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 The award was awarded for the best writing of the year by an unpublished Indigenous writer.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.
This BlackWords trail collects all of the Unaipon award winning books and authors together.
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).
'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)
'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)
'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)
'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)
'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)
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)
'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)
'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)
'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)
'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)
'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)
'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)