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The 2020 David Unaipon Award is now open for entries
Posted 20.03.2020

The 2020 David Unaipon Award is now open for entries

Entries are now open for the David Unaipon Award – an award that has launched the careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers such as Ellen Van Neerven, Doris Pilkington Garimara, Tara June Winch and Samuel Wagan Watson.

The annual award, the first of its kind, was established in 1988 by University of Queensland Press (UQP) and honours Ngarrindjeri author David Unaipon, one of the earliest published Indigenous writers.

Presented as part of the Queensland Literary Awards, the State Library of Queensland proudly manages the awards in collaboration with sponsors, industry partners and the writing community, and the prize includes $15,000 prize money plus manuscript development and publication with UQP. It is open to all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander unpublished writers.

UQP Publishing director Madonna Duffy said UQP was privileged to continue its long association with this important national award.

‘The David Unaipon Award has made a major contribution to the strength and vibrancy of Indigenous writing in this country,’ she said.

Writer Lisa Fuller won in 2017 – the first time a young adult manuscript had been awarded – and her novel Ghost Bird was published to acclaim in 2019 and was a Notable Book in the Older Readers’ category in the CBCA Awards.

‘I've long admired the previous winners, so it took a bit for me to accept I was now part of that group,’ says Lisa. ‘Short term, winning the David Unaipon gave me a massive confidence boost in my writing, and the prize money meant I could give up some of my many part-time jobs to focus more on my writing. Long term, it's opened a lot of doors for me. I’d encourage everyone to enter.’

Lisa Fuller, winner of the 2018 David Unaipon Award
Lisa Fuller, winner of the 2018 David Unaipon Award Photo by Camille Walsh

Celebrated author Tara June Winch (Swallow the Air, The Yield) says ‘winning the David Unaipon Award means you are entering into a group of writers like no other that carry the great responsibility of our storytelling, our survival and represent our Indigenous excellence.’

More information about the awards can be found here, and the entry form is here. The support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund has enabled the continuation of the David Unaipon Award. Nominations close 30 April.

For publicity enquiries please contact Louise Cornegé at UQP on louisec@uqp.uq.edu.au.