BOOK NEWS: see the winners of The Nibbies, the black&write! fellowship, and more!

by |May 15, 2019

Good afternoon everyone – it’s another Booktopian book news round-up. It is a bit of a quiet one today but there’s still plenty of interesting news buzzing around to tickle your fancy.

In an ideal world, this post would be published first thing Wednesday morning; alas, I am not Danielle Steel.

I am here, I am caffeinated: let’s do this.

Book News - May 15

2019 Winners announced for The Nibbies

The British Book Awards (also known as ‘The Nibbies’, because British people are weird) were held earlier this week.

The Nibbies is an annual event organised by The Bookseller that honours and celebrates the commercial successes of publishers, authors and bookshops (kind of like the British answer to the ABIAs).

The big winner this year was Sally Rooney, whose exquisite novel Normal People took home the coveted Book of the Year prize (are you sick of hearing about Normal People yet? TOO BAD, IT’S BRILLIANT!).

Other winners included Michelle Obama, whose wonderful memoir Becoming won Book of the Year – Non-Fiction: Narrative AND Book of the Year – Audiobook. Leila Slimani’s book Lullaby was awarded the prize for Book of the Year – Fiction Debut, and David Walliams took home the prize for Book of the Year – Children’s Fiction for The Ice Monster.

You can check out a full list of the winners here.

Book News - May 15
The winners of the 2019 Nibbies.

There will be no Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award winner this year

In a statement from the prize’s benefactor Allen & Unwin, publisher Annette Barlow said that there were no suitable entries that matched the high standard set by previous winners.

“This is an award that has literally launched the careers of over 100 authors. But this year, in 2019, there is no winner and – although we’re disappointed, of course – I feel the judges’ decision speaks to their respect for the award and their desire to maintain the excellent standards of previous winning manuscripts,” she said.


This is only the third time in the prize’s history that the judges have decided not to award the $20,000 prize, which is given to the writer of an excellent unpublished manuscript under the age of 35 along with a publishing contract with Allen & Unwin.

Better luck next year everyone!

(In the meantime, you can read a guest post from past winner Rohan Wilson.)

Book News - May 15
Past Vogel winners (clockwise from left): Tim Winton, Rohan Wilson, Kate Grenville, Minnie Darke, Marija Pericic, and Emily O’Grady.

black&write! Writing Fellowship winners for 2019 announced

The 2019 black&write! Fellowships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers were awarded this year to Tania Crampton-Larking and Lisa Fuller.

Tania Crampton-Larking won for her children’s novel manuscript Brightest Wild, a book inspired by her rediscovery of the natural world of Port Lincoln after years of living in Adelaide. Wuilli Wuilli woman Lisa Fuller also won for Welshpool, which is a book that grew out of her desire for her nieces to keep their connection to country and culture.

These fellowships are worth $10,000 and include manuscript development sessions with the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! editorial team, as well as a publication opportunity with Hachette. It’s an awesome initiative aiming to “train, mentor and promote outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and editors, and encourage a love of reading, writing and ideas in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Congratulations Tania and Lisa! You can find more information here.

Book News - May 15

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies… the successes of Sydney Writer’s Festival

It seems that the theme for this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival (‘Lie to Me’) was a massive hit amongst festival-goers.

Sydney’s annual literary showcase recorded a whopping $1.2 million in ticket sales, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. With over 52,000 tickets sold, this is the third highest number of attendees in the history of the event. Not bad for a time when we’re supposedly reading less and scrolling more.

I guess it helps when you have amazing international authors like Max Porter, Meg Wolitzer, Sarah Perry, and Fatima Bhutto in attendance, as well as a strong list of local authors like Maxine Beneba Clarke, Leigh Sales, Jane Harper, Stan Grant, and Aaron Blabey. All I can say is bring on SWF 2020!

We were lucky enough to be able to do some amazing interviews with a couple of the SWF attendees here at Booktopia – check them out:

Book News - May 15
The opening address at Sydney Writers’ Festival

Other interesting tidbits…

  • The Reserve Bank reports that $2.3 billion worth of $50 notes have been printed with a spelling error. It pays to have a good copyeditor who will take “responsibilty” for that kind of thing (sorry).
  • John le Carré has revealed the cover for his new novel, Agent Running in the Field – check it out here!
  • Never fear – UK’s Poet Laureate position has been filled! After Imtiaz Dharker turned down the position, Simon Armitage stepped up to assume the role. The “no-brow” poet will be Poet Laureate for the next ten years and says he hopes to “act in an ambassadorial way, as a kind of negotiator between what inevitably is something of a specialist art form, and the people who want to read it and respond on occasions with poetry.”
  • Taylor Swift is apparently a Sally Rooney fan. The ME! singer-songwriter listed Conversations With Friends as a book she has recently read and loved in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Ah Taylor, I knew I loved you for a reason.

That’s all there is for this week – catch you next time!

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About the Contributor

Olivia Fricot is the Editor of the Booktopian Blog. After finishing a soul-crushing law degree, Olivia decided that life was much better with one's nose in a book and quickly defected to the world of Austen and Woolf. You can usually find her reading (obviously), baking, writing questionable tweets, and completing a Master's degree in English literature. Just don't ask about her thesis. Olivia is on Twitter and Instagram @livfricot - follow at your own risk.

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