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The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award

2022 Shortlist

Congratulations to the finalists! 

The cover of Lies, Damned Lies by Claire G. Coleman. It is a yellow book with purple writing. The letters of the title filled with colourful Aboriginal artwork. "Damned" is stamped in the centre of the cover

Lies, Damned Lies by Claire G. Coleman (Ultimo Press)

Judges' comments 

This is the book we all need to read to understand Australia. It is a bold book, often angry, always confronting, but beautifully and carefully written. Coleman is a proud Noongar woman who takes the reader on a journey through colonisation and dispossession. She explains the concept of treaty, how this colony cannot be a nation until we have negotiated with the original peoples who have never ceded sovereignty. This is a powerful book and one which is vital for our collective future.  

Muddy People: A Memoir by Sara El Sayed

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

Judges' comments

This book reveals a fresh voice in our literature, with a frank and unafraid personal story of growing up between cultures in twenty-first century Australia. A coming-of-age memoir, not as we are used to, but for today. A young woman finds her own way between family riles and society’s expectations. 

Cover of The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar. It is a blue book showing a dark haired stylised woman in a pink dress holding an infant

The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar (Pan Macmillan) 

Judges' comments 

A beautifully crafted book that navigates the complexities of domestic violence and intergenerational trauma, and the ways in which attitudes towards these can be internalised. Haydar balances grief, rage, and love in this powerful and important work.  

The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen: Travels with my grandmother’s ashes by Krissy Kneen

The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen by Krissy Kneen (Text Publishing)  

Judges' comments

This is an incredibly moving account of the author’s search for her grandmother’s real story. Kneen grew up with her grandmother who was tight-lipped about her past, always deflecting questions. When Lotty died, Kneen knew she was ready to go searching. With her grandmother’s ashes she headed to Slovenia and Egypt. Along the way she met people, found clues and eventually discovered what her grandmother had been concealing all along. At times the search was painful but ultimately it is an affirming story about identity and the ties of family. 

Cover of Another Day in the Colony by Chelsea Watego. Pencilled white words over an image of an Aboriginal woman in a black dress with a bird and a First Fleet ship and

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

Judges' comments 

In this collection of essays, Chelsea Watego writes insightfully and incisively about her experiences as a Munanjahli, Yugambeh and South Sea Islander woman in so-called Australia. Watego is unapologetic in her criticism of the ongoing colonialism present in Australian society, and carves out a space for her voice as well as those of other First Nations peoples.