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Foundation for Australian Literary Studies Margaret & Colin Roderick Literary Award

Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award

The Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award, valued at $20,000, recognises the best Australian book of the year that deals with any aspect of Australian life.

Nominations for the 2022 awards are now closed. They will open again in September for the 2023 round.

The Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award is one of Australia's oldest and esteemed literary awards, founded in 1967 by Professor Colin Roderick, an Australian writer, editor, academic and educator.

Colin Roderick

The Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award recognises 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.

Nominations close: 10 December 2021
Long list for 2022 Awards: Early July 2022
Short list for 2022 Awards: Early August 2022
2022 Winner Announced: Mid September 2022

Nominations open for 2023 Awards: Monday 12 September 2022
Nominations close for 2023 Awards: Friday 9 December 2022

The Foundation was delighted to announce Sofie Laguna’s novel Infinite Splendours as the winner of the 2021 Colin Roderick  Award.

Check out the long and short lists to see which other works were highly commended in 2021.

The Award has been running for more than 50 years, see the complete list of award winners since the Foundation's inception.

Judging Panel

Leigh DaleLeigh Dale taught Australian and other literatures at the University of Southern Queensland, the University of Queensland, and the University of Wollongong, where she also supervised honours, masters and doctoral theses on Australian literature. She was editor of the journal Australian Literary Studies from 2002 to 2015 having previously been the reviews editor, and is the author of The Enchantment of English: Professing Literature in Australian Universities (Sydney University Press, 2012) as well as Responses to Self Harm (McFarland, 2015).

Leigh has published criticism of a range of Australian writers including Thea Astley, Barbara Baynton, Lionel Fogarty, Miles Franklin, Katharine Susannah Prichard and Christos Tsiolkas, as well as articles and book chapters on higher education and colonial history. 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).

Professor Alan Lawson

Professor Lawson is Professor Emeritus in the School of Communication & Arts at The University of Queensland, where he was previously Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & International) and Dean of the UQ Graduate School. Professor Lawson has 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 (especially 'settler' cultures), literary and cultural institutions, Australia-Canada comparative studies, Australian and Canadian fiction. He has published on Patrick White, Frank Moorhouse, Barbara Baynton, Henry Lawson, and George Johnston, etc and, with Ken Goodwin, co-edited The Macmillan Anthology of Australian Literature. He has been an editorial board member of 12 journals (including LiNQAustralian Literary Studies, 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 VernonBorn 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 although she hopes to complete a PhD in Social History is having a hard time finding a university willing to back a humorous thesis.

Cathy McLennanMagistrate 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.

Image credit: Chrissy Maguire.

Susan K. MartinSusan K. Martin is Professor Emerita in English and a former Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia.

Her current research is on the teaching of Australian literature, and Australian cultural production and the representation of drought. She has researched and published widely on contemporary and historical Australian writers, including Joseph Furphy, Miles Franklin, Ada Cambridge, Mary Gaunt, Ethel Turner, Patrick White, Peter Carey, Alexis Wright.

She has particular interests in Australian literature and the environment, and Australian book culture.  She was a member of the Australian Research Council ERA Research Excellence Committee (REC) Assessment Panel for Humanities and Creative Arts in 2018. She is a former President of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL).

Her books include Women and Empire (Australia)(Routledge, 2009) and Sensational Melbourne (2011) and Colonial Dickens (ASP, 2012) with Kylie Mirmohamadi.