Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance

2022 Shortlist

Congratulations to the finalists!

Wounded Country by Quentin Beresford (NewSouth)

Judges' comments

A meticulously researched and beautifully written environmental history of the Murray-Darling Basin. Australia’s most important water system which originates in Queensland, from the Southern Downs on Geynyon Country, to the Channel Country on Kunja, Budjari and Kullilla Country. The repeated mismanagement of this critical water resource is a metaphor for the history of colonisation. With clarity and insight, Wounded Country illustrates the way our disregard for nature and science, and denial of First Nations rights and knowledge of country, have been entrenched in Australian politics and culture from Federation. Equally clear is the way forward, caring for water, land, and people. 

Muddy People by Sara El Sayed (Black Inc. Books)

Judges' comments 

An eloquent coming-of-age memoir set in a suburban Brisbane that is familiar, yet mostly unseen. While humorous and warm-hearted, Muddy People does not shy away from family and cultural tensions, showing what it is to grow up as ‘other’ and shining a light on racism in contemporary Australia. Compelling and candid, Muddy People is ultimately a celebration of identity, family and belonging. 

The Burnished Sun by Mirandi Riwoe (University of Queensland Press)

Judges' comments 

Confirming her place as one of Australia’s finest fiction stylists, Riwoe presents a rich and diverse collection of short stories and novellas that take the reader deep into the lives of their characters. Precise and lyrical, with great use of texture and detail, her blend of historical and contemporary stories examine racism, misogyny and colonialism, often highlighting how little has changed. 

Operation Jungle by John Shobbrook (University of Queensland Press)

Judges' comments 

In this gripping personal account, former narcotics agent Shobbrook introduces us to the lesser-known world of 1970s heroin importation into Far North Queensland. Well documented and wonderfully retold, his attempts to expose the truth of corruption at the heart of government institutions, including the police, led to his own ostracism and downfall. 

Another Day in the Colony by Chelsea Watego (University of Queensland Press)

Judges' comments

In this fierce, insightful collection of essays, Chelsea Watego writes under the skin of the nation to document the sustained systematic racism First Nations peoples of Australia experience daily. Through a powerful assemblage of critical race theory, memoir, philosophy, and archival imagery, Another Day in the Colony reiterates and reclaims First Nations stories and experiences to decentre and destabilize settler-colonial narratives and practices. In doing so, Watego carves out a space where Black intellectual sovereignty is free from the white colonial gaze.