About the prize

Established in 2016, Queensland Poetry Festival’s Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize is Australia’s only open-age Indigenous poetry prize for an unpublished poem. Named in honour of Oodgeroo Noonuccal, the first Aboriginal Australian to publish a book of verse, after receiving permission from Oodgeroo’s family and in close consultation with Quandamooka Festival.

The winner of the 2018 prize was announced at the opening night of the Queensland Poetry Festival.

The prize is open to Aboriginal poets, emerging and established, throughout Australia. The prize for a single poem (or suite of poems) of 80 lines or under is $2,000, plus a series of mentoring sessions with an established Indigenous poet. The highest-placed Quandamooka entry receives $500 plus a membership to Queensland Writers Centre.

QPF would like to thank Copyright Agency for funding this prize, as well as the support of Queensland Writers Centre, Overland and Quandamooka Festival. QPF also thanks the Walker family for their support in the naming this prize.


The 2018 judges

Jeanine Leane and Graham Akhurst



Brenda Saunders – ‘Quandongs

Judges’ comments

The imagery, symbolism, and language are powerful and underplayed in a poem that highlights the importance of intergenerational transference of knowledge and tradition.


Highly Commended

Claire G Coleman – ‘I am the road

Yvette Henry Holt – ‘Mother(s) Native Tongue

Julie Jedda Janson – ‘Waiali Possum Cloak

Jilian Boyd Bowie – ‘Descendant, MABO and Woman’ (suite of three poems)



Image: Sunrise and silence / flickr

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