Queensland Literary Awards 2020 Finalists

Published in Arts News  
Queensland Literary Awards 2020 Queensland Literary Awards 2020

What do ghosts, war, tenacity and footy have in common? They can all be found on the finalists list for the Queensland Literary Awards.


The Queensland Literary Awards, founded in 2012, aim to celebrate outstanding Australian writers.

A total of $238,500 in prize money is available across 11 categories. Judges praised the depth of new and emerging talent on the Australian writing scene.

"Throughout COVID-19, Queenslanders have sought solace in books – peering back in time, exploring new worlds and discovering exciting new voices while in isolation," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

QldLiteraryAwards 2020 1

"Appropriately, the 2020 Queensland Literary Awards shortlist is filled with compelling stories of determination and resilience, community and courage.

"On behalf of the Queensland Government, I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s finalists, and I look forward to announcing the winners next month."

Check out the finalists below.

Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance
● 'Heartland: How Rugby League Explains Queensland' by Joe Gorman (UQP)
● 'Meet Me at Lennon’s' by Melanie Myers (UQP)
● 'Stone Sky Gold Mountain' by Mirandi Riwoe (UQP)
● 'Hearing Maud' by Jessica White (UWA Publishing)

Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award
● Sara El Sayed
● Zenobia Frost
● Ellen Wengert
● Yen-Rong Wong

The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award
● 'Act of Grace' by Anna Krien (Black Inc.)
● 'Stone Sky Gold Mountain' by Mirandi Riwoe (UQP)
● 'The Returns' by Philip Salom (Transit Lounge)
● 'The Adversary' by Ronnie Scott (Penguin Random House)
● 'The Yield' by Tara June Winch (Penguin Random House)

The University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award
● 'Bedlam at Botany Bay' by James Dunk (NewSouth Publishing)
● 'Olive Cotton: A Life in Photography' by Helen Ennis (HarperCollins)
● 'Friends and Rivals' by Brenda Niall (Text Publishing)
● 'Truganini' by Cassandra Pybus (Allen & Unwin)
● 'The Watermill' by Arnold Zable (Text Publishing)

Griffith University Children's Book Award
● 'Detention' by Tristan Bancks (Penguin Random House)
● 'Winston and the Wondrous Wooba Gymnastics Club' by Tamsin Janu (Omnibus Books)
● 'Fly' by Jess McGeachin (Penguin Random House)
● 'Nop' by Caroline Magerl (Walker Books)
● 'As Fast As I Can' by Penny Tangey (UQP)

Griffith University Young Adult Book Award
● 'Deep Water' by Sarah Epstein (Allen & Unwin)
● 'Ghost Bird' by Lisa Fuller (UQP)
● 'How to Grow a Family Tree' by Eliza Henry-Jones (HarperCollins)
● 'It Sounded Better in My Head' by Nina Kenwood (Text Publishing)
● 'This Is How We Change the Ending' by Vikki Wakefield (Text Publishing)

University of Southern Queensland Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection
● 'A Constant Hum' by Alice Bishop (Text Publishing)
● 'Lucky Ticket' by Joey Bui (Text Publishing)
● 'The House of Youssef' by Yumna Kassab (Giramondo Publishing)
● 'A Couple of Things Before the End' by Sean O’Beirne (Black Inc.)
● 'Here Until August' by Josephine Rowe (Black Inc.)

Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection
● 'Enfolded in the Wings of a Great Darkness' by Peter Boyle (Vagabond Press)
● 'Lyre by Stuart Cooke (UWA Publishing)
● 'Heide' by Pi.O (Giramondo Publishing)
● 'Throat' by Ellen van Neerven (UQP)
● 'Nganajungu Yagu' by Charmaine Papertalk Green (Cordite Books)

David Unaipon Award for an Emerging Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Writer
● ‘The Space Between the Paperbark’ by Jazz Money (poetry, NSW)
● ‘Valley of Cane and Crows’ by Boyd Quakawoot (novel, Queensland)
● ‘Last Rites of Spring’ by Mykaela Saunders (novel, Victoria)
● ‘Burn’ by Melanie Saward (novel, Queensland)

Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer
● ‘The Solitary Light’ by Bianca Millroy
● ‘Daddy & Other Father Figures’ by Jonathan O’Brien
● ‘If You’re Happy’ by Fiona Robertson
● ‘Without a Word’ by Jenny Ruge
● ‘As We Knew It’ by Siall Waterbright

The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award
● 'A Lifetime of Impossible Days' by Tabitha Bird (Penguin Random House)
● 'The Kowloon Kid' by Phil Brown (Transit Lounge)
● 'A River with a City Problem' by Margaret Cook (UQP)
● 'Feeding the Birds at Your Table' by Darryl Jones (NewSouth Publishing)
● 'Meet Me at Lennon’s' by Melanie Myers (UQP)
● 'The Breeding Season' by Amanda Niehaus (Allen & Unwin)
● 'Stone Sky Gold Mountain' by Mirandi Riwoe (UQP)

Public voting closes on 17 August. Winners will be announced on a Facebook livestream on 4 September.

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