Melissa Lucashenko

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Melissa Lucashenko
Born1967 (age 55–56)
Brisbane, Australia
GenreAdult literary fiction, literary non-fiction and novels for teenagers
Notable worksToo Much Lip
Notable awardsMiles Franklin Award

Melissa Lucashenko is an Indigenous Australian writer of adult literary fiction and literary non-fiction, who has also written novels for teenagers.

In 2013 at The Walkley Awards, she won the "Feature Writing Long (over 4000 words) Award" for her piece Sinking below sight: Down and out in Brisbane and Logan. In 2019, she won the Miles Franklin award for Too Much Lip.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Melissa Lucashenko was born in 1967 in Brisbane, Australia. Her heritage is Bundjalung and European.[2] She is a graduate of Griffith University (1990), with an honours degree in public policy.[3][4]

In 1992 she was a founding member of Sisters Inside, an organisation which supports women and girls in prison.[5][6]

Writing career[edit]

She has said that when she began writing seriously "there was still a glaring hole in Australian literature", with almost no prominent Aboriginal voices and with only the University of Queensland Press and a few other small outlets publishing the work of Aboriginal writers.[7] When asked whether she considers herself primarily a writer, or an Aboriginal writer, she writes that the question runs into semantic difficulties, because the word means different things to different people.[7]

Lucashenko's first work to be published was the novel Steam Pigs (1997), which won the Dobbie Literary Award for Australian women's fiction. It was also a short-list nominee for the NSW Premier's Award and the regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize.[4]

In 1998 she released the novel Killing Darcy, which won the Aurora Prize of the Royal Blind Society, was a finalist for the 1998 Aurealis Award for best young-adult novel and named on the 1998 James Tiptree Jr Memorial Award long list.[8][9]

In 1999 her third novel, Hard Yards was published and was a finalist in both the 1999 NSW Premier's Literary Awards and the 2001 Courier-Mail Book of the Year. In 2002 her fourth novel Too Flash, written for young adults, was published.

Lucashenko's fifth novel, Mullumbimby, won the prestigious Deloitte Fiction Book Award in 2013[4] and the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing in 2014, as well as being nominated for several other awards. In 2015 it was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award.[10]

She is also an accomplished essayist, winning the 2013 "Feature Writing Long (over 4000 words)" Walkley Award for Sinking below sight: Down and out in Brisbane and Logan. Speaking about this essay, Lucashenko said that she was partly informed by her studies in public policy: " thing I was trying to bring out in the piece was the odd mix of structural factors and just sheer luck, good and bad, that makes up people's lives. All of these women are poor because of the violence and because of intergenerational poverty, and those things can be attacked in policy and should be attacked in policy.".[11]

In September 2015, in a collaboration with Poets House in New York, a recording of six First Nations Australia Writers Network members reading their work was presented at a special event, which was recorded. The readers were Lucashenko, Jeanine Leane, Dub Leffler, Bruce Pascoe, Jared Thomas and Ellen van Neerven.[12]

Lucashenko was awarded the Copyright Agency Author Fellowship in 2016 to focus on her new novel, which was published as Too Much Lip in 2018.[13] In early 2019, the novel was shortlisted for the Stella Prize.[14][15][16] Judges called it "...a fearless, searing and unvarnished portrait of generational trauma cut through with acerbic humour."[5] The novel went on to win the 2019 Miles Franklin Award.[17] In May 2019, Cenozoic Pictures optioned Too Much Lip for a screen adaptation, with Lucashenko as a co-writer and co-creator alongside Cenozoic's Veronica Gleeson.[18]

Personal life and family[edit]

In March 2014 The Moth Radio Hour aired a recording of Lucashenko recounting the story of moving with her husband and daughter back to the Aboriginal lands in New South Wales (where her great-grandmother grew up), and subsequent divorce from her husband and mental illness of her daughter.[19]



  • Steam Pigs, University of Queensland Press (1997) ISBN 978-0-70-222935-0
  • Killing Darcy, University of Queensland Press (1998) ISBN 978-0-70-223041-7 (YA novel)
  • Hard Yards, University of Queensland Press (1999) ISBN 978-0-70-223080-6
  • Too Flash, IAD Press (2002) ISBN 978-1-86-465048-8 (YA novel)
  • Uptown Girl, University of Queensland Press (2002) ISBN 978-0-70-223334-0
  • Mullumbimby, University of Queensland Press (2013) ISBN 978-0-70-223919-9
  • Too Much Lip, University of Queensland Press (2018) ISBN 978-0-70-225996-8
  • Edenglassie, University of Queensland Press (2023) ISBN 978-0-70-226612-6


  • "Whiteness" or "I'm not racist, but.." (undated)[20]
  • "Who let the dogs out?" (undated)[21]
  • "Not quite white in the head" in Griffith Review edition 2 (2004)[22]
  • "Our bodies" in Making Perfect Bodies, Griffith Review, edition 4 (2005)[23]
  • "Globalisation, Kimberley style" in Griffith Review, edition 6 (2005)[24]
  • "How green is my valley?" in Griffith Review, edition 12 (2007)[25]
  • "On the same page, right?" in Griffith Review, edition 26 (2009)[26]
  • "The silent majority" in Stories for Today, edition 26 (2009)[27]
  • "Sinking below sight" in Griffith Review, edition 41 (2013) (Winner of a 2013 Walkley Award and 2014 George Munster Award for Independent Journalism)[28]
  • "History's footnote, or, a Wolvi incident", pp. 63–69, in: Destroying the Joint: Why women have to change the world, edited by Jane Caro, (UQP, 2013)[29]
  • Lucashenko, Melissa (22 July 2020). "It's no accident that Blak Australia has survived the pandemic so well. Survival is what we do". The Guardian.

List of all essays in Griffith Review[edit]

Nominations and awards[edit]

Aurealis Award for best young adult novel

  • 1998: Nomination: Killing Darcy

Aurora Prize of the Royal Blind Society[edit]

  • 1998: Winner: Killing Darcy

Australian Book Industry Awards[edit]

  • 2019: Longlist: Too Much Lip[30]

Commonwealth Writers' Prize[edit]

  • 1997: Nomination: Steam Pigs

Courier-Mail Book of the Year[edit]

  • 2001: Nomination: Hard Yards[31]

Dobbie Literary Award[edit]

  • 1998: Winner: Steam Pigs[31]

International Dublin Literary Award[edit]

  • 2015: Longlist: Mullumbimby[32]
  • 2020: Longlist: Too Much Lip[33]

James Tiptree Jr Award[edit]

  • 1998: Longlist: Killing Darcy[34]

Miles Franklin Award[edit]

  • 2014: Longlist: Mullumbimby[32]
  • 2019: Winner: Too Much Lip[35]

Nita B Kibble Literary Award[edit]

  • 2014: Shortlist: Mullumbimby[36]

New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards[edit]

  • 1997: Shortlist Steam Pigs[31]
  • 1999: Shortlist: Hard Yards[31]
  • 2019: Shortlist: Too Much Lip[37]

Queensland Literary Awards: Deloitte Fiction Book Award[edit]

  • 2013: Winner: Mullumbimby[32]

Queensland Literary Awards: Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance[edit]

  • 2019: Winner: Too Much Lip[38]

Queensland Literary Awards: The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award[edit]

  • 2019: Shortlist: Too Much Lip[39]

Stella Prize[edit]

  • 2014: Longlist: Mullumbimby[32]
  • 2019: Shortlist: Too Much Lip[40]

Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing[edit]

  • 2014: Winner: Mullumbimby[41]
  • 2019: Shortlist: Too Much Lip[42]

Walkley Award: Feature Writing Long (over 4000 words)[edit]

  • 2013: Winner: "Sinking below sight" in Griffith Review, edition 41[43]


  1. ^ Bookshelf, ABC Arts Kate Evans for RN's The (30 July 2019). "Miles Franklin awarded to Indigenous author for 'novel of celebratory defiance'". ABC News. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Melissa Lucashenko Biography". University of Queensland Press.
  3. ^ "Melissa Lucashenko". Griffith Review. Archived from the original on 23 October 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "Home". Melissa Lucashenko. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Too much lip". Stella. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Home". Sisters Inside. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b Lucashenko, Melissa (15 June 2017). "Q&A". Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  8. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1999 Aurealis Awards". Locus Online. Archived from the original on 24 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  9. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1999 James Tiptree Jr Memorial Award". Locus Online. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  10. ^ Includes an extract from Too Much Lip. "First things first". Griffith Review (60). 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2019.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ Watts, Madeleine (July 2013). "Interview with Melissa Lucashenko". Griffith Review. ISBN 9781922079985. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  12. ^ "First Nations Australia Writers' Network Reading". Poets House. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Fellowships". Copyright Agency. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  14. ^ "The 2019 Stella Prize". Stella. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  15. ^ Nelson, Camilla (8 April 2019). "Stella prize 2019: your guide to the shortlist". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 April 2019. Co-published with The Conversation
  16. ^ Nelson, Camilla (8 April 2019). "Six books that shock, delve deeply and destroy pieties: your guide to the 2019 Stella Prize shortlist". The Converstation. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  17. ^ Convery, Stephanie (30 July 2019). "Miles Franklin 2019 winner Melissa Lucashenko: 'We need a revolution'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  18. ^ Qian, Jinghua (11 February 2020). "Adapting Too Much Lip for screen". ArtsHub Australia. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  19. ^ "The Moth Radio Hour: My Grandmother's Country". The Moth. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  20. ^ Lucashenko, Melissa. "I'm not racist, but." (PDF). Retrieved 10 March 2019. Whiteness (intro.)
  21. ^ Lucashenko, Melissa. "Who let the dogs out?" (PDF). Retrieved 10 March 2019. Who let the dogs out (intro.)
  22. ^ Lucashenko, Melissa (December 2004). "Not quite white in the head". Griffith Review. ISBN 9780733313509. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  23. ^ Lucashenko, Melissa (June 2005). "Our bodies". Griffith Review. ISBN 9780733314339. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  24. ^ Lucashenko, Melissa (November 2005). "Globalisation, Kimberley style". Griffith Review. ISBN 9780733314544. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  25. ^ Lucashenko, Melissa (May 2007). "How Green is My Valley?". Griffith Review. ISBN 9780733318603. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  26. ^ Lucashenko, Melissa (November 2009). "On the same page, right?". Griffith Review. ISBN 9781921520860. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  27. ^ Lucashenko, Melissa (November 2009). "On the same page, right?". Griffith Review. ISBN 9781921520860. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  28. ^ Lucashenko, Melissa (July 2013). "Sinking below sight". Griffith Review. ISBN 9781922079985. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  29. ^ ISBN 9780702249907 Google books - whole chapter and book details
  30. ^ "2019 ABIA Longlist announced". The Booktopian. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  31. ^ a b c d "Too Much Lip". Australian Government Department of Communications and the Arts. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  32. ^ a b c d "Melissa Lucashenko". Griffith Review.
  33. ^ "Too Much Lip". International Dublin Literary Award. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  34. ^ "1998 Long List". Otherwise Award. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  35. ^ Convery, Stephanie (30 July 2019). "Miles Franklin 2019 winner Melissa Lucashenko: 'We need a revolution'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  36. ^ "Kibble and Dobbie awards 2014 winners announced". Books+Publishing. 23 July 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  37. ^ Perkins, Cathy (Summer 2019). "Excellence in Literature an History". SL Magazine. 12 (4): 52–55.
  38. ^ "2019 Queensland Literary Awards Winners and Finalists". State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  39. ^ "2019 Queensland Literary Awards Winners and Finalists". State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  40. ^ "The 2019 Stella Prize". Stella Prize. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  41. ^ "Congratulations to Melissa Lucashenko: Victorian Premier's Literary Awards". Griffith Review. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  42. ^ "Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2019 shortlists announced". Books+Publishing. 12 December 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  43. ^ "Walkley Winners Archive". The Walkley Foundation. Retrieved 29 January 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]