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Queensland Premier's Literary Awards
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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The Queensland Premier's Literary awards were established by Premier Peter Beattie in 1999, and were discontinued by Premier Campbell Newman in 2012. The Queensland Literary Awards were established by the Queensland writing community in its place.


  • In 1999 the Queensland Government inaugurated the annual Queensland Premier's Literary Awards. The awards are designed to give professional and aspiring authors the opportunity to gain recognition in the literary industry as well as providing financial assistance to help in the production of high quality writing.

    These were suspended in 2012 by Premier Campbell Newman.

Latest Winners / Recipients (also see subcategories)v1148

Year: 2009

winner (Best Emerging Author) Inga Simpson

Year: 2003

winner (Best Film or Television Script) form y separately published work icon Japanese Story Alison Tilson , Fitzroy : Gecko Films , 2002 (Manuscript version)x401999 Z1498780 2002 single work film/TV (taught in 10 units)

'Sandy, a geologist, finds herself stuck on a field trip to the Pilbara desert with a Japanese man she finds inscrutable, annoying and decidedly arrogant. Hiromitsu's view of her is not much better. Things go from bad to worse when they become stranded in one of the most remote regions on earth. JAPANESE STORY is a journey of change and discovery for its two lead characters.'

Source: Screen Australia.

Year: 2001

winner (Best Fiction Book) y separately published work icon True History of the Kelly Gang Peter Carey , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2000 Z668312 2000 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 29 units)

'"I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false."

'In TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semi-literate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.' (From the publisher's website.)

winner (Best Children's Book) y separately published work icon Fox Margaret Wild , Ron Brooks (illustrator), St Leonards : Allen and Unwin , 2000 Z820936 2000 single work picture book children's (taught in 2 units) "An injured magpie and a one-eyed dog live happily together in the forest until a jealous fox arrives to teach them what it means to be alone." (Source: Google Books)
winner y separately published work icon Meat Party Duong Le Quy , ( trans. Lien Yeomans )expression Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2000 Z793752 2000 single work drama Best Drama (Stage)
winner (Best Film or Television Script) form y separately published work icon Rabbit-Proof Fence Christine Olsen , ( dir. Phillip Noyce ) Australia : Rumbalara Films Olsen Levy Productions , 2002 Z919523 2002 single work film/TV (taught in 15 units)

Based on real life events that occurred in 1931, Rabbit-Proof Fence is the story of three mixed-race Aboriginal children who are forcibly abducted from their mothers by the Western Australian government. Molly (aged fourteen), her sister Daisy (aged eight), and their cousin Gracie (aged ten) are taken from their homes at Jigalong, situated in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, at the orders of the Protector of Aborigines, A.O. Neville, and sent to an institution at Moore River to be educated and trained as domestic servants. After a few days, Molly leads the other two girls in an escape. What ensues is an epic journey that tests the girls' will to survive and their hope of finding the rabbit-proof fence to guide them home.

Although they are pursued by the institution's Aboriginal tracker and the police, Molly knows enough about bush craft to help them hide their tracks. They head east in search of the world's longest fence - built to keep rabbits out - because Molly knows that this will lead them back to Jigalong. Over the course of nine weeks, the girls walk almost 2,400 kilometres before Gracie is captured attempting to catch a train. Molly and Daisy avoid capture but eventually collapse from exhaustion on the saltpans not far from Jigalong. When they wake, they see the spirit bird, an eagle, flying overhead. Its significance gives the girls the extra energy they need and they are able to make it back to their home.

Year: 2000

winner (Best Fiction Book) y separately published work icon Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley , Ringwood : Penguin Viking , 1999 Z384386 1999 single work novel (taught in 3 units)

'In the dying town of Drylands, Janet Deakin sells papers to lonely locals. At night, in her flat above the newsagency, she attempts to write a novel for a world in which no one reads—‘full of people, she envisaged, glaring at a screen that glared glassily back.’ Drylands is the story of the townsfolk’s harsh, violent lives. Trenchant and brilliant, Thea Astley’s final novel is a dark portrait of outback Australia in decline.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text ed.)

winner (Best Children's Book) y separately published work icon The Family Tree Jane Godwin , Ringwood : Penguin , 1999 Z668717 1999 single work children's fiction children's 'Harry's real name is Harriet, but no one ever calls her that. When Harry is nearly eleven and her stepbrother moves in, everything she cares about starts to change: her family, her school, her home. Now, Harry finds herself looking back to see where she's come from, to work out who she is. Is she really Harry after all? A very special story about a girl who looks like a boy, a child who feels like an adult, and a past that refuses to stay there.' (Source: Penguin abstract,
winner (Best Drama) y separately published work icon Box the Pony Leah Purcell , Scott Rankin , 1997 Sydney : Hodder Headline , 1999 Z114430 1997 single work drama (taught in 4 units)

One-woman play, written by and for Leah Purcell, which draws on her experiences growing up, her relationship with her mother, and the contrast between her country upbringing and city life.

winner (Best Manuscript from an Emerging Queensland Author) y separately published work icon The Bone Flute N. A. Bourke , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2001 Z917116 2001 single work novel
winner y separately published work icon Benang : From the Heart Kim Scott , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1999 Z135862 1999 single work novel (taught in 31 units) 'Oceanic in its rhythms and understanding, brilliant in its use of language and image, moving in its largeness of spirit, compelling in its narrative scope and style, Benang is a novel of celebration and lament, of beginning and return, of obliteration and recovery, of silencing and of powerful utterance. Both tentative and daring, it speaks to the present and a possible future through stories, dreams, rhythms, songs, images and documents mobilised from the incompletely acknowledged and still dynamic past.' (Publisher's website)

Year: 1999

joint winner (Best Literary Work Advancing Public Debate) y separately published work icon Three Dollars Elliot Perlman , Sydney : Picador , 1998 Z131955 1998 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

'At once humorous and dramatic, Three Dollars is about Eddie, an honest, compassionate man who finds himself, at the age of 38, with a wife, a child and three dollars. How did he get that way? And who is Amanda? He cared about people; he was, Amanda notwithstanding, a good husband, father and son. At any other time the world would have smiled on him. But this was the nineties and the world valued other things. Three Dollars chronicles the present breach of the social contract and its effect on a home near you. It is a brilliantly deft portrait of a man attempting to retain his humanity, his family and his sense of humour in grim and pitiless times: times of downsizing, outsourcing and privatising. It is about the legacy of Thatcherism and its effects on people and their relationships.' (Synopsis)

winner (Best Maunscript of an Emerging Queensland Author) y separately published work icon The Architect Shoelaces Jillian Watkinson , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2000 Z668483 2000 single work novel

Jules Van Erp has presence. After a devastating road accident, he can still effortlessly create such architectural masterpieces as the Pavilion of Flight, but he cannot face the emotional legacy of his own history. Only when Jules concedes the possibility of love and imperfection is he able to begin rebuilding his extraordinary life.

(Source: Trove)

winner (Best Fiction Book) y separately published work icon Fredy Neptune Les Murray , Potts Point : Duffy and Snellgrove , 1998 Z66594 1998 single work novel (taught in 2 units) When German-Australian sailor Friedrich 'Fredy' Boettcher is shanghied aboard a German Navy battleship at the outbreak of World War I, the sight of frenzied mobs burning Armenian women to death in Turkey causes him, through moral shock, to lose his sense of touch. This mysterious disability, which he knows he must hide, is both protection and curse during much of his life, as he orbits the high horror and low humor of a catastrophic age. Told in blue-collar English that regains freshness by eschewing the mind-set of literary language, Fredy's picaresque life - as, perhaps, the only Nordic Superman ever - is deep-dyed in layers of irony and attains a mind-inverting resolution. (Libraries Australia)
winner (Best Children's Book) y separately published work icon Unseen Paul Jennings , Ringwood : Puffin , 1998 Z834868 1998 selected work children's fiction children's horror humour Unseen events like... the dead coming back to life... escaping a man-eating ghost... growing spare fingers... cheating the fate that awaits you... from the one and only Paul Jennings.

Works About this Award

Author Jackie Back to Where Her Story Began Phil Brown , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 16 December 2014; (p. 45)
Why Art? Alison Croggon , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Overland , Spring no. 212 2013; (p. 12-18)

'Alison Croggon on the case for public arts funding'

New Queensland Government Axes Writing Awards Mark Roberts , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: Rochford Street Review , March-April no. 3 2012;
Literary Awards Set To be Winners Bridget Cormack , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 21 August 2012; (p. 16)
Queensland on Another Page as Baillieu Gets Behind State Writers' Award Jason Steger , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 10 August 2012; (p. 3)