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The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year
Subcategory of Queensland Literary Awards
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2020 winner y separately published work icon A Lifetime of Impossible Days Tabitha Bird , Melbourne : Viking , 2019 16556174 2019 single work novel

'Meet Willa Waters, aged 8 . . . 33 . . . and 93.

On one impossible day in 1965, eight-year-old Willa receives a mysterious box containing a jar of water and the instruction: ‘One ocean: plant in the backyard.’ So she does - and somehow creates an extraordinary time slip that allows her to visit her future selves.

On one impossible day in 1990, Willa is 33 and a mother-of-two when her childhood self magically appears in her backyard. But she’s also a woman haunted by memories of her dark past – and is on the brink of a decision that will have tragic repercussions . . .

On one impossible day in 2050, Willa is a silver-haired, gumboot-loving 93-year-old whose memory is fading fast. Yet she knows there’s something she has to remember, a warning she must give her past selves about a terrible event in 1990. If only she could recall what it was.

Can the three Willas come together, to heal their past and save their future, before it’s too late?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 winner y separately published work icon Adani, Following Its Dirty Footsteps : A Personal Story Lindsay Simpson , Geelong North : Spinifex Press , 2018 14756333 2018 single work autobiography

'From fishing villages on the Gujarat coastline to Adani's power plant in Mundra and the company's headquarters in Ahmedabad, Lindsay Simpson’s personal story tracks how the Adani Group managed to woo Australian governments into approving Australia’s largest coal mine in the Galilee Basin and port expansion in a zone of great ecological sensitivity.

'Why would an Australian Prime Minister, a State Premier and a handful of regional mayors back such a project, risking the future of the Great Barrier Reef and threatening Australia’s vast precious source of underground water – the Great Artesian Basin? And what of the consequences for greenhouse gas emissions if other proposed mines in the Galilee Basin go ahead?

'Why is there a single-minded pursuit of the mining of coal when we are running out of time to do something useful about climate change? As a tourism operator in the Whitsundays Lindsay Simpson, investigative journalist, former academic and author, is determined to expose the contribution of coal mines to global warming, which is threatening the world’s largest living organism – the Great Barrier Reef – with extinction.

'With other activists, she travels from Adani's Indian headquarters in Gujarat to Parliament House in Canberra to lobby politicians, demand answers and question motivations. She also documents the power of the social movement, Stop Adani, which has captured the public imagination.

'In an astute analysis of this ongoing environmental battle, the biggest since the Franklin Dam in the 1980s, Lindsay Simpson argues that while Adani might have gained the backing of politicians, it has not won over the Australian people. (Publication summary)

2017 winner y separately published work icon Saltwater : An Epic Fight for Justice in the Tropics We Come From Saltwater People Cathy McLennan , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2016 8150555 2016 single work autobiography

'When Cathy McLennan first steps into Townsville’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as a young graduate she isn’t expecting a major murder case to land on her desk. The accused are four teenage boys whose family connections stretch across the water to Palm Island.

'As she battles to prove herself in the courtroom, Cathy realises that the truth is far more complex than she first thought. She starts to question who are the criminals and who are the victims.

'Saltwater tells the compelling story of one lawyer’s fight for justice amongst the beauty and the violence of this tropical paradise.' (Publication summary)

2016 winner y separately published work icon Swimming Home Mary-Rose MacColl , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2015 8719037 2015 single work novel historical fiction

'The lone swimmer, turning over now to switch to a perfectly executed back crawl, wasn't Oxford or Cambridge, wasn't a man. It was a woman, a girl. It was Catherine. Of course it was Catherine.

'It's 1925 and fifteen-year-old Catherine Quick longs to feel once more the warm waters of her home, to strike out into the ocean off the Torres Strait Islands and swim, as she's done since she was a tiny child. But now, with her recent move to London where she lives with her aunt Louisa, Catherine feels that everything she values has been stripped away.

'Louisa, a busy, confident London surgeon who fought boldly for equality for women, holds definite views on the behaviour of her young niece. She wants Catherine to pursue an education, just as she did, to ensure her future freedom. Since Catherine arrived, however, Louisa's every step seems to be wrong and she is finding it harder and harder to block painful memories from her past.

'It takes the influence of enigmatic American banker Manfred Lear Black to convince Louisa to come to New York where Catherine can test her mettle against the first women in the world to swim the English Channel. And where, unexpectedly, Louisa can finally listen to what her own heart tells her.

Like Mary-Rose MacColl's bestselling novel, In Falling Snow, Swimming Home tells a story of ordinary women who became extraordinary.' (Publication summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon How to Do a Liver Transplant : Stories from My Surgical Life Kellee Slater , Sydney : NewSouth Publishing , 2013 8150490 2013 single work autobiography

'When everything is in place and both teams are ready, someone cries out ‘Cross-clamp!’ Then it is on for young and old as the clock is ticking. Up to this point, it has been a careful and considered surgery. Now it is all about speed. We move like Edward Scissorhands, chop, chop, chop. This is the trickiest part – to move fast without cutting something you shouldn’t.

'Welcome to the adrenaline-charged world of transplant surgery. Top Australian surgeon Dr Kellee Slater invites us inside the operating theatre with her dedicated team as she performs life-or-death surgery on a newborn baby, brings a dying liver back to life with a staple gun in each hand, and undertakes the confronting task of removing donor organs. How to Do a Liver Transplant is an enthralling – and often blackly funny – glimpse over the shoulder of a gifted surgeon. ' (Publication summary)

2013 winner y separately published work icon The Secret Keeper : A Novel Kate Morton , New York (City) : Atria Books , 2012 Z1899473 2012 single work novel historical fiction 'During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy. Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy's ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds--Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy--who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. This book explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told--in Morton's signature style--against a backdrop of events that changed the world.' Libraries Australia.
2012 winner y separately published work icon Closer to Stone Simon Cleary , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2012 Z1847161 2012 single work novel 'The story of two brothers from ‘The Springs’ (a fictional former spa town near Brisbane) – one a soldier peacekeeper with the UN and one a sculptor. Set in 1993 in northern Africa (Morocco, Western Sahara and Algeria) and in the US years later, it follows the journey of Sebastian (Bas), the sculptor brother, who must go in search of his missing brother, Jack. His journey is a modern-day Heart of Darkness as he travels into the dangerous, war-torn, desert interior of northern Africa to discover what happened to his brother. What he finds there is not quite what he was expecting and has shocking consequences for him and his family. Through the story of two very different brothers, raised as Catholics, the novel delves into the rise of fundamentalist Islam and its culmination in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. However, the novel belongs to Bas who, through sculpting stone, attempts to find redemption from the dreadful events he witnesses in the desert in 1993.' Source: (Sighted 08/03/2012).