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Queensland Literary Awards 2021 winners announced

The winners of the 2021 Queensland Literary Awards have been announced.

Visual artist Fiona Foley was awarded the $25,000 Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance for her book Biting the Clouds, which the judges praised as an ‘original and creative exploration … of the devastation wrought upon Queensland’s Badtjala people at the end of the 19th century’.

‘The little-known story of how Badtjala workers were paid in opium is inventively told in dialogue between her art and text, reclaiming the story for her own people and for the wider Australian community,’ the judges said.

The winners in all categories, chosen from shortlists announced in August, are:

Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance ($25,000)

  • Biting the Clouds: : A Badtjala perspective on the Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act, 1897, (Fiona Foley, UQP)

Fiction Book Award ($15,000)

  • Song of the Crocodile (Nardi Simpson, Hachette)

Nonfiction Book Award ($15,000)

  • Amnesia Road: Landscape, violence and memory (Luke Stegmann, NewSouth)

Children’s Book Award ($15,000)

  • Bindi (Kirli Saunders, illus by Dub Leffler, Magabala)

Young Adult Book Award ($15,000)

  • Metal Fish, Falling Snow (Cath Moore, Text)

Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection ($15,000)

  • Ordinary Matter (Laura Elvery, UQP)

Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection ($15,000)

  • Terminally Poetic (Ouyang Yu, Ginninderra Press)

The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award

  • Mary’s Last Dance: The untold story of the wife of Mao’s Last Dancer (Mary Li, Viking)

David Unaipon Award for an Emerging Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Writer ($15,000)

  • ‘Mekauwe=Tears Volume #1 (Notes For Song) 1970-2020’ by Ngankiburka-mekauwe (Senior Woman-of Water) Georgina Williams

Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer ($15,000)

  • ‘The Whitewash’ by Siang Lu

Queensland Writers Fellowships (three awards of $15,000 each, plus professional development support to the value of $4500)

  • ‘The Healing Giggle of Wonder’ by Tabitha Bird
  • ‘Split Level’ by Ella Jeffery
  • ‘Preserving: Stories’ by Kali Napier

Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award (two awards of $12,500 each)

  • Allanah Hunt
  • Ellen Wengert.

The winners were announced in a ceremony held at the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) and streamed on Facebook Live on Thursday, 9 September. For more information see the SLQ website.


Category: Awards Local news