Winners of the inaugural Queensland Literary Awards announced.

Back in April this year Rochford Street Review reacted with resigned shock at the axing of the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards by the incoming LNP Government. It was “resigned shock” as really we didn’t expect anything better from a conservative government which could trace their roots back to Bjelke-Petersen.  This action, which was supposed to save the Queensland tax payer a total of $244,475, was one of the first ‘slash and burn’ economic responses which have spread across Queensland over the last six months. Ironically it has recently appeared that, despite the economic gloom and doom which has seen funding to Arts organisations, slashed, thousands of public servants sacked  and health and disability services downgraded, Premier Newman has managed to find a spare $200,000 to subsidise the latest incarnation of the reality TV show Big Brother.  Rochford Street Review is not the first to note that $200,000 would have been enough to sustain the Premier’s Literary Awards.

Despite Premier Newman’s disregard for the arts in Queensland, writers across Queensland and Australia rallied in the days following the announcement.  A small group from the literary and arts community decided to step in where Premier Newman was scared to tread and set up the inaugural 2012 Queensland Literary Awards.  A fund-raising campaign was set up and over $30,000 was raised for author prizes and associated running costs.

After months of hard work, most of it by an army of volunteers, the awards winners were announced at a glittering awards ceremony at the Queensland State Library. In the days lading up to the ceremony Queensland Arts Minister,  Ros Bates,  promised to “open discussions” with the organisers of the Awards to ensure they “continued into the future”. While we can hope I wouldn’t suggest holding your breath…..

Here are the short listed titles along with the winners:

Unpublished Indigenous Writer – David Unaipon Award

  • Siv Parker for Story WINNER 2012
  • Ellen van Neerven-Currie for Hard
  • Dorothy Williams-Kemp for My Journey that May Never End

Emerging QLD Author – Manuscript Award

  • Aaron Smibert for Scratches on the Surface
  • Luke Thomas for Home Mechanics
  • Catherine Titasey for Island of the Unexpected  WINNER 2012
  • Ariella van Luyn for Hidden Objects

Literary or Media Work Advancing Public Debate – Harry Williams Award

  • Paul Cleary for Too Much Luck: The Mining Boom and Australia’s Future
  • George Megalogenis for The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for These Times  WINNER 2012
  • Michael Wesley for There Goes the Neighbourhood

Science Book Award

  • Robyn Arianrhod for Seduced by Logic
  • Frank Bowden for Gone Viral
  • Rob Brooks for Sex, Genes and Rock ‘n’ Roll  WINNER 2012
  • Dr Richard Smith for Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide

History Book Award

  • Robyn Arianrhod for Seduced by Logic
  • James Boyce for 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia
  • Bill Gammage for Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia WINNER 2012
  • Nicole Moore for The Censor’s Library


  • Peter Carey for The Chemistry of Tears
  • Anna Funder for All That  I Am
  • Kate Grenville for Sarah Thornhill
  • Alex Miller for Autumn Laing
  • Frank Moorhouse for Cold Light WINNER 2012


  • Robin de Crespigny for The People Smuggler WINNER 2012
  • Jane Gleeson-White for Double Entry
  • Patrick Holland for Riding the Trains in Japan
  • William McInnes & Sarah Watt for Worse Things Happen at Sea
  • Alice Pung for Her Father’s Daughter

Australian Short Story collection – Steele Rudd Award

  • Rodney Hall for Silence
  • Marion  Halligan for Shooting the Fox
  • John Kinsella for In the Shade of the Shady Tree
  • Ryan O’Neill for The Weight of a Human Heart
  • Janette Turner Hospital for Forecast: Turbulence WINNER 2012

Judith Wright Calanthe Poetry Award

  • Anthony Lawrence for The Welfare of my Enemy
  • David McCooey for Outside
  • Rhyll McMaster for Late Night Shopping
  • Peter Rose for Crimson Crop WINNER 2012
  • Simon West for The Yellow Gum’s Conversion

Children’s Book Award

  • Pamela Rushby for The Horses Didn’t Come Home
  • John Flanagan for Brotherband: The Outcasts
  • Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood for Look, a Book!
  • Elizabeth Honey for Ten Blue Wrens
  • Briony Stewart for Kumiko and the Shadow Catchers WINNER 2012

Young Adult Book Award

  • Kirsty Eagar for Night Beach
  • Neil Grant for The Ink Bridge WINNER 2012
  • Judith Clarke for Three Summers
  • Margo Lanagan for Sea Hearts
  • Vikki  Wakefield for All I ever wanted

Drama Script (Stage)

  • Angela Betzien for War Crimes WINNER 2012
  • Wayne Blair for Bloodland
  • Patricia Cornelius for Taxi
  • Rita Kalnejais for Babyteeth
  • Lally Katz for A Golem Story

Television Script

  • Blake Ayshford for The Straits (episode 3 )
  • Brendan Cowell for The Slap (episode 3)
  • Liz Doran for Dance Academy (season 2, ep 24)
  • Anthony Mullins for Strange Calls (episode 3)
  • Sue Smith for Mabo WINNER 2012

Film Script

  • Louise Fox for Dead Europe WINNER 2012
  • Miro Bilbrough for Being Venice
  • Shayne Armstrong & Shane Krause for Rarer Monsters
  • Brendan Cowell for Save Your Legs

-Mark Roberts


Queensland Literary Awards Website

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