You can’t be in two places at once as you don’t own a TARDIS …

So, you were probably following the action on Twitter on the evening of Monday 8 December when the winners of the Queensland Literary Awards were being announced at the State Library of Queensland while the winners of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were being announced at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

Wins by women writers included titles by: Joan Beaumont, Gabrielle Carey, Felicity Castagna, Ceridan Dovey, Cathy McLennan, Jaclyn Moriarty, Kellee Slater, Melinda Smith, Helen Trinca, Lesley and Tammy Williams.

madeleine moving-among-strangers-carey the incredible here and now - felicity castagna dragdown

Only the Animals Ceridwen Doveybeaumont-broken-nation refugeCracks in the Kingdom Jaclyn Moriarty how-to-do-a-liver-transplant-slater

The Queensland Literary Awards were established and run by volunteers in 2012 after the axing of the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. This year is the first time that the Awards were run by the State Library of Queensland. Eleven winning titles were chosen across ten categories from a list of 450 books and manuscripts.

The winners are:

University of Queensland Fiction Book Award

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, Vintage

University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award

1914: The Year the World Ended by Paul Ham, William Heinemann

University of Southern Queensland History Book Award

Broken Nation by Joan Beaumont, A & U

University of Southern Queensland Australian Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award

Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey, Penguin

State Library of Queensland Poetry Collection – Judith Wright Calanthe Award

Earth Hour by David Malouf, UQP

Griffith University Young Adult Book Award

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty, Pan

Griffith University Children’s Book Award

Joint winners:

Refuge by Jackie French, HarperCollins and Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, Lothian

Emerging Queensland Writer Manuscript Award

We Come From Saltwater People by Cathy McLennan

Unpublished Indigenous Writer – David Unaipon Award

It’s Not Just Black and White by Lesley & Tammy Williams

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

How to do a liver transplant: Stories from my surgical life by Kellee Slater, New South.

State Librarian Janette Wright said that the Queensland Literary Awards were “a testament to the passion for writing and literature in our community.” “The Awards have grown out of community support and a great love of literature,” said Ms Wright. “We are grateful for the continued goodwill for the Awards and would like to thank and acknowledge the exceptional support of our key award partners the Copyright Agency Limited Cultural Fund, The Courier-Mail, The University of Queensland, Griffith University, the University of Southern Queensland, Claire Booth, the University of Queensland Press and the Queensland Writers Centre.”

Chair of the Queensland Literary Awards Stuart Glover said the winning and shortlisted books “remind us of the diverse things that books can do and the invention and creativity with which writers undertake their work.” “The awards acknowledge the quality of contemporary writing and point readers towards works that might be of interest to them or important in helping us to think about who we are as a community,” he said.

Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

More than 500 books were entered into the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. The Awards recognise and reward excellence in Australian literature and history. Since their inception in 2008, 137 books have been shortlisted and 24 books have won.

The winner of each award category receives a prize of $80,000 tax free (halved in the case of joint-winners) and each shortlisted title receives $5,000 tax free. This year’s awards saw several joint winners and generous gestures to donate prize money. Richard Flanagan will donate $40,000 to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and Bob Graham will donate $10,000 to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

This year’s Awards also marked the announcement by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott of the formation of a new literary organisation, The Book Council of Australia which will “celebrate good reading and good writing”. Leaving aside the dilemma of what constitutes “good reading and good writing”, a Book Council sounds like a great idea in principle.

The winners in each category are:

Fiction (joint winners)

A World of Other People (Steven Carroll, Fourth Estate)

The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Richard Flanagan, Vintage)

Nonfiction (joint winners)

Moving among Strangers (Gabrielle Carey, UQP)

Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John (Helen Trinca, Text)

Australian history (joint winners)

Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War (Joan Beaumont, A&U)

Australia’s Secret War: How Unionists Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II (Hal G P Colebatch, Quadrant Books)


Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call (Melinda Smith, Pitt Street Poetry)

Young adult fiction

The Incredible Here and Now (Felicity Castagna, Giramondo)

Children’s fiction

Silver Buttons (Bob Graham, Walker Books).

What do you think about the Awards and are you currently reading any of the shortlisted or winning titles for your AWW Challenge? Keep sending us your reviews; they are all accessible here.

About Me

I’m a freelance book reviewer, journalist, writer and editor. I blog over at Wordsville and can be found in the library (I work in one) and on Twitter @PaulaGrunseit