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Seven UQP authors shortlisted for the 2022 NSW Premier's Literary Awards
Posted 05.04.2022

Seven UQP authors shortlisted for the 2022 NSW Premier's Literary Awards

We are thrilled to have seven UQP books shortlisted for the 2022 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, along with two highly commended books. The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards are held annually and are the richest and longest running state-based literary awards in Australia. The winners of the 2022 Awards will be announced on 16 May 2022 as part of the Sydney Writers' Festival.

Congratulations to the following shortlisted books and authors:

Dark As Last Night by Tony Birch, shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction

These exceptional stories capture the importance of human connection at pivotal moments in our lives, whether those occur because of the loss of a loved one or the uncertainties of childhood. Judges' comments:

The stories in Dark as Last Night are as realised and rich as novels: they give a sense of lives fully lived, events remembered and projected... In amongst lives of struggle and impulsive wrong turns, we still see moments full of love and falling in love.

Dropbearby Evelyn Araluen, shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry

An innovative collection of poetry and prose from a vibrant new Indigenous voice on the Australian literary scene. Judges' comments:

Evelyn Araluen’s Dropbear is a vital debut. A book of deep love and resistance, it incisively interrogates colonialism and the violence of colonial myth-making while enacting an ardent remembrance of lives lost and cultures dismantled. Its searching intellectualism and innovative sense of form are underscored by a burning emotional core.

A Thousand Crimson Blooms by Eileen Chong, shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry

Eileen Chong’s luminous poetry examines the histories—personal, familial and cultural—that form our identities and obsessions. Judges' comments:

A Thousand Crimson Blooms is a work of meticulously crafted lyricism, steady witness and vivid imagery. Under the surface of spare song, layers of resonance deepen each image, line and poem. Eileen Chong’s precise, musical poems undertake a restive exploration of loss and gain, grief and resilience.

Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller, shortlisted for the Indigenous Writers' Prize

An intriguing and gripping young adult novel by the winner of the David Unaipon award. Judges' comments:

The suspense Lisa Fuller wields in Ghost Bird is exceptional and a sign of great things to come from such a startling debut... Ghost Bird keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, shrieking in recognition and humour, and nodding quietly at the more sombre moments.

After Story by Larissa Behrendt, shortlisted for the Indigenous Writers' Prize

Ambitious and engrossing, After Story celebrates the extraordinary power of words and the quiet spaces between. Judges' comments:

After Story is a well-written rumination on so many things. A powerful underlying narrative of the missing child, and the emotional hand grenade of that loss, haunts the work. A book that bridges classical English literature and life with contemporary Aboriginal love, life and ambition, After Story will possibly remain unique for many years to come.

Henry Hamlet's Heart by Rhiannon Wilde, shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature

From an exciting debut author comes this passionate story of growing up, letting go, and learning how to love. Judges' comments:

Wit and a strong sense of place find firm footholds in Rhiannon Wilde’s debut novel, a coming-of-age queer romance for young adult readers set in Brisbane in 2008... The book is populated with three-dimensional characters who develop a satisfying level of maturity and self-awareness.

My Brother Ben by Peter Carnavas, shortlisted for the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature

A timeless story of birds and boats, and of brotherly love that is bigger than a wedge-tailed eagle, bigger than the sky. Judges' comments:

Deftly written and at times cinematic and haunting, My Brother Ben by Peter Carnavas, is an unassuming gem of a novel. It tells the story of Luke and his big brother, Ben, and their adventures along the banks of Cabbage Tree Creek. Carnavas has crafted a well constructed story that explores the dynamic between brothers.

Congratulations also to two UQP books that were highly commended: