Jimmy Barnes and Holly Throsby performed. Stan Grant delivered a blistering opening address. The Checkout’s Ben Jenkins acted as Master of Ceremonies. Where would you find such an esteemed bunch? The 17th Annual Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs), of course.
Winners of the 2017 ABIAs were announced in a star-studded ceremony at the Art Gallery of NSW last night, awards that celebrate the very best in Australia’s book industry.
Di Morrissey, bestselling Australian author of twenty-four novels and numerous children’s books, was inducted into the ABIA Hall of Fame with the Lloyd O’Neil Award by former neighbour and long-time friend Tom Keneally.
In a heartfelt speech outlining Di’s thirty years in the book industry and philanthropic work – she built a school outside Mandalay in Myanmar – Tom voiced what all in the industry believe, “Your success has made it possible for your publishers to undertake more Australian titles than they otherwise could. You have become an essential element in the ecology of publishing. The readers, booksellers and publishers love you, and this award confirms that.”
Literary agent Margaret Connolly was also inducted into the Hall of Fame, honoured with the Pixie O’Harris Award that recognises excellence and dedicated service to Australian children’s literature.
The Award Winners
The Gold ABIA for Book of the Year and Fiction Book of the Year went to Jane Harper for her internationally acclaimed novel, The Dry, a haunting crime novel set in a drought-stricken rural Australia. This crowns a golden year for Jane after The Dry film option rights were snapped up by Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard, and publication rights sold in more than 20 territories after fierce auctions.
Not only performing on the night and giving an emotional first reading of his new memoir, Working Class Man, Australian rock icon, Jimmy Barnes, took home Biography of the Year for his memoir Working Class Boy.
While visiting Booktopia recently, Jimmy mentioned that writing this memoir was cathartic for him: “It was really great to get it out. I see a lot of this stuff as wounds that I’ve had since I was a child, and writing the book’s brought them out in the open, put some air on them so they’ll start to heal.” Watch the full interview here.
Zana Fraillon took home Book of the Year for Older Readers for The Bone Sparrow, a poignant and topical look that explores the refugee crisis and conditions in detention centres. It’s been likened to John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.
Internationally bestselling The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and illustrator Terry Denton took out the inaugural Audiobook of the Year and Book of the Year for Younger Children. Watch Andy and Terry chat about this award-winning book here.
The Literary Fiction Book of the Year was presented to Dominic Smith for The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, and the General Non-fiction Book of the year was taken home by Niki Savva for The Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government.
The International Book of the Year was awarded to Ann Patchett for Commonwealth.
The Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year was presented to Tim Heard’s The Australian Native Bee Book, while the Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year was presented to Damon Young’s My Sister is a Superhero.
Publisher of the Year was awarded to Pan Macmillan Australian, Small Publisher of the Year to NewSouth Publishing, Independent Retailer of the Year to Readings and Potts Points Bookshop, and National Retailer… Booktopia!
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.