Tanya Dalziell

Shortlist year: 2019

Shortlist category: Fiction

Published by: University of Queensland Press


Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things—her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she's an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley. Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible.

About the author

Melissa Lucashenko

Credit LaVonne Bobongie Photography Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko is a Goorie author of Bundjalung and European heritage. She has been publishing books with the University of Queensland Press since 1997, with her first novel, Steam Pigs, winning the Dobbie Literary Award and being shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Hard Yards (UQP, 1999) was shortlisted for The Courier-Mail Book of the Year and in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and Mullumbimby (UQP, 2013) won the Queensland Literary Award, was shortlisted for the Kibble Literary Award, and was longlisted for the Stella Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. She has also written two novels for teenagers: Killing Darcy (UQP, 1998) and Too Flash (IAD Press, 2002). In 2013 Melissa won the inaugural long-form Walkley Award for her Griffith REVIEW essay ‘Sinking below sight: Down and out in Brisbane and Logan’.

Too Much Lip won the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award; was shortlisted for the Stella Prize, two Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and a NSW Premier’s Literary Award; and was longlisted in the Australian Book Industry Awards.

Judges’ comments

Melissa Lucashenko's Too Much Lip is a comic novel with a serious purpose. Set in the fictional town of Durrongo in northern New South Wales, the novel's protagonist, Kerry Salter, is an unforgettable creation: a sassy, spunky, motorbike-riding anti-hero, who often seems to find herself on the wrong side of the law. Lucashenko depicts the rough-and-tumble home life of Kerry's extended family with an affectionate humour and pokes gentle fun at the ructions within the local Indigenous community. The counterweight to this element of generous comedy is the novel's awareness of the violence and dysfunction that invariably accompany the experience of dispossession and marginalisation, the colonial origins of which give an added layer of significance to the various thefts and shady dealings that propel the story. Smartly plotted and written with demotic verve, Too Much Lip is a novel about family, community and cultural lore, and a passionate affirmation of the unbreakable Indigenous connection to Country.