The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award

The Courier-Mail 2015 People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award

2017 Finalists

Nominations for The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award have now closed.

Awarded to an outstanding book by a Queensland author, The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award is determined by public vote. The winner receives $10,000 and will be announced at the Queensland Literary Awards Ceremony on 4 October at State Library of Queensland.

Voting opened Friday 25 August and closed Monday 25 September 2017

The Birdman's Wife - cover

The Birdman's Wife

Melissa Ashley

Affirm Press

Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man. In The Birdman’s Wife, the naïve young girl who falls in love with a demanding and ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to collect and illustrate Australia’s ‘curious’ birdlife. In this indelible portrait, an extraordinary woman overshadowed by history steps back into the light where she belongs.

About the author
Melissa Ashley is a writer, poet, birder and academic who tutors in poetry and creative writing at the University of Queensland. She has published a collection of poems,The Hospital for Dolls, short stories, essays and articles. What started out as research for a PhD dissertation on Elizabeth Gould became a labour of love and her first novel, The Birdman’s Wife. Inspired by her heroine, she studied taxidermy as a volunteer at the Queensland Museum. Melissa lives in Brisbane.

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Vancouver - cover

Vancouver

Nick Earls

Inkerman & Blunt

In the third novella of the Wisdom Tree series, Vancouver is the story the character Paul would tell if he were living in plague times - a story that comforts, a story that wards off evil. His story is about the giant that influenced his life, it's about the day the world changed, and it's about what happens when our giants come tumbling down.

About the author
Nick Earls’s novels have won awards in the UK and Australia, and appeared on bestseller lists in both those countries and the Amazon Kindle Store. Two have been adapted into feature films and five into stage plays.

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Ghost Empire - cover

Ghost Empire

Richard Fidler

HarperCollins

In 2014, Richard Fidler and his son Joe made a journey to Istanbul. Fired by Richard's passion for the rich history of the dazzling Byzantine Empire - centred around the legendary Constantinople - we are swept into some of the most extraordinary tales in history. The clash of civilisations, the fall of empires, the rise of Christianity, revenge, lust, murder. Turbulent stories from the past are brought vividly to life at the same time as a father navigates the unfolding changes in his relationship with his son. Ghost Empire is a revelation: a beautifully written ode to a lost civilisation, and a warmly observed father-son adventure far from home.

About the author
Richard Fidler presents Conversations with Richard Fidler, an in-depth, up close and personal interview program broadcast across Australia on ABC Radio. He's interviewed prime ministers, astronauts, writers and scientists, but the program often features remarkable people who are unknown to the wider world. The program is the most popular podcast in Australia, with over a million downloaded programs every month. Richard is the author of the best-selling book Ghost Empire.

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A Hundred Small Lessons - cover

A Hundred Small Lessons

Ashley Hay

Allen & Unwin

Luminous and deeply affecting, A Hundred Small Lessons is about the many small decisions - the invisible moments - that come to make a life. The intertwined lives of two women from different generations tell a rich and intimate story of how we feel what it is to be human, and how place can transform who we are. It takes account of what it means to be mother or daughter; father or son. It's a story of love, and of life. Through one hot, wet Brisbane summer, seven lives - and two different slices of time - wind along with the flow of the river, as two families chart the ways in which we come, sudden and oblivious, into each other's stories, and the unexpected ripples that flow out from those chance encounters.

About the author
Ashley Hay's latest novel is A Hundred Small Lessons. Her previous novel, The Railwayman's Wife, received the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies' Colin Roderick Award, and the People's Choice at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards. Her earlier work has won accolades in Australia and abroad, most recently the 2016 Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing. She has been longlisted for awards including the Miles Franklin and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and shortlisted for awards including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Kibble. She lives in Brisbane.

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Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms - cover

Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms

Anita Heiss

Simon & Schuster

5 AUGUST, 1944: over 1,000 Japanese soldiers break out of the No.12 Prisoner of War compound on the fringes of Cowra. In the carnage, hundreds are killed, many are recaptured, and some take their own lives rather than suffer the humiliation of ongoing defeat. But one soldier, Hiroshi, manages to escape. At nearby Erambie Station, an Aboriginal mission, Banjo Williams discovers Hiroshi, distraught and on the run and offers Hiroshi refuge. Mary, Banjo’s daughter, is intrigued by the softly spoken stranger, and charged with his care. Love blossoms between Mary and Hiroshi, and they each dream of a future together. But how long can Hiroshi be hidden safely and their bond kept a secret?

About the author
Dr Anita Heiss is the author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women's fiction, poetry, social commentary and travel articles. She is a regular guest at writers' festivals and travels internationally performing her work and lecturing on Indigenous literature. She is a Lifetime Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW. Anita is an Advocate for the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and an Ambassador of Worowa Aboriginal College. She is an Adjunct Professor with Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS and currently divides her time between writing, public speaking, MCing, managing the Epic Good Foundation and being a 'creative disruptor'. Anita was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards. She currently lives in Brisbane.

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To Prey and To Silence - cover

To Prey and To Silence

Joan Katherine Isaacs

A&A Publishing

At the age of fifteen Joan’s normal and happy life changed irreparably when the chaplain at her school groomed her for his own sexual gratification. Despite the trauma of her teenage years, Joan became a teacher, initially working in primary schools and later focussing on children with special needs and learning difficulties. Silenced by her abuser and later by the Catholic Church through their Towards Healing program, Joan was finally able to speak in 2013 when she gave evidence at the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. To Prey and To Silence is Joan Katherine Isaacs’ powerful account of her battle to be heard.

About the author
Joan Katherine Isaacs is a wife, mother and doting grandmother. Born in 1953 into a Catholic family, Joan is the middle child of migrant parents. Joan became a teacher, initially working in primary schools and later focussing on children with special needs and learning difficulties. In 2013 Joan gave evidence at the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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For a Girl - cover

For a Girl

Mary-Rose MacColl

Allen & Unwin

Emerging from an unconventional, boisterously happy childhood, Mary-Rose MacColl was a rebellious teenager. And when, at the age of fifteen, her high-school teacher and her husband started inviting Mary-Rose to spend time with them, her parents were pleased that she now had the guidance she needed to take her safely into young adulthood. It wasn't too long, though, before the teacher and her husband changed the nature of the relationship with overwhelming consequences for Mary-Rose. Consequences that kept her silent and ashamed through much of her adult life. Many years later, safe within a loving relationship, all of the long-hidden secrets and betrayals crashed down upon her and she came close to losing everything. In this poignant and brave true story, Mary-Rose brings these secrets to the surface and, in doing so, is finally able to watch them float away.

About the author
Mary-Rose MacColl's first novel, No Safe Place, was runner-up in the 1995 The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award and her first non-fiction book, The Birth Wars, was a finalist in the 2009 Walkley Awards. Her international bestselling In Falling Snow was published to great acclaim in 2012. Her fifth novel, Swimming Home, won The Courier-Mail 2016 People's Choice Queensland book of the Year Award. Mary-Rose lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and son.

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Saltwater - cover

Saltwater

Cathy McLennan

UQP

When Cathy McLennan first steps into Townsville’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as a young graduate she isn’t expecting a major murder case to land on her desk. The accused are four teenage boys whose family connections stretch across the water to Palm Island. As she battles to prove herself in the courtroom, Cathy realises that the truth is far more complex than she first thought. She starts to question who are the criminals and who are the victims. Saltwater tells the compelling story of one lawyer’s fight for justice amongst the beauty and the violence of this tropical paradise.

About the author
Cathy McLennan won the Emerging Queensland Writer Award at the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards for the unpublished manuscript that became Saltwater. She has written for The Courier-Mail and the Townsville Bulletin. Cathy has more than twenty years’ experience in criminal law, from her early days working as a barrister for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service in North Queensland, to appearing in the High Court and deciding cases as a Queensland Magistrate. She has a Masters of Law and was the recipient of the 2015 Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Alumnus of James Cook University. Cathy is well known for her dedication to vulnerable Queenslanders. She lives with her husband and their two children.

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