The winners of the 2017 Australian Romance Readers Awards, presented by the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA), have been announced, with Anne Gracie named Favourite Australian Romance Author for the third year in a row. Our heartiest congratulations to QWC member Kylie Scott for taking out Favourite Contemporary Romance for her book Twist!

Gracie also won in the category of Favourite Historical Romance for Marry in Haste (Berkley), and the member’s choice award for favourite couple for the novel’s central pairing, Emmaline Westwood and Calbourne Rutherford

Read all the winners here.

The Wheeler Centre has announced it will launch a new $150,000 initiative for developing writers called The Next Chapter. Established by the Wheeler Centre in conjunction with the Aesop Foundation, the nationwide scheme aims to support ‘a new generation of writers, from all sorts of backgrounds’ by offering 10 Australian writers a grant of $15,000 each to help them develop their work. The recipients will also be matched with a mentor who will work with them over 12 months to help connect them with publishers and readers.

The Next Chapter will focus on offering opportunities to writers from marginalised communities and will ‘celebrate writers who reflect the diversity of Australian identities and experiences’. It will also aim to give writers ‘time and space to craft a voice and a career—offering them support from mentors and peers, and the opportunity to experiment and develop their writing’. The judges for the 2018 program are Benjamin Law, Maxine Beneba Clarke and Ellen van Neerven. Mentors will be matched with the successful candidates ‘on the basis of individual fit’. Find out more here.

Jennifer Down, Marija Peričić, Shaun Prescott and Pip Smith have been named the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) Best Young Australian Novelists for 2018. The awards, which recognise emerging writing talent, are open to writers aged 35 years or younger when their books are first published. This year’s awards were judged by Age/SMH literary editor Jason Steger, essayist and poet Fiona Wright, and writer and critic Gretchen Shirm. Find out more here.

Emily Maguire has been awarded the 2018 Charles Perkins Centre Writer in Residence Fellowship, receiving $100,000 and other benefits to support her work on a novel addressing the complex relationship between social identity and health. Find out more here.

In the first season of the television series Girls, the famously self-absorbed central character, Hannah Horvath, infamously announced ‘I think that I may be the voice of my generation’, before back-peddling to ‘or at least a voice. Of a generation’. Think that’s obnoxious? Try wrangling the courage to be the voice of several generations. I have written the history of World Expo 88 … Or at least a history of World Expo 88.

Popularly conceived as the catalyst for Brisbane’s coming of age, Expo recorded over eighteen million visits (including staff, VIPs and repeat visitors with season passes) during its six-month run. That’s a higher figure than Australia’s population at the time. Expo was an all-ages love-affair, and it continues to be venerated nearly thirty years after it first bedazzled and bewitched.

Its various legacies—coupled with fierce nostalgia—have contributed to a formidable sense of public ownership of the event that some historians may be wary to transgress.

Who are you to write about Expo? I can’t believe you interviewed X but not Y! You explored the wrong issues! Reached the wrong conclusions! Too much controversy, not enough John Farnham! AND YOU BARELY TOUCHED ON THE QUEUES AT THE NEW ZEALAND PAVILION!!!!!!!

These are just some of the imaginary issues my imaginary critics have raised in relation to my Expo quest. I didn’t set out to tell the Expo story—I just wanted to read it. How did Expo come about? What were the social and political aids or impediments to its success? Was it like other world expositions? How does it fit within the zeitgeist of the era? What is its significance to Brisbane?

Photo courtesy Anthony Mullins

That book didn’t exist. This seemed quite the oversight to a former Expo season-pass holder such as myself—an oversight I felt should be rectified. Next problem: while I had majored in history and English at university, my subsequent energies had been directed towards fiction writing and indie film. If I was to stand a fighting chance against my imaginary critics, I needed to achieve peak history-writing fitness. Cue a neon-hued Expo research montage in which I interview many of the event’s instigators, organisers and objectors, study hundreds of articles and documents, produce audio-visual material for the South Bank Corporation and the Queensland Museum for their 20th anniversary Expo celebrations, write the didactic text for the Museum of Brisbane’s 25th anniversary of Expo festivities and complete a history and political science PhD about Expo.

Next problem: now I know too much. I could write more about Expo than anyone could possibly want to read (I’ve also noted that I can talk about it at greater length than is polite). Of equal concern: I have a vast knowledge of all the things I don’t know about Expo. There are going to be scores of people out there who know more about its staff, deals, finances, scandals, technology, souvenirs, intergovernmental relations and menu items than I do. But I can’t keep researching forever.

What to do? Write the book I originally wanted to read.

Be objective, professional, respectful … and maybe add in a few more lines about the New Zealand pavilion. Other people have had 30 years to be the book-form voice of Expo. And there is nothing to prevent them from doing so alongside or after my contribution. In the meantime, I’m attempting to placate my inner critics by reminding myself that I’m just a voice of Expo. And I’m trying not to remember that nobody likes Hannah Horvath.

Jackie Ryan holds a PhD in history and political science from The University of Queensland, where she was an Honorary Research Fellow. Her thesis topic is the subject of her book, We’ll Show the World: Expo 88 (UQP).  Jackie produces the Aurealis Award-winning Burger Force comic series and is the founding editor of comedy writing collective the Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary. The websites for these projects have been archived by the National Library of Australia as sites of cultural significance.

The shortlist for the 2018 International Dylan Thomas Prize has been announced.

The shortlisted titles are:

  • Kumukanda (Kayo Chingonyi, Chatto & Windus)
  • Her Body & Other Parties (Carmen Maria Machado, Bloomsbury)
  • First Love (Gwendoline Riley, Granta)
  • Conversations with Friends (Sally Rooney, Faber)
  • Idaho (Emily Ruskovich, Vintage)
  • My Absolute Darling (Gabriel Tallent, Fourth Estate)

Four debut authors make up the female dominant shortlist, which was chosen from a longlist of 12 announced in February. The winner will be announced on 10 May.

Established in 2006, the £30,000 (A$55,310) International Dylan Thomas Prize is awarded to the best literary work in the English language written by an author under 40 and is administered by Swansea University. Find out more here.

Overland journal has announced the shortlist for the fifth Nakata Brophy Short Fiction and Poetry Prize for Young Indigenous Writers.

The shortlisted writers and their works are:

  • Jazz Money, for ‘as we attack’
  • Kirli Saunders, for ‘A dance of hands’
  • Laniyuk Garcon, for ‘Remember’
  • Ralee Lancaster, for ‘haunted house’
  • Susie Anderson, for ‘revolve’.

The winner will receive $5000, publication in Overland’s print magazine and a three-month residency at Trinity College. The Nakata Brophy Prize alternates between fiction and poetry, with this year’s prize for the best poem (up to 88 lines) by an Indigenous writer under 30. Find out more here.

The finalists for the 2018 Hugo Awards, Award for Best Young Adult Book, and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and for the 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards were announced at simultaneous events across the US and the UK. QWC member Kathleen Jennings has been nominated for Best Professional Artist! The Hugo Awards are science fiction’s most prestigious award. See the finalists in full here.


The Winners of the 2018 Aurealis Awards (Australia’s premier speculative fiction awards) have been announced. The winners are:


Nevermoor, Jessica Townsend (Hachette Australia)


Changing Ways book 3, Justin Randall (Gestalt)


Girl Reporter, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Book Smugglers)


“Old Growth”, J Ashley Smith (SQ Mag 31, IFWG Publishing Australia)


“The Stairwell”, Chris Mason (Below The Stairs – Tales from the Cellar, Things In The Well)


“The Curse is Come Upon Me, Cried”, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Please Look After This Angel & Other Winged Stories, self-published)


In Shadows We Fall, Devin Madson (self-published)


“Conversations with an Armoury”, Garth Nix (Infinity Wars, Solaris)


Girl Reporter, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Book Smugglers)


The Silver Well, Kate Forsyth & Kim Wilkins (Ticonderoga Publications)


Infinity Wars, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Rebellion/Solaris)


In The Dark Spaces, Cally Black (Hardie Grant Egmont)


Soon, Lois Murphy (Transit Lounge)


Godsgrave, Jay Kristoff (HarperCollins Publishers)


From the Wreck, Jane Rawson (Transit Lounge)


The Fictional Mother, Tansy Rayner Roberts (self-published)

Sunshine Coast author Jessica Townsend has taken out Book of the Year at the 2018 Indie Book Awards for her book Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, the first children’s book to win the overall prize in the ten-year history of the awards.

The winning titles in each category are:


  • The Choke (Sofie Laguna, A&U)


  • Saga Land (Richard Fidler & Kári Gíslason, ABC Books)

Debut fiction

  • Wimmera (Mark Brandi, Hachette)

Illustrated nonfiction

  • Native: Art & Design with Australian Plants (Kate Herd & Jela Ivankovic-Waters, Thames & Hudson)

Young adult

  • Wilder Country (Mark Smith, Text)


  • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Jessica Townsend, Hachette)

The Indie Book Awards are chosen by independent booksellers to reward and promote excellence in Australian writing. Find out more here.


The shortlists for this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards have been announced.

The shortlisted titles are:

Older Readers

  • Mallee Boys (Charlie Archbold, Wakefield Press)
  • In the Dark Spaces (Cally Black, Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • Take Three Girls (Cath Crowley, Fiona Wood & Simmone Howell, Pan)
  • Because of You (Pip Harry, UQP)
  • The Secret Science of Magic (Melissa Keil, Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • Ballad for a Mad Girl (Vikki Wakefield, Text)

Younger Readers

  • The Elephant (Peter Carnavas, UQP)
  • How to Bee (Bren MacDibble, A&U)
  • Henrietta and the Perfect Night (Martine Murray, A&U)
  • Marsh and Me (Martine Murray, Text)
  • The Shop at Hoopers Bend (Emily Rodda, HarperCollins)
  • The Grand Genius Summer of Henry Hoobler (Lisa Shanahan, A&U)

Early Childhood

  • Rodney Loses It (Michael Gerard Bauer, illus by Chrissie Krebs, Omnibus)
  • Boy (Phil Cummings, illus by Shane DeVries, Scholastic)
  • I’m Australian Too (Mem Fox, illus by Ronojoy Ghosh, Omnibus)
  • The Second Sky (Patrick Guest, illus by Jonathan Bentley, Little Hare)
  • The Very Noisy Baby (Alison Lester, illus by Alison Lester, Affirm)
  • Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee! (Lisa Shanahan, illus by Binny, Hachette)

Picture Book

  • Ten Pound Pom (Carole Wilkinson, illus by Liz Anelli, Walker Books)
  • The Great Rabbit Chase (Freya Blackwood, Scholastic)
  • Mopoke (Philip Bunting, Omnibus)
  • A Walk in the Bush (Gwyn Perkins, Affirm)
  • Swan Lake (Anne Spudvilas, A&U)
  • Florette (Anna Walker, Viking)

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

  • Do Not Lick This Book (Idan Ben-Barak, illus by Julian Frost, A&U)
  • M is for Mutiny! History by Alphabet (John Dickon, illus by Bern Emmerichs, Berbay)
  • Left & Right (Lorna Hendry, Wild Dog Books)
  • The Big Book of Antarctica (Charles Hope, Wild Dog Books)
  • Amazing Australians in Their Flying Machines (Prue & Kerry Mason, illus by Tom Jellett, Walker Books)
  • Koala (Claire Saxby, illus by Julie Vivas, Walker Books)

Crichton Award for New Illustrators

  • Can You Find Me? (Gordon Winch, illus by Patrick Shirvington, New Frontier)
  • I Just Ate My Friend (Heidi McKinnon, A&U)
  • Mopoke (Philip Bunting, Omnibus)
  • Once Upon an ABC (Sophie Masson, illus by Christopher Nielsen, Little Hare)
  • The Sloth Who Came to Stay (Margaret Wild, illus by Vivienne To, A&U)
  • Tintinnabula (Margo Lanagan, illus by Rovina Cai, Little Hare)

The winners will be announced at an event in Brisbane on 17 August.

For more information about the CBCA Awards, click here.

 The Australian Book Designers Association have announced the Longlist for the 66th Australian Book Design Awards 2018. The Australian Book Design Awards celebrate the bravest and brightest, the most original and beautiful books published in Australia each year. The Shortlist will be announced on Monday 9 April and the winners of the Australian Book Design Awards will be announced at the Awards Party in Melbourne on Friday 25 May. See the longlist in full here.

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