Colin Roderick Award

The Colin Roderick Literary Award is one of Australia's oldest and esteemed literary awards, founded in 1967 by Professor Colin Roderick.

The Colin Roderick Literary Award is awarded to the best original book, in the judges' opinion, that is published in Australia in the previous calendar year. Submissions must deal with any aspect of Australian life and can be in any field or genre of writing, verse or prose.

The Foundation for Australian Literary Studies presents the award at an annual dinner event to the value of $20,000, coupled with the silver H.T. Priestley Memorial Medal.

2018 Award Winner

The 2018 award winner was named as Jock Serong with his book, On the Java Ridge.  To read our judges comments on Jock's book and to view the entire shortlist, click here.


2019 award entries are now open.

Online Entry Form

Note: A $25 entry fee applies per entry.


2019 Judging Panel

Professor Leigh Dale, University of Wollongong

Leigh Dale taught Australian and other literature for several decades and was editor of the journal Australian Literary Studies from 2002 to 2015. Her first year of judging the Colin Roderick Award was in 2017; she had previously been a judge for the inaugural Barbara Jefferis Award, and for prizes awarded by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL).

Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, University of Queensland

Professor Lawson most recently served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & International), from 2009 to 2013 at The University of Queensland. Professor Lawson has formerly judged the Queensland Literary Awards for Non-Fiction (2014-16); Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards for Fiction (1999-2002); City of Brisbane Short Story Award (1988-89); and McGregor Literary Competition (1981, 1984); and reviewed fiction and non-fiction

Professor Lawson's research interests include post-colonial theory and critical practice, especially in relation to 'settler' cultures, literary and cultural institutions, Australia-Canada comparative studies, Australian fiction, and Canadian fiction. He has published, inter alia, on Patrick White, Frank Moorhouse, Barbara Baynton, Henry Lawson, and George Johnston. He was (with Ken Goodwin) co-editor of The Macmillan Anthology of Australian Literature. He has been an editorial board member of 12 – mostly literary – journals (including LiNQ, ALS, and Meanjin).

Professor Lawson holds BA (H1), University of Newcastle; MA (ANU); and PhD (UQ). Since retirement, he has been a Consultant on Research Quality and Research Integrity for 13 Australian universities.

Mrs Mary Vernon, retired Deputy Editor of Townsville Bulletin

Born in Perth Western Australia Mary has worked as a journalist in most states of Australia and several other countries.

As well as her considerable experience in writing, reporting, layout, editing and uploading web content she started reviewing books for The Australian in the early 1980s. She took over as Books Editor at the Townsville Bulletin when Colin Roderick retired from that position while also being, in turn, deputy editor, features editor, production editor, and daily columnist at the Townsville Bulletin in North Queensland. She has edited several books and anthologies and, like most journalists, is working on the Great Australian Novel, as well as having almost completed a history of food on Magnetic Island.

Besides working in print with a variety of regional papers, she has also worked in radio and is still heard most Friday afternoons on ABC Radio Townsville as part of their drive time show.

She worked as tutor and mentor for News Ltd’s online training college for young journalists for 10 years and spent six months in Myanmar in 2005, mentoring and training journalists on the Myanmar Times in Yangon, an experience she found very satisfying, although difficult.

In 2009 she graduated as a Master of Arts (Writing) from James Cook University in Townsville and hopes to complete a PhD in Social History over the next few years.

Magistrate Cathy McLellan, Qld Department of Justice and Attorney-General

Magistrate Cathy  McLennan is an Australian bestselling writer, lawyer and magistrate best known for her multi-award winning memoir, Saltwater.  She is the first graduate of James Cook University to have been appointed to the Bench.

Cathy is a recipient of the United Nations Association of Australia Queensland Award and was presented with the 2015 Chancellor's Award for Alumni of the Year, as well as Outstanding  Alumnus, College Winner, Law, Business and Governance. She also has a Masters of Law from the University of Queensland.

She loves reading and writing and can be found most weekends at home in North Queensland with her husband, twin boys and border collie.