spirit, Gudanji/Wakaja woman Debra Dank takes us into the world of her childhood, into her family and onto her Country. The simple beauty of the language, the wrenching emotional power of the story, and its deep insights make this book a classic. 

Cover of the book The Whispering by Veronica Lando - close up of a dense rainforest with a single boot.

The Whispering

Veronica Lando (HarperCollins Publishers)

Judges' comments:

Townsville-based Veronica Lando’s debut crime novel evokes the perverse temptation of a forbidden, secret place and the eeriness of the ‘Whispering’, a compelling chant that lures people to their death. The Queensland rainforest becomes an atmospheric character in this tale of guilt and memory that spirals when the past collides with the present. 

Cover of Homecoming by Kate Morton showing eucalyptus flower, leaves, and a blue fairy wren.


Kate Morton (Allen & Unwin)

Judges' comments:

Kate Morton, maven of Australian Gothic literature, alludes to the real-life missing Beaumont children in her gripping tale of a family’s death during an idyllic riverside picnic on Christmas Eve, 1959. The cumulative strands of history infiltrate the present with unsettling truths about family and home, told through love of words, books and storytelling. 

Cover of Bone Memories by Sally Piper. Cover is a background of a painting with silhouettes of trees, flowers and leaves overlaid.

Bone Memories

Sally Piper (University of Queensland Press)

Judges' comments:

At the heart of Bone Memories is landscape: the inner terrain of memory and grief, and the physical landscapes upon which Piper’s characters memorialise their grief and reach for healing. A meditation upon scarring and beauty, this is a novel of rare power and grace. 

Cover of The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding by Holly Ringland. The cover is blue with moths, leaves, marine plants and a black swan.

The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding

Holly Ringland (HarperCollins Publishers)

Judges' comments:

Suffused in Selkie mythology, The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding explores the bond between sisters and the effect of grief on the survivor. Aura Wilding’s body was inked with seven fairytales to map her own story. After Aura walks into the sea, Esther must shed her own skins before she can begin to heal. 

Cover of The Bodyline Fix by Marion Stell. A sepia toned photo of a woman on a cricket pitch who has just bowled a ball.

The Bodyline Fix

Marion Stell (University of Queensland Press)

Judges' comments:

A fresh account of the inaugural women’s Test match between Australia and England in the wake of the controversial Bodyline series in the men’s game. In telling this largely forgotten story, Marion Stell comments on the combined impacts of race, class, and gender while revitalising the profiles of Australia’s first international women cricketers. 

Cover of Cloud Land by Penny van Oosterzee showing a hilly rainforest and green fields in mist.

Cloud Land

Penny van Oosterzee (Allen & Unwin)

Judges' comments:

A remarkable portrait of the wet tropical rainforest country on the Atherton Tablelands, blending history, nature writing, environmentalism and personal memoir. A book about regeneration after violence and destruction, written out of a deep sense of place. 

Cover of The God of No Good by Sita Walker. The cover is black with illustrations of bright tea cups and green leaves.

The God of No Good

Sita Walker (Ultimo Press)

Judges' comments:

A poignant and funny intergenerational memoir following Sita Walker's journey, spanning continents as she grapples with her Bahá’í Faith upbringing, doubts her goodness, and navigates love and loss. This beautifully lyrical and humorous book explores themes of love, family, and identity, weaving together stories of heritage, cultural clashes, and personal growth.