Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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2012 ABIA winners announced

The winners of this year’s Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) were announced on Friday 18 May at a special event in Sydney.

Hosted by the ABC’s Paul Barclay, this year’s awards were presented as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. The ABIAs celebrate the best Australian book, authors, booksellers and publishers from the past year and were chosen by an academy of booksellers and publishers. Guest of honour at this year’s awards was leader of the Federal Opposition Tony Abbott.

Anna Funder’s All That I Am (Penguin) continued its recent award-winning streak, taking out the ABIA for Book of the Year, as well as the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year. Funder’s book, her first fiction title, recently won the Indie Book of the Year Award and the Indie Award for Best Debut Fiction. All That I Am has also been shortlisted for this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Barbara Jefferis Award.

Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett (Hachette), which is also shortlisted for this year’s Miles Franklin Award, won the ABIA for Newcomer of the Year. Parrett accepted the award at the ceremony, saying it was extra special because it was her birthday.

The ABIA for General Fiction Book of the Year was awarded to Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville (Text) and the award for General Nonfiction Book of the Year was presented to Worse Things Happen At Sea by William McInnes and the late Sarah Watt (Hachette). Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by the late Hazel Rowley (MUP) was named Biography of the Year.

The ABIA for Book of the Year for Younger Children was presented to Rudie Nudie by Emma Quay (HarperCollins) and The 13 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Pan Macmillan) won the award for Book of the Year for Older Children.

Tasting India by Christine Mansfield (Penguin) was the ABIA for Illustrated Book of the Year, while Penguin picked up the award for International Bestseller of the Year for Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver.

The Pixie O’Harris Award, which recognises distinguished and dedicated service to the development of Australian children’s books, was awarded to Ron McCarthy from Australian Standing Orders, and the Lloyd O’Neil Award, presented for outstanding service to the Australian book industry, was presented to Western Australian bookseller Ann Poublon from Dymocks Garden City.

Publishers and booksellers honoured

Allen & Unwin was awarded Publisher of the Year, the eleventh time the publisher has received the honour, while Text Publishing received the award for Small Publisher of the Year. Accepting the award from former publisher and author Hilary McPhee, Text publisher Michael Heyward dedicated the award to Text co-founder, the late Diana Gribble, who had been remembered earlier in the evening alongside other members of the industry who died in the past 12 months. Heyward thanked booksellers and Text authors, and said that he believes there is no better time than now for publishing Australian books.

Shearer’s Bookshop in Sydney was named Independent Bookseller of the Year, picking up the award for a second year in a row. Chain / Franchise Bookseller of the Year went to Hill of Content in Balmain, and Specialist Bookseller of the Year went to last year’s winner Boffins Bookshop in Perth. The ABIA for Regional Bookseller of the Year, presented for this first time this year, went to Fullers Bookshop in Launceston, Tasmania.

Also presented for this first time this year was the Book Industry Digital Innovation Award, sponsored by Publishing Technology. The award, which recognises ‘a digital initiative’ created by an Australian business or individuals and which has ‘provided a meaningful contribution to raising the awareness of books both within and outside of the industry’, was presented to ReadHowYouWant.

Other award winners on the night include:

  • Distributor of the Year: United Book Distributors
  • Publisher Marketing Campaign of the Year: Random House for Vintage Classics
  • Bookseller Marketing Campaign of the Year: Avid Reader for National Bookshop Day
  • International Success of the Year: Penguin for Midnight in Peking by Paul French.


To see a complete list of the finalists for this year’s awards, click here.



Category: Local news