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‘Boy Swallows Universe’ wins book of the year at ABIAs

Trent Dalton’s multi-award-winning debut novel Boy Swallows Universe (Fourth Estate) has been named Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs). Dalton’s coming-of-age tale, set against the street-level drug trade in 1980s Brisbane, attracted a global publishing deal from HarperCollins last year. Holly Ringland’s The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (Fourth Estate), Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Picador) and Bri Lee’s Eggshell Skull (Allen & Unwin) were also among the winners. See the full list of winners here.

Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia by historian Billy Griffiths (Black Inc.) has won Book of the Year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the Ernest Scott Prize for history. Judges said Deep Time Dreaming was ‘a revelation, showing that the influence of archaeology on the Australian consciousness has been far greater than anyone could have guessed’. Awards were also presented to Michelle de Kretser’s The Life to Come (Allen & Unwin), Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe (Fourth Estate) and Sarah Krasnostein’s The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay and Disaster (Text), among others.

Geoff Lemon’s Steve Smith’s Men (Hardie Grant)—an on-the-ground account of the Test cricket cheating scandal by the Australian men’s team in 2018—has won the Wisden Book of the Year award and the Cricket Society and MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) Book of the Year award.

David Cohen’s The Hunter and Other Stories of Men (Transit Lounge) has won the Russell Prize for humour writing. Shortlists have also been announced for the Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal, the Ashurst Business Literature Prize and the Norma K Hemming Award for speculative fiction that explores the themes of race, gender, sexuality, class or disability.

Finally, Tom Lee (Coach Fitz, Giramondo), Robbie Arnott (Flames, Text), Jamie Marina Lau (Pink Mountain on Locust Island, Brow Books) and Ruby J Murray (The Biographer’s Lover, Black Inc.) have been named the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists—an award that recognises emerging writing talent among authors aged 35 or younger.


Category: Think Australian newsletter Award-winners