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UQP devised and launched the David Unaipon Award in 1988 – the bicentennial year of white settlement. It is recognised as the most coveted Indigenous writing prize in the country.

The winner of the first David Unaipon Award was Graeme Dixon for his manuscript Holocaust Island. It was published in 1989 following a 12 month mentoring process to develop the manuscript.

Past winners include:

Many winners have achieved notable writing careers.

For over 20 years, UQP has been committed to publishing the winners of the David Unaipon Award. UQP will continue to publish and celebrate the wonderful collection of contemporary writing and Indigenous stories awarded the David Unaipon Award into the future.  

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Of Muse, Meandering And Midnight

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Announced, to widespread media attention, at Brisbane Writers Festival as winner of the 1999 David Unaipon Award for unpublished Aboriginal writers. Contemporary poetry by a young, urban Murri who is much in demand as a poet/performer at major literary festivals and poetry events. In language soulful, image-charged, and often humorous, relationships of the heart are recounted against an industrial cityscape. Samuel Wagan Watson is the son of novelist Sam Watson.


Purple Threads

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Winner of the 2010 David Unaipon Award for Indigenous Writing, Purple Threads is a humorous collection of rural yarns by a gifted storyteller.


Skin Painting

Picture of 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 and independence as an adult, Elizabeth Hodgson helps make a slice of Aboriginal experience accessible and resonant.


Swallow The Air

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When May's mother dies suddenly, she and her brother Billy are taken in by Aunty. However, their loss leaves them both searching for their place in a world that doesn't seem to want them.


Swallow The Air (10th Anniversary Edition)

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In 2006, Tara June Winch’s startling debut Swallow the Air was published to acclaim. Its poetic yet visceral style announced the arrival a fresh and exciting new talent. This 10th anniversary edition celebrates its important contribution to Australian literature.


The Boundary

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Winner of the 2009 David Unaipon Award. 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. When the Premier is kidnapped, the pressure to find the killer intensifies ... While the investigation forces Detective Sergeant Jason Matthews to confront his buried heritage, Miranda battles a sense of personal failure at the Corrowa’s defeat. How far will it take her to the edge of self-destruction? The Boundary will keep you guessing.