The Queensland Literary Awards (QLAs), established by a volunteer committee to replace the recently axed Queensland Premier’s awards, will take place in 2012 and are open for nominations.
‘Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers, we are pleased to announce that The Queensland Literary Awards will go ahead in 2012,’ coordinator Krissy Kneen told Bookseller+Publisher. ‘We encourage all Australian writers to enter the Awards and look forward to being inspired, once again, by their words.’
The QLAs will be awarded in the 14 categories previously included in the Queensland Premier’s awards and will follow the same timeline as the awards they are designed to replace.
‘Our timeline is still the same as the QPLA,’ said Kneen. ‘[The QPLAs were] always announced the day before Brisbane Writers Festival and that is still happening. Our ceremony will be the Wednesday night [5 September] before BWF officially opens.’
As foreshadowed by Kneen’s co-coordinator Matthew Condon last week, the new awards will not include prize money, however Kneen and Condon believe it is nonetheless important to continue the awards ‘in the hope that they will soon be restored to their previous glory’.
Bookseller+Publisher understands that the bulk of the administration costs of the new awards are being absorbed by Brisbane bookshop Avid Reader at present, with Kneen ‘working pretty much full-time on it at the moment’. ‘Part of that is my Avid time and part of that I have donated out of my writing time,’ she said. ‘We also have some volunteers,’ said Kneen, who added that Avid Reader was in discussions with the State Library of Queensland about the library taking on some of the postage costs associated with the new awards.
‘There has never been an entry fee for the QPLA so we have continued to go with that,’ said Kneen.
Entry forms and guidelines are now available from the awards website. Those interested in volunteering can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new awards launch as criticism of the Queensland government’s decision to axe the Premier’s awards continues. ‘Writing Australia joins a wide spectrum of citizens who are worried about what negative cultural message this scrapping of the Premiers Literary Awards sends to Queenslanders about what is important in their state,’ said the organisation in a statement. ‘Judging from writers such as Matt Condon, Sharon Johnston and Queensland publishers who have vowed to carry on the awards, books and ideas matter.’