Explore BlackWords
Information Trails, Full Text, Search Tips
(Status : Public)
Coordinated by BlackWords Team
  • The University of Queensland Press (UQP) and the David Unaipon Awards

  • University of Queensland Press (UQP)

    University of Queensland Press (UQP), established in 1948, became one of Australia's most dynamic publishing houses known for its 'innovative philosophy and commitment to producing books of high quality and cultural significance'. UQP launched the careers of celebrated Australian writers such as David Malouf, Peter Carey, Kate Grenville, Doris Pilkington and Nick Earls.

    First formed as a traditional university press, UQP branched out into publishing books for general readers in the forms of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, Indigenous writing and children's literature. UQP's 'books and authors have received national and international recognition through literary prizes, rights sales and writers' festivals'. And, from '2010 UQP has released selected out-of-print titles in digital formats, in addition to the digital and print publishing of new books.' (Source: UQP website)

    In 1988, UQP established the annual David Unaipon Award, originally a category of the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards, now the Queensland Literary Awards. The award was awarded for the best writing of the year by an unpublished Indigenous writer. The award was initiated in honour of David Unaipon, one of the earliest published Indigenous writers, in order to support new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers to get their books published (Source: ABC website).

    Unaipon was born in 1872 at the Point Macleay mission in South Australia. He was a man of many talents as a writer, inventor, musician, and preacher, and from the late 1800s til the mid-1900s was acclaimed as a genius. In 1995, in an acknowledgement of his outstanding talents of writing and inventing, Unaipon's portrait was printed on the Australian $50 dollar note.

  • The David Unaipon Award 23 Winners Collection are now part of the UQP eBook Collections.

  • This BlackWords trail collects all of the Unaipon award winning books and authors together.

  • Winners of the David Unaipon Award since 1989

  • 2016 - Dancing Home by Paul Collis

    author Paul Collis
    assertion

    In 2016, Aboriginal writer Paul Collis' novel Dancing Home won the David Unaipon Award. This work’s publication is forthcoming by University of Queensland Press (UQP).

  • 2015 - The First Octoroon or Report of an Experimental Child by Andrew Booth

    In 2015, Aboriginal writer Andrew Booth’s fiction The First Octoroon or Report of an Experimental Child won the David Unaipon Award. This work’s publication is forthcoming by University of Queensland Press (UQP).

  • 2014 - Not Just Black or White by Lesley and Tammy William

    Tammy and Lesley Williams

    In 2014, Aboriginal mother and daughter writers' unpublished novel Not Just Black and White, won the David Unaipon Award. This work was published on 26 August 2015 by University of Queensland Press.

  • No Just Black and White by Lesley and Tammy Williams

    'Lesley Williams was forced to leave the Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement and her family at a young age to work as a domestic servant. Apart from pocket money, Lesley never saw her wages – they were kept ‘safe’ for her and for countless others just like her. She was taught not to question her life, until desperation made her start to wonder, where is all that money she earned? And so began a nine-year journey for answers.'

    'Inspired by her mother’s quest, a teenage Tammy Williams entered a national writing competition with an essay about injustice. The winning prize took Tammy and Lesley to Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch and ultimately to the United Nations in Geneva. Along the way, they found courage they never thought they had and friendship in the most unexpected places.' (Source: On-line)

  • 2013 – Heat and Light by Ellen Van Neerven

    Ellen van Neerven-Currie

    In 2013, Bundjalung writer Ellen Van Neerven’s novel Heat and Light, won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2013.

  • Image courtesy of publisher's website.

    'In this award-winning work of fiction, Ellen van Neerven takes her readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.'

    'Over three parts, she takes traditional storytelling and gives it a unique, contemporary twist. In ‘Heat’, we meet several generations of the Kresinger family and the legacy left by the mysterious Pearl. In ‘Water’, a futuristic world is imagined and the fate of a people threatened. In ‘Light’, familial ties are challenged and characters are caught between a desire for freedom and a sense of belonging.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2012 – Story by Siv Parker

    Siv Parker

    In 2012, Yuwallarai writer Siv Parker’s unpublished novel Story, won the David Unaipon Award. Publication of this work is forthcoming by University of Queensland Press (UQP).

  • 'Told from the Aboriginal perspective, Story responds to often asked but seldom answered questions. Story invites the reader to sticky beak on the characters in a small country town where changes are always afoot, and some things never change. A simple tale exploring complex issues with honesty, acceptance and heart.' (Source: http://www.queenslandliteraryawards.com/bios.html )
    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2011 – Mazin’ Grace by Dylan Coleman

    Dylan Coleman

    In 2011, Kokatha writer Dylan Coleman’s novel Mazin Grace, won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2012.

  • Image courtesy of publisher's website.
    'Growing up on the Mission isn't easy for clever Grace Oldman. When her classmates tease her for not having a father, she doesn't know what to say. Pappa Neddy says her dad is the Lord God in Heaven, but that doesn't help when the Mission kids call her a bastard. As Grace slowly pieces together clues that might lead to answers, she struggles to find a place in a community that rejects her for reasons she doesn't understand.'
    Source: Publisher's website
    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2010 - Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane

    Jeanine Leane

    In 2010, Wiradjuri writer Jeanine Leane’s novel Purple Threads, won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2011.

  • Cover image courtesy of QUP
    'Purple Threads is a humorous collection of rural yarns by a gifted storyteller. Jeanine Leane grew up on a sheep farm near Gundagai, and the stories are based on her childhood experiences in a house full of fiercely independent women. In between Aunty Boo's surveillance of the local farmers' sheep dip alliance and Aunty Bubby's fireside tales of the Punic Wars, the women offer sage advice to their nieces on growing up as Indigenous girls in a white country town.

    The cast of strong Aboriginal women in a rural setting gives a fascinating insight into both Aboriginal and rural life.
    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2009 - The Boundary by Nicole Watson

    Nicole Watson

    In 2009, Birri-Gubba writer Nicole Watson’s novel The Boundary, won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2011.

  • Image courtesy of publisher's website.

    'Hours after rejecting the Corrowa People's native title claim on Brisbane's Meston Park, Justice Bruce Brosnan is brutally murdered in his home. Days later, lawyers against the claim are also found dead.

    Aboriginal people were once prohibited from entering Brisbane's city limits at night, and Meston Park stood on the boundary. The Corrowa's matriarch, Ethel Cobb, is convinced the murders are the work of an ancient assassin who has returned to destroy the boundary, but Aboriginal lawyer Miranda Eversely isn't so sure.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2008 - Every Secret Thing by Marie Munkara

    Marie Munkara

    In 2008, Rembarrnga writer Marie Munkara’s selected work of short stories Every Secret Thing, won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2009.

  • Image courtesy of UQP

    'In the Aboriginal missions of far northern Australia, it was a battle between saving souls and saving traditional culture.

    'Every Secret Thing is a rough, tough, hilarious portrayal of the Bush Mob and the Mission Mob, and the hapless clergy trying to convert them. In these tales, everyone is fair game.

    'At once playful and sharp, Marie Munkara's wonderfully original stories cast a taunting new light on the mission era in Australia.' (From the publisher's website.)

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2007 Skin Painting by Elizabeth Eileen Hodgson

    Elizabeth Hodgson

    In 2007, Wiradjuri writer and poet Elizabeth Hodgson’s selected work of poetry Skin Painting, won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2008.

  • Image courtesy of UQP

    'My story cannot be painted onto a canvas - it is skin painting.

    Brave, haunting and evocative, this powerful volume is poetry as memoir. From her early experiences in an institution and the effect of this on her family to the illustration of her strength as an adult, Elizabeth Hodgson helps make a slice of Aboriginal experience accessible and resonant. Skin Painting explores themes of art, identity, sexuality and loneliness. It is both universal and intimated, honest and important.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2006 - Me, Antman and Fleabag by Gayle Kennedy

    Gayle Kennedy

    In 2006, Wongaiibon writer Gayle Kennedy’s selected work of short stories Me, Antman and Fleabag, won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2007.

  • Image courtesy of UQP
    'Take one woman, her partner Antman and their dog Fleabag, pack up the car, turn up the country music and you've got one spirited road trip...' - back cover (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2005 - Anonymous Premonition by Yvette Holt

    Yvette Holt

    In 2005, Bidjara writer Yvette Holt’s selected work of poetry Anonymous Premonition, won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2008.

  • Image courtesy of UQP
    'Winner of the 2005 David Unaipon Award, Anonymous Premonition gives the low-down on what it is to be an Indigenous woman today. Her collection of startling and fresh poems treats us to an energetic and unconventional journey from love, sex, empowerment and travel to motherhood and family, activism and grief.' (Source: Publisher's blurb) (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2004 - Dust on Waterglass by Tara June Winch

    Tara June Winch

    In 2004, Wiradjuri writer Tara June Winch’s selected work Dust on Waterglass, also titled as Swallow the Air won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2006.

  • Cover image courtesy UQP

    Swallow the Air follows the life of 15-year-old May Gibson, an Aboriginal girl from New South Wales whose mother commits suicide. May and her brother go to live with their aunt, but eventually May travels further afield, first to Redfern's Block in Sydney, then to the Northern Territory, and finally into central New South Wales. She travels to escape, but also in pursuit of a sense of her own history, family, and identity.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2003 - Whispers of This Wik Woman by Fiona Doyle

    Fiona Doyle

    In 2003, Wik woman writer Fiona Doyle’s life story Whispers of This Wik Woman won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2004.

  • Image courtesy of UQP

    'This absorbing and personal account of Wik activist Jean George Awumpun offers a rare understanding of Aboriginal identity and traditional land. To illustrate her proud Alngith Wikwaya beginnings, Awumpun's early history is told through family member and Alngith descendant Fiona Doyle. This ancestral history combines with the story of Awumpun's struggle in the Wik native title claims, which advanced the earlier Mabo Decision onto mainland Australia.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2002 - Home by Larissa Behrendt

    Larissa Behrendt

    In 2002, Kamilaroi writer Larissa Behrendt’s novel Home won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2004.

  • Image courtesy of UQP

    'A story of homecoming, this absorbing novel opens with a young, city-based lawyer setting out on her first visit to ancestral country. Candice arrives at "the place where the rivers meet", the camp of the Eualeyai where in 1918 her grandmother Garibooli was abducted. As Garibooli takes up the story of Candice's Aboriginal family, the twentieth century falls away.

    Garibooli, renamed Elizabeth, is sent to work as a housemaid, but marriage soon offers escape from the terror of the master's night-time visits.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2001 - The Mish by Robert Lowe

    Robert Lowe

    In 2001, Gunditjmara writer Robert Lowe’s life story The Mish won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2002.

  • Image courtesy of UQP

    'Robert Lowes affection and regard for "The Mish", a property in Victoria's southwest, originally an Aboriginal mission, is warmly conveyed in this candid memoir. In the 1950s and 60s when Robert was growing up, "The Mish" was a close knit community made up of the Aboriginal descendants of Framlingham Aboriginal Mission Station, founded in 1865. Robert's adventurous boyhood was a secured and unfettered time spent with his siblings and cousins enjoying hunting, fishing and eel trapping.

    Teachings by the community elders instilled in him a connection to the land and spirituality he would in turn pass on to following generations.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 2000 - Bitin’ Back by Vivienne Cleven

    Vivienne Cleven

    In 2000, Kamilaroi writer Vivienne Cleven’s novel Bitin’ Back won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2001.

  • Image courtesy of UQP
    'When the Blackout's star player Nevil Dooley wakes one morning to don a frock and 'eyeshada', his mother's idle days at the bingo hall are gone forever. Mystified and clueless, single parent Mavis takes bush-cunning and fast footwork to unravel the mystery behind this sudden change of face... Hilarity prevails while desperation builds in the race to save Nevil from the savage consequences of discovery in a town where a career in footy is a young black man's only escape. Neither pig shoots, bust-ups at the Two Dogs, bare-knuckle sessions in the shed or even a police siege can slow the countdown on this human time bomb. (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1999 - Of Muse, Meandering and Midnight by Samuel Wagan Watson

    Samuel Wagan Watson

    In 1999, Bundjalung writer Samuel Wagan Watson’s selection of poetry Of Muse, Meandering and Midnight won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2000.

  • Image courtesy of UQP
    'In a voice youthful, passionate and questioning, these poems reflect on growing up and on letting go; on urban dwellers in love and lust; and on the artist and his Murri community. The politics are unguarded and often amusing, and the language is playful, rhythmic and evocative. Ghosted by ancestors and muses, Watson's cityscape interweaves past and present.' (Source: Publisher's blurb) (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1998 - Is That You Ruthie? by Ruth Hegarty

    Ruth Hegarty

    In 1998, Gungarri writer Ruth Hegarty’s autobiography Is That You Ruthie? won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1999.

  • Image courtesy of UQP
    Image courtesy of UQP
    'It that you...? Matron's voice would ring out across the dormitory. In that pause sixty little girls would stop in their tracks, waiting to hear who was in trouble. All too often the name called out would be that of the high spirited dormitory girl Ruthie. In the depression years Queensland's notorious Cherbourg Aboriginal Mission became home to four-year old Ruth until her late teens when she was sent out to serve as a domestic on a station homestead.' (Source: University of Queensland Press website) (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1997 - When Darkness Falls by John Bodey

    John Bodey

    In 1997, Bardi writer John Bodey’s selected work When Darkness Falls won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2000.

  • Image courtesy of UQP
    'Set in the Kimberley region of Western Australia this is a collection of powerful love stories from the past. Each story explores different aspects of love - from mothers' love to lustful love, from forbidden or dutiful love to innocence.' (Source: Back cover, UQP 2000 edition) (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1996 - Black Angels Red Blood by Steven McCarthy

    In 1996, Kamilaroi writer Steven McCarthy’s dramatic novel Black Angels, Red Blood won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1998.

  • Courtesy of UQP

    'On the surface there's not much to distinguish Tim's life from any other on the fringe- where dope, booze and women are his pleasure as well as his pain. He has family in the bush, and the lives of his city friends are transacted in the face of poverty and police harassment. It is only in Tim's relationship with the Old Man that we glimpse another and little known world where the rules are different, but so too the retribution.' (Source: Publisher's blurb)

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1995 – Warrigal’s Way by Warrigal Anderson

    Warrigal Anderson

    In 1995, Aboriginal writer Warrigal Anderson’s autobiography Warrigal’s Way won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1996.

  • Courtesy of UQP
    'Warrigal has every reason to believe that the suits from the Department are coming to take him away. With five pounds from his mother and hasty instructions, he hops on what he thinks is a train to Swan Hill. Instead he finds himself on a life-long journey.' (Source: Publisher's blurb) (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1994 – The Sausage Tree by Rosalie Medcraft and Valda Gee

    In 1994, descendants of Manalargenna, a leader of the Trawlwoolway people, writers Rosalie Medcraft and Valda Gee’s life story The Sausage Tree won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1995.

  • Courtesy of UQP
    The title The Sausage Tree, celebrates the authors' favourite childhood game. 'This memoir tells of the sisters' childhood spent during the Depression in small-town Tasmania. For the family of nine, thrift was a virtue and home-grown food and hand-made clothing were a necessity. In later years, they learned of their Aboriginal heritage as descendants of Manalargenna, leader of the Trawlwoolway people of Cape Portland in north-east Tasmania.' (Source: Publisher's blurb) (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1993 – Bridge of Triangles by John Muk Muk Burke

    John Muk Muk Burke

    In 1993, Wiradjuri writer and poet John Muk Muk Burke’s novel Bridge of Triangles won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1994.

  • Image courtesy of UQP
    'Chris Leeton is tormented but also sustained by his growing need to cross over the landscape of his Aboriginal ancestors... In the struggle to keep the family together in Sydney's grim commission housing, schoolboy Chris is tender witness to poverty and despair. In time he comes to understand that they are exiles in their own land. He senses that it is his generation that must cross the bridge back to that landscape which defines his people's existence.' (Source: Publisher's blurb) (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1992 – Sweet Water: Stolen Land by Philip McLaren

    Philip McLaren

    In 1992, Kamilaroi novelist Philip McLaren’s book Sweet Water: Stolen Land won the David Unaipon Award. This work was first published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1993.

  • image courtesy of Good read
    'The destinies of two families, black and white, are fatally interwoven... in this frontier novel. Racial brutality and the tragic account of the Myall Creek massacre underscore the story of Ginny and Wollumbuy, Kamilaroi people of Warrumbungle Range. Mysterious killings follow the arrival Karl and Gundrun Maresch, a German couple who establish a Lutheran mission near the young settlement of Coonabarabran.' (Source: Publisher's blurb) (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1991 – Broken Dreams by Bill Dodd

    In 1991, writer and poet Bill Dodd’s book Broken Dreams won the David Unaipon Award. This work was published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1992.

  • Courtesy of UQP

    'When eighteen-year-old Bill Dodd dived into the Maranoa River his life changed in an instant. This young larrikin had enjoyed many adventures as a stockman on a remote station; now he was a quadriplegic. His boxing, running and football days were over, and he would never ride a horse again.

    Bill's story begins with a high-spirited childhood in smalltown Queensland, a time of youthful humour and energy. The sudden death of his stockman father affects Bill deeply and he rebels, before himself choosing the exciting life of an apprentice stockman.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1990 - Caprice: A Stockman's Daughter by Doris Pilkington Garimara

    Doris Pilkington Garimara

    In 1990, Mardu writer Doris Pilkington Garimara’s book Caprice: A Stockman’s Daughter won the David Unaipon Award. This work was published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1991.

  • Image courtesy of UQP

    'A fictional account of one woman's journey to find her family and heritage, Caprice won the 1990 David Unaipon Award for unpublished Indigenous writers. Its publication marked the beginning of Doris Pilkington Garimara's illustrious writing career.

    Set in the towns, pastoral stations and orphanage-styled institutions of Western Australia, this story brings together the lives of three generations of Mardu women. The narrator Kate begins her journey with the story of her grandmother Lucy, a domestic servant, then traces the short and tragic life of her mother Peggy.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • 1989 - Holocaust Island by Graeme Dixon

    Graeme Dixon

    In 1989, Noongar writer and poet Graeme Dixon’s first collection of poetry Holocaust Island won the David Unaipon Award. This work was published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1990.

  • Image courtesy of UQP
    'Graeme Dixon's ballads speak out on contemporary and controversial issues, from Black deaths in custody to the struggles of single mothers. Contrasted with these are poems of spirited humour and sharp satire. In Holocaust Island a powerful new voice emerges from a history of displacement.' (Source: Publisher's blurb) (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
X