The Queensland Literary Awards winners were announced at State Library of Queensland on 8 December, honouring the talent of Australian writers.

The distinguished list of winners saw many of Australia’s renowned and much loved authors recognised alongside debut and up-and-coming writers. Winners Richard Flanagan, Paul Ham, David Malouf, Joan Beaumont, Ceridwen Dovey, Jaclyn Moriarty, Shaun Tan, Jackie French, Kellee Slater, Cathy McLennan, and Lesley and Tammy Williams were presented with their awards at a ceremony held at State Library.

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State Librarian Janette Wright said 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 Dr Stuart Glover said this year the judges had narrowed down an impressive list of 450 books and manuscripts to just 11 winners across 10 categories. “These books, the winners, and the notable shortlists, 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,” said Dr Glover. “For some books, like Paul Ham’s1914: The Year the World Ended, winner of the non-fiction prize, the politics and ideas are on the surface. Ham tells the always relevant story about how political hubris dragged us into the Great War 100 years ago.

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“In others, like Jaclyn Moriarty’sThe Cracks in the Kingdom, which took out the Young Adult Prize, the writing is playful and literally fantastic. But underneath the fascinating tale of characters caught between a real and an imagined world is an exploration of our hopes for the unity of our families.

“Among the winners we see a sweep of ideas. David Malouf’s poetry collection Earth Hour examines the planet and people and space at a precarious moment in its history. These are works of labour and imagination,” he said. “The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, winner of the Fiction Book prize, is a novel of abundant range and depth that will undoubtedly become regarded as one of the great works of Australian literature. It has already been recognised internationally — winning the Booker prize earlier this year.

“The strength of Australian writing for children is highlighted this year in the exceptional quality of the shortlist. In awarding joint winners the panel acknowledged that whilst very different books both Refuge by Jackie Frenchand Rules of Summer by Shaun Tanare truly outstanding works offering children and adults alike a profound literary experience capable of changing hearts and minds,” said Dr Glover.