17 August 2012

Do literary awards matter? Join the discussion as high-profile Brisbane writers examine a topic that has inspired much public debate this year.

QUT Adjunct Professors Susan Johnson and Matthew Condon will join Professor Philip Neilsen on August 28 for a discussion about the purpose of literary awards in Queensland and nationwide.

The public event, called Literary Awards in the Australian Context, will examine the strengths and shortcomings of literary prizes in the lead-up to the Brisbane Writers Festival and announcement of winners of the Queensland Literary Awards on September 3.

Panel members will discuss the relaunch of the Queensland Literary Awards (QLA) in April after the State Government withdrew funding for the prize, as well as the QLA's successful crowd-funding campaign.

Professor Sharyn Pearce, head of Creative Writing and Literary Studies at QUT, encouraged the community to attend the discussion from noon to 1pm at Kelvin Grove campus.

"This is about enriching an important and continuing public debate," she said.

"What are the political, cultural and procedural roles of literary awards in the contemporary landscape in Queensland and Australia?"

The Creative Writing and Literary Studies department from the Creative Industries Faculty has contributed prize money to two QLA categories: emerging Queensland writer - manuscript award and the David Unaipon Award for unpublished Indigenous writers.

QUT creative writing lecturer Dr Kári Gíslason and alumnus Christopher Currie are among six writers shortlisted for The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year award.

Dr Gíslason was shortlisted for his memoir The Promise of Iceland and Mr Currie, 28, for his first novel, The Ottoman Motel.

Voting closes August 31 on The Courier Mail website.

Adjunct Professor Condon is editor of The Courier-Mail's Qweekend Magazine and the author of several novels including A Night at the Pink Poodle, The Pillow Fight and The Trout Opera.

Adjunct Professor Johnson is the author of seven novels, a memoir on motherhood, A Better Woman, and an essay, On Beauty, and works as a feature writer at Qweekend.

The panel discussion will be followed by a research showcase of poet, critic and QUT lecturer Sarah Holland-Batt's work after two years at New York University on a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship, and a brief overview of the research projects in the department.

Literary Awards in the Australian Context will be held at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation Seminar Room (Q Block, Room 430), Kelvin Grove campus, from noon to 2pm.

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Media contact: Stephanie Harrington, QUT media officer, 3138 1150,

Adjunct professors Susan Johnson and Matthew Condon will discuss the purpose of literary awards at a QUT event.