Australian Book Industry Awards: Shortlist Announced!

by |May 2, 2016

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The Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) shortlist was announced today! 44 books/authors have been acknowledged as being the best books/finest talent in the Australian book industry.

If any of these books have passed you by, you still have time to be your own judge, with the winners to be announced on Thursday 19 May.

The gala ceremony will be held at the Art Gallery of NSW. Richard Flanagan, Jonathan Franzen, Gloria Steinem, Jeanette Winterson and Kitty Flanagan will all be presenting.


General Fiction Book of the Year


The Lake House by Kate Morton

An abandoned house… After a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police and retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall. There she finds herself at a loose end, until one day she stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace.

A missing child… June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. For Eleanor, the annual party has always been one of her treasured traditions, but her middle daughter, Alice, sixteen years old and with literary ambitions, is especially excited. Not only has Alice worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she’s also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn’t. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night sky, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great they leave Loeanneth… Read More

As well as:
Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham
The Perfumer’s Secret by Fiona McIntosh
The Patterson Girls by Rachael Johns

Literary Fiction Book of the Year


The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of a desert. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a ‘nurse’.

The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world?

Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl’s past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue – but when the food… Read More

As well as:
The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau

General Non-Fiction Book of the Year

one-lifeOne Life: My Mother’s Story by Kate Grenville

Nance was a week short of her sixth birthday when she and Frank were roused out of bed in the dark and lifted into the buggy, squashed in with bedding, the cooking pots rattling around in the back, and her mother shouting back towards the house: Goodbye, Rothsay, I hope I never see you again!

When Kate Grenville’s mother died she left behind many fragments of memoir. These were the starting point for One Life, the story of a woman whose life spanned a century of tumult and change. In many ways Nance’s story echoes that of many mothers and grandmothers, for whom the spectacular shifts of the twentieth century offered a path to new freedoms and choices. In other ways Nance was exceptional. In an era when women were expected to have no ambitions beyond the domestic, she ran successful businesses as a registered pharmacist, laid the bricks for the family home, and discovered her husband’s secret life as a revolutionary … Read More


As well as:
Island Home by Tim Winton
Australia’s Second Chance by George Megalogenis
The Dismissal by Paul Kelly & Troy Bramston

Biography of the Year

xreckoning.jpg.pagespeed.ic.qW7tk5YgyCReckoning: A Memoir by Magda Szubanski

Heartbreaking, joyous, traumatic, intimate and revelatory, Reckoning is the book where Magda Szubanski, one of Australia’s most beloved performers, tells her story.

In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father’s espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on.

Honest, poignant, utterly captivating, Reckoning announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers… Read More



As well as:
A Mother’s Story by Rosie Batty
Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover
The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland

Older children (8 to 14 years)

xilluminae.jpg.pagespeed.ic.v-RFS3PyNaIlluminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Kady and Ezra thought their break-up was messy until they witnessed their entire world literally falling apart. Now they’re piecing together what’s left of their lives, and their romance, and trying to survive an intergalactic war. An innovatively designed story that’s best described as Battlestar Galactica meets10 Things I Hate About You.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, exes Kady and Ezra – who are barely even talking to each other – are forced to fight their way onto the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But the warship is the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results. The fleet’s AI, which should be protecting… Read More

As well as:
Cloudwish by Fiona Wood
The Cat with the Coloured Tail by Gillian Mears
Under Suspicion: Friday Barnes Book 2 by R A Spratt

Younger Children (0 to 8 years)

xthe-65-storey-treehouse.jpg.pagespeed.ic.bJhLZII2aHThe 65-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton

Andy and Terry’s amazing 65-Storey Treehouse now has a pet-grooming salon, a birthday room where it’s always your birthday (even when it’s not), a room full of exploding eyeballs, a lollipop shop, a quicksand pit, an ant farm, a time machine and Tree-NN: a 24-hour-a-day TV news centre keeping you up to date with all the latest treehouse news, current events and gossip. Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!

As well as:
Perfect by Danny Parker & Freya Blackwood
This is a Ball by Beck & Matt Stanton
The Amazing True Story Of How Babies Are Made by Fiona Katauskas

Illustrated Book of the Year

i-quit-sugar-simpliciousI Quit Sugar: Simplicious by Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson taught the world how to quit sugar in eight weeks, then how to quit sugar for life, incorporating mindful, sustainable practices across real, whole wellness.

Now she strips things back to the essentials, simply and deliciously. She shows us how to shop, cook and eat like we used to in the days before sugar-laced processed food hit our shelves. Sarah gives us the ‘simplicious flow’, a modern manifesto that sets out how to buy in bulk, freeze and preserve, and use leftovers with flair.

All 306 recipes – from guilt-free sweet treats to one-pot wonders and abundance bowls brimming with nutrients – expand our knowledge of age-old kitchen processes and tend to our visceral need to be creative with food… Read More

As well as:
Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden by Janet Hawley
The Happy Cookbook by Lola Berry
Cornersmith by Alex Elliott-Howery & James Grant

International Book of the Year

the-story-of-the-lost-childThe Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

2015 Booktopia Books of the Year – A fitting conclusion to The Neapolitan Quartet, perhaps the finest literary series of the last 50 years. A brilliant, insightful, evocative novel from the elusive Elena Ferrante.

The Story of the Lost Child is the long-awaited fourth volume in the Neapolitan Novels (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay).

The quartet traces the friendship between Elena and Lila, from their childhood in a poor neighbourhood in Naples, to their thirties, when both women are mothers but each has chosen a different path. Their lives are still inextricably linked, for better or worse, especially when it comes to the drama of a lost child …Read More


As swell as:
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ by Giulia Enders
Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams

Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year

xrush-oh-.jpg.pagespeed.ic.hdiZDTJEzIRush Oh! by Shirley Barrett

When the eldest daughter of a whaling family in Eden, New South Wales, sets out to chronicle the particularly difficult season of 1908, the story she tells is poignant and hilarious, filled with drama and misadventure.

Swinging from her own hopes and disappointments, both domestic and romantic, to the challenges that beset their tiny whaling operation, Mary’s tale is entirely relatable despite the hundred-odd years that separate her world from ours.

Chronicling her family’s struggle to survive the season and her own attempts to navigate an all-consuming crush on an itinerant whaleman with a murky past, Rush Oh! is also a celebration of an extraordinary episode in Australian history when a family of whalers formed a fond, unique allegiance with a pod of Killer whales – and in particular, a Killer whale named Tom… Read More

As well as:
Reckoning: A Memoir by Magda Szubanski
The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland
Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year

xthe-underwater-fancy-dress-parade.jpg.pagespeed.ic.vrTWyyogV2The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade by Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Colpoys

The day before the underwater fancy-dress parade, Alfie got that feeling.

Sometimes it’s hard to be brave. Sometimes you get that feeling. Sometimes you’re just not ready . . . until, one day, you are.

From a dynamic new picture-book partnership comes the story of Alfie and a big octopus wearing a tiny hat and the things you can only whisper to the cowboys on your wallpaper… Read More

As well as:
Numerical Street by Antonia Presenti & Hilary Bell
Kookoo Kookaburra by Gregg Dreise, Magabala
My Pop is a Pirate by Damon Young, illustrated by Peter Carnavas

Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year

xbody-lengths.jpg.pagespeed.ic.C9oOghL9LBBody Lengths by Leisel Jones

Leisel Jones is rightly regarded as one of the greatest breaststrokers ever. At just fifteen, she won two silver medals at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000; she went on to win gold at Athens and Beijing, and at London 2012 became the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympics.

For the first time, Leisel candidly describes what it’s like to be thrust into the limelight so young. She reveals the constant pressure she was under – from coaches, from the media and from herself – to be perfect. Despite the highs of her swimming stardom, she suffered depression, and at one time planned to take her own life.

In London, criticised in the media for her weight, and appalled by the bulling and dysfunction in the Australian swim team, Leisel nevertheless handled herself with great composure. She has emerged with maturity and good humour, having finally learnt how to be herself and live with confidence… Read More

As well as:
All Fall Down by Matthew Condon
The Art of Free Travel by Patrick Jones & Meg Ullman
Give the Devil His Due by Sulari Gentill


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About the Contributor

Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the former editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.


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