(Image: Artem Cherednik/Getty)

The Queensland Literary Awards have decided not to award the David Unaipon Prize this year, in a decision that highlights the tricky politics around literary prizes and the difficulties of making a living as a writer.

The prize, which is normally awarded each year, goes to the best unpublished manuscript by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writer. Previous winners have included literary stars like Samuel Wagan Watson, Tara June Winch and Ellen van Neerven. The Queensland Literary Awards, now managed by the State Library of Queensland, say it wasn't awarded this year because the judges' panel didn’t think any of the entries were good enough.

“While each manuscript showed commendable writing effort and storytelling skill, the judges did not feel that any manuscript amongst this year’s entries were yet of publication standard,” the QLA announced. “The judges came to the decision to not compile a shortlist or select a winner.”