The winners of the inaugural Queensland Literary Awards (QLA) were announced on 4 September on the eve of the Brisbane Writers Festival.
The winners in each category are:
Fiction book award
- Cold Light (Frank Moorhouse, Vintage)
Nonfiction book award
- The People Smuggler (Robin De Crespigny, Viking)
Children's book award
- Kumiko and the Shadow Catchers (Briony Stewart, UQP)
Young adult book award
- The Ink Bridge (Neil Grant, A&U)
The Steele Rudd Award for an Australian short story collection
- Forecast: Turbulence (Janette Turner Hospital, Fourth Estate)
Judith Wright Calanthe Award - poetry collection
- Crimson Crop (Peter Rose, UWA Publishing)
Emerging Queensland author - manuscript award
- Island of the Unexpected (Catherine Titasey)
David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer
Science writer award
- Sex, Genes & Rock 'n' Roll (Rob Brooks, NewSouth)
History book award
- The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia (Bill Gammage, A&U)
The Harry Williams Award for a literary or media work advancing public debate
- The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for These Times (George Megalogenis, Viking)
Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year
- Closer to Stone (Simon Cleary, UQP)
Television script award
- Mabo (Sue Smith, Blackfella Films)
Drama script (stage) award
- War Crimes (Angela Betzien)
Film script award
- Dead Europe (Louise Fox, See-Saw Films).
To see the titles shortlisted for each of the awards, click here.
Each category winner receives a cash prize of $1000, except the Courier Mail's People's Choice Award, which is worth $5000. Catherine Titasey and Siv Parker, the winners of the Emerging Queensland author manuscript award and the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer award, will also receive $2000 each, provided by the Queensland University of Technology, and their manuscripts will be published by University of Queensland Press.
Presenting the awards at the State Library of Queensland, chair of the QLA organising committee Stuart Glover said the volunteer judges for this year’s awards were impressed with the calibre of entries. ‘While the book industry struggles with new digital formats, Australian writing itself is in great shape. And Queensland writing continues to develop a distinctive voice in the national mix,’ he said.
Glover said interest in the awards is now ‘at an all-time high’ and the establishment of the new awards was ‘greeted with excitement by the state’s and nation’s writers’. ‘These are among the biggest suite of awards in the country—entirely run by volunteers with support from individual and corporate donors. The Queensland Literary Awards are, if I say so myself, now very cool awards to win.’
‘These awards recognise how important literature is to the Queensland people,’ said Glover. ‘In the past, Queenslanders have sometimes neglected to mark the imporance of sharing stories, when in fact local and national stories are basic to our culture and to democracy. The Queensland Literary Awards support new Queensland writers. And we are trying to ensure that Queensland is part of the national conversation about Australian values and the Australian experience.’
Glover said that the awards committee doesn’t know what will happen in 2013, but hopes to continue the awards with community support. ‘The year's awards have happened because hundred of individuals along with businesses, universities, cultural organisations have got behind them,’ said Glover. ‘We would welcome the return of government support, as government is one of many stakeholders in the state’s literary life, but regardless, the community has spoked about the importance of writing and literature.’
As previously reported by Bookseller+Publisher, the Queensland Literary Awards were established in April following the decision by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman to discontinue the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. As well as donations from Queensland businesses, the organisers secured $20,000 from the Copyright Agency Limited Cultural Fund, and raised more than $20,000 in a crowd-funding campaign to administer and deliver the awards.
For more information, visit the Queensland Literary Awards website here.