The Queensland Literary Awards recognise outstanding achievement by Australian writers.

Each category is assessed by a panel of independent judges, with a minimum of three judges assigned to each category. Judges are invited by the State Library of Queensland on a three-year term, and are subject to an internal vetting process. Panels are made up of a mix of authors, critics, academics, publishers, media professionals, editors, librarians, reviewers, teachers, arts organisation representatives, booksellers and journalists.

What is the judging process?

  • The eligibility of all nominations will be checked by State Library of Queensland staff.
  • All eligible nominations will be forwarded to category specific judging panels for reading, shortlisting and the selection of winners in each category.
  • Judges will have eight weeks to read the nominations, assess the merit of the work, meet and discuss the nominations and decide on the finalists and winners.
  • Queensland Literary Awards recognise outstanding achievement by Australian writers. The judges will award the category prize to the nomination deemed to possess the highest literary merit.
  • The shortlists will be published on the QLA website in September 2018, and the winning entries will be announced at an awards ceremony in October 2018.

2018 QLA Judges

Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance

Simon Cleary (Chair) is the critically acclaimed author of the novels The Comfort of Figs and Closer to Stone.

Jane Edwards is recognised as one of Australia’s leading businesswomen with a distinguished professional career spanning more than 35 years. Jane founded and owns the national BBS Communications Group and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland’s school of Journalism and Communications. Jane was the founding Chairman of the annual Premier’s Literary Awards, and was the first woman in 103 years to Chair the Board of Trustees of the Queensland Art Gallery.

Patrick Holland is the author of seven books including The Mary Smokes Boys (2010) and, most recently, One (2016) which was longlisted for the 2018 Dublin Literary Award. His work has been published in a dozen countries and he has been a judge of the Commonwealth Writers Prize. He researches writing and non-places at QUT.

Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Awards, and Queensland Writers Fellowships

Sue Wright (Chair) is the Director of Tiny Owl Workshop, an award-winning micropress based in Brisbane. Through Tiny Owl, Sue brings together craft, digital and traditional publishing to produce novellas, children's books, zines and a range of unique projects.

Steph Bowe is the author of contemporary Young Adult novels Night Swimming, Girl Saves Boy and All This Could End. She is currently a Stella Prize Schools Ambassador for Queensland and was a 2016 May Gibbs Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the anthology Destroying the Joint: Why Women Have To Change The World (UQP), among others. She divides her time between Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

Zenobia Frost is an award-winning poet from Brisbane. Her work has appeared in Overland, Cordite, ABR’s States of Poetry, The Lifted Brow, Scum and Contemporary Feminist Poetry. She was recently shortlisted for the Red Room Poetry Fellowship and Overland Judith Wright Prize, while her first collection, Salt and Bone, was shortlisted for the 2013 Thomas Shapcott Prize. Zenobia is a Master’s candidate at QUT, writing on the poetics of sharehousing in Brisbane. A Queensland Writers Fellowship supports her work through 2018.

The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award

Mary Philip (Chair) has been a literary critic and judge for over twenty years, and more recently has been a professional facilitator of book clubs. Her primary qualification though is her love of books and her capacity to read widely.

MTC Cronin has published more than twenty books (poetry, prose poems and essays) including a collection jointly written with the Australian poet, Peter Boyle. Her work has won and been shortlisted for many major literary awards, both internationally and in her native Australia and several of her books have appeared in translation. Forthcoming in 2018 are God is Waiting in the World’s Yard and Causal. She is currently a contributing editor at Dispatches from the Poetry Wars.

Marg O’Donnell is currently Chair of SANE Australia. She also mentors a number of senior executives. She is a former Director General of three Queensland Government Departments; Fair Trading, Aboriginal Affairs and the Arts. She has served as Chair on a number of Boards: Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Breast Cancer Network of Australia; Legal Aid Queensland and Griffith University Law School Visiting Committee.

Luke Stegemann is a writer, editor, translator and cultural historian based in southeast Queensland. He has worked in media, publishing and higher education in Australia, Asia and Europe, including 15 years in Spain. He was formerly the editorial manager of The Adelaide Review, founding editor of The Melbourne Review, and associate publisher of Griffith Review. His short fiction and journalism has been published in Australia, Spain and the UK. He is the author of The Beautiful Obscure (2017).

The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award

Phil Brown (Chair) is the Arts Editor of The Courier-Mail and has a popular column in Brisbane News. He has written for national and international newspapers and magazines and has published his poetry widely in the mainstream press and literary journals. He is the author of two books of verse, Plastic Parables and An Accident in the Evening. Travels with My Angst (2004) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards Steele Rudd Award. Any Guru Will Do (2006) is the second book in his memoir series.

Jerath Head is a writer and editor with more than seven years' experience across various projects and fields. His writing has been published in Kill Your Darlings, Overland online, New Philosopher and Sydney Review of Books. He is the assistant editor for Griffith Review, and was the co-editor of Griffith Review 56: Millennials Strike Back. He also works as a research assistant for Griffith University's Policy Innovation Hub.

Fiona Stager is the co-owner of Brisbane based bookshops, Avid Reader and Where the Wild Things Are. She has been a judge for the Vogel Award, the Stella Award and the Queensland Literary Awards.  Fiona has been presented with the Johnno Award for services to the Queensland writing community and in 2014 the Australian Booksellers Associated made her a life member.

Dr Nike Sulway is the author of Dying in the First Person, The Bone Flute,The True Green of Hope, What the Sky Knows, and Rupetta, which—in  2014—was the first work by an Australian writer to win the James Tiptree, Jr Award. Her works have won or been shortlisted for national and international awards, including the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, the Commonwealth Writers Award, and the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. She teaches creative writing at the University of Southern Queensland.

Griffith University Children’s Book Award

Joy Lawn (Chair) writes the young adult literature column for the Weekend Australian. Her reviews and interviews have also appeared in SMH/The Age, Australian Book Review, Books+Publishing and professional journals. She blogs about literary fiction, young adult and children’s literature at Boomerang Books and loves moderating sessions at the Brisbane Writers Festival. Joy is fascinated by ideas and images and how authors and illustrators express these with truth and originality.

Megan Daley is a Teacher Librarian at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School and was the Queensland Teacher Librarian of the Year 2015. She recently won the national Dromken Librarians Award. Megan is a regular on 612ABC radio and presents at conferences and literary events. She is on the board of the Australian Children’s Laureate and the Publications Committee of the National Library of Australia. Her first book, aimed at parents and educators of young children, will be published by UQP in 2019. She blogs about all things literary, literacy and library at Children's Books Daily.

Maree Pickering is a librarian by profession who started her career in the State Library of Queensland in children and young adult library services. After a long career in information management and research services across the public sector, she is recently retired but continuing active involvement with children’s literature and various research projects.

Christina Wheeler is a Teacher-Librarian at St Peters Lutheran College. Her love for literature prompted her to study English literature at university and become a teacher. One of her favourite aspects of her job is what she calls the ‘goose bump effect’ – those moments when students share their insights and experiences of texts. The joy of being able to bring non-readers to books is another of her passions. Christina compiles Teachers’ Notes based on picture books, verse novels, middle reader and young adult fiction for UQP, Magabala and HarperCollins.

Griffith University Young Adult Book Award

Sue Gough (Chair) is an award-winning novelist and teacher of creative writing. She has served on the Brisbane Writers Festival committee, the Literature Fund of the Australian Arts Council, and on the board of the State Library of Queensland. While at the State Library, she inaugurated their Young Writers Award short story competition. A respected theatre reviewer for many years, she also co-founded the theatre industry's Matilda Awards.

Trish Buckley has been a teacher librarian for 15 years, and has worked in both private and state secondary schools. She recently completed her MEd (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovations) and loves to combine new technologies with old-fashioned reading. She was the Queensland judge for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards in 2011-2012, and since then hasn’t stopped reading YA. She also works part-time to help deliver the Riverbend Standing Orders.

Rhianna Patrick

Jean Yates is a Senior English teacher with a passion for encouraging young people to connect with authors and reading. She was the Director of the annual Somerset Celebration of Literature for five years and works in a freelance capacity with schools and a number of publishers providing advice and writing teachers notes.

University of Southern Queensland Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award

David Burton (Chair) is a writer from Brisbane, Queensland. He’s the author of the memoir How to Be Happy, which won the 2014 Text Prize for Children and Young Adults’ Writing. He’s also the author of over thirty professionally produced plays, and is currently completing his Doctorate of Creative Industries at the Queensland University of Technology.

Victoria Carless’ first novel, The Dream Walker, was published by Hachette in 2017 and was recently selected as a Children’s Book Council of Australia ‘Notable Book’, in the Older Reader category. Victoria is also an award-winning playwright, a 2017 State Library of Queensland Research Fellow and a 2018 Griffith Review Fellow. She holds a PhD in creative writing and teaches script writing at tertiary level. Victoria grew up in North Queensland with lots and lots of dogs.

Amanda O’Callaghan was awarded a Queensland Writers Fellowship in 2016. Her short stories and flash fiction have won numerous awards, including Flash500 (twice), Bath Flash Fiction Award, the Carmel Bird Award and the Aeon Award. She has been a finalist or shortlisted in other major awards including the Bristol Short Story Prize and Fish Short Story Prize, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She holds a PhD in English from The University of Queensland and is currently completing her first collection of stories.

University of Southern Queensland History Book Award

Helen Gregory (Chair) was born in Brisbane and is an historian specialising in Queensland’s history and cultural heritage. She has published many commissioned histories including a history of the Brisbane River, a history of Brisbane’s Mater Hospitals and Brisbane Then and Now. She has written historical backgrounds for major museum exhibitions. Helen taught at The University of Queensland and was an Adjunct Professor in the Department of History. She has also been Director, Cultural Heritage, in the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, which protects Queensland’s cultural heritage places.

Libby Connors is associate professor of history at the University of Southern Queensland. She is an author and co-author of several works on Australian history. Her book Warrior (2015) won the Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance, the Magarey Medal for Biography and the 2016 prize for Legal History from the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society.

Dr Geoffrey A.C. Ginn is a Senior Lecturer in History at The University of Queensland, teaching British history, urban history, public history and historiography. His biography of the English mystic, antiquarian and museums pioneer J.S.M. Ward appeared in 2012, and his latest book Culture, Philanthropy and the Poor in Late-Victorian London was published by Routledge in May 2017. Since 2005 Geoff has served on the Board of the State Library of Queensland (to 2008) and the Queensland Museum (2008-2013, 20017-present).

State Library of Queensland Poetry Collection – Judith Wright Calanthe Award

Stuart Cooke (Chair) is a poet, critic and translator who lives on the Gold Coast, where he is a senior lecturer in creative writing and literary studies at Griffith University. His books include the poetry collections Opera (2016) and Edge Music (2011), a critical work, Speaking the Earth’s Languages: a theory for Australian-Chilean postcolonial poetics (2013), and a translation of an Aboriginal song cycle from the West Kimberley, George DyuÅ‹gayan’s Bulu Line (2014). He is the winner of the Gwen Harwood, Dorothy Porter and New Shoots Poetry Prizes, and has held residential fellowships at Omi International Arts Centre (USA), Hawthornden Castle (UK) and the Centre for Art and Nature at Farrera (Spain), among others.

Angela Gardner is the author of four poetry collections Parts of Speech (2007) winner of the Thomas Shapcott Arts Queensland Poetry Prize, Views of the Hudson (2009), The Told World (2014) and Thing&Unthing (2014) and chapbooks and collaborations. Her poems have been anthologised multiple times in the ‘Best Australian Poetry’ series. In 2018 her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blackbox Manifold, The Long Poem and Tears in the Fence, UK; West Branch and Yale Review, USA; and AxonHecate and Rabbit. She edits at foam:e

David Stavanger is a poet, performer, and cultural producer. In 2013 he won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, resulting in the release of The Special, his first full-length collection of poetry which was awarded the 2015 Wesley Michel Wright Poetry Prize. He was recently selected as a 2018 Melbourne Visiting Poets Program's resident by RMIT/Australian Poetry/Rabbit Journal/ Melbourne Spoken Word. David was Co-Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival (2015-17). He is also sometimes known as Green Room-nominated spoken word artist Ghostboy, featuring at festivals nationally and touring internationally in various iterations, as well being at the forefront of establishing poetry slam in Queensland. These days he lives between the stage and the page.

QUT Digital Literature Award

Simon Groth (Chair) is a writer and editor whose works include Off The Record: 25 Years of Music Street Press (with Sean Sennett, UQP, 2010), Hunted Down and Other Tales (with Marcus Clarke, if:book, 2016), and Infinite Blue (with Darren Groth, Orca Book Publishers, 2018). With if:book Australia, Simon created a series of award-winning experimental works including the 24-Hour Book, live writing events at writers festivals around the world, and works of literary remix. His reporting on digital publishing with if:book Australia has seen him travel the globe to discuss and explore the challenges and opportunities for writers and readers in a digital world.

Kate Eltham

Unpublished Indigenous Writer – David Unaipon Award

Melissa Lucashenko (Chair) is a Bundjalung novelist and essayist. Mullumbimby was awarded the 2013 Deloitte Queensland Literary Award for Fiction, won the 2014 Victorian Premiers Prize for Indigenous Writing, and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin, Stella, and Dublin IMPAC Literary Prize 2015. Melissa is also a Walkley Award winner for her non-fiction, as well as a founding member of the women’s rights organisation, Sisters Inside. In 2016 she was awarded the $80,000 Copyright Agency Limited Fellowship to write her forthcoming novel, Too Much Lip (UQP, 2018).

Madonna Duffy has over 25 years’ experience in publishing in Australia and the UK. She is the Publishing Director and Acting CEO at the University of Queensland Press. With UQP, Madonna has published authors such as David Malouf, Matthew Condon, Ellen van Neerven, Melissa Lucashenko, Julie Koh and Sarah Holland-Batt, as well as over a decade of winners of the Queensland Literary Awards David Unaipon Award and Emerging Queensland Writer Award. Madonna has been a member of many industry committees and boards and regularly gives guest lectures and speaks at industry and community events.

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her first volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961 won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry, and her first novel, Purple Threads, won the David Unaipon Award and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction. In 2017, she received the Oodgeroo Noonucal Poetry Prize and the University of Canberra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize. Jeanine teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. Her second volume of poetry is Walk Back Over (Cordite Press, 2018).

Peter Minter

Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer

Jacqueline Blanchard (Chair) is the Managing Editor at the University of Queensland Press (UQP). She studied at RMIT and has worked for publishers in both Melbourne and Sydney before joining UQP in 2013. She is an experienced editor of literary fiction and non-fiction and has worked with many award-winning authors, including David Malouf, Matthew Condon and Tony Birch. In 2017 she won the inaugural Rosanne Fitzgibbon Award for Editorial Excellence.

Sarah Deasy has been working at Avid Reader Bookstore since 2010, starting as a Christmas casual before working her way into the position of buyer. She has a degree in product design, but loved Avid Reader so much she couldn't leave after she graduated. In her spare time she still likes to design and make things in between reading the piles of books scattered around her house. She will read pretty much anything that comes with a good recommendation, but loves to read literary and speculative fiction, as well as the odd social history or music biography.

Cass Moriarty’s debut novel The Promise Seed (2015) was longlisted for the 2017 Dublin International Literary Award, and shortlisted for both the 2016 Queensland Literary Awards (The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Award) and the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards (Emerging Queensland Writer category). Parting Words (2017) is her second novel. The Saturday Paper has published her creative non-fiction, and she recently received an Australia Council grant towards her next novel. She is a writing mentor through QWC and regularly publishes reviews of new fiction.

Rohan Wilson is a writer and critic. He is the author of three novels, The Roving Party (2011) To Name Those Lost (2014), and the forthcoming Daughter of Bad Times (2019). His work has won numerous awards, including the 2011 The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award, the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Award, and the 2016 Adelaide Festival Award. He lectures in Creative Writing at QUT.

Other judging information

  • Judges will disclose any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest as soon as they become aware of them. The State Library of Queensland records all conflicts of interest, perceived, potential and actual. The conflict of interest is managed by the State Library and the panel chair and judges in accordance with the conflict of interest framework established by the Queensland Literary Awards Reference Group.
  • Judging panels may contact authors or nominators to request additional information if they feel it is required
  • Judges have the right to move a nomination to a different category if they deem the category to be more relevant.
  • The shortlist for The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award will be selected by the judges from the eligible nominations in The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award and The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award categories. The winner of the award is determined by public vote.
  • The outcomes of the judging process are final and no discussion or correspondence will be entered into in regards to final award decisions or the judging process.
  • Queensland Literary Awards reserves the right not to award a prize in a category.