Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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ABIA 2020 shortlists announced

The shortlists for the 2020 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) have been announced.

The titles in each category are:

General fiction book of the year

  • Bruny (Heather Rose, A&U)
  • Cilka’s Journey (Heather Morris, Echo)
  • Good Girl, Bad Girl (Michael Robotham, Hachette)
  • Silver (Chris Hammer, A&U)
  • The Scholar (Dervla McTiernan, HarperCollins)

Literary fiction book of the year

  • Damascus (Christos Tsiolkas, A&U)
  • The Weekend (Charlotte Wood, A&U)
  • The Yield (Tara June Winch, Hamish Hamilton)
  • There Was Still Love (Favel Parrett, Hachette)
  • Wolfe Island (Lucy Treloar, Picador)

General nonfiction book of the year

  • Against All Odds (Craig Challen & Richard Harris, Viking)
  • Banking Bad (Adele Ferguson, ABC Books)
  • Fake (Stephanie Wood, Vintage)
  • Kitty Flanagan’s 488 Rules for Life (Kitty Flanagan, A&U)
  • See What You Made Me Do: Power, control and domestic abuse (Jess Hill, Black Inc.)

Biography book of the year

  • Born-Again Blakfella (Jack Charles, Viking)
  • Tell Me Why (Archie Roach, S&S)
  • The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory (Corey White, Hamish Hamilton)
  • When All is Said & Done (Neale Daniher with Warwick Green, Macmillan)
  • Your Own Kind of Girl (Clare Bowditch, A&U)

Book of the year for older children (ages 13+)

  • Detention (Tristan Bancks, Puffin)
  • It Sounded Better in My Head (Nina Kenwood, Text)
  • The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling (Wai Chim, A&U)
  • Welcome to Country Youth Edition (Marcia Langton, Hardie Grant Travel)
  • Welcome to Your Period (Yumi Stynes & Melissa Kang, Hardie Grant Egmont)

Book of the year for younger children (ages 7–12)

  • Funny Bones (ed by Kate Temple, Jol Temple & Oliver Phommavanh, A&U)
  • Real Pigeons Nest Hard (Andrew McDonald, illus by Ben Wood, Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • The 117-Storey Treehouse (Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton, Pan)
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals (Sami Bayly, Lothian)
  • Young Dark Emu (Bruce Pascoe, Magabala)

Children’s picture book of the year (ages 0–6)

  • All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors (Davina Bell, illus by Jenny Løvlie, Little Hare)
  • Bluey: The Beach (Ludo Studio, BBC Studios & PRH Australia, Puffin)
  • Mr Chicken All Over Australia (Leigh Hobbs, A&U)
  • The Tiny Star (Mem Fox, illus by Freya Blackwood, Puffin)
  • Wilam: A Birrarung Story (Andrew Kelly & Aunty Joy Murphy, illus by Lisa Kennedy, Black Dog Books)

Illustrated book of the year

  • Australia Modern: Architecture, landscape & design 1925–1975 (Hannah Lewi & Philip Goad, Thames & Hudson)
  • Ben Quilty (Ben Quilty, Lantern)
  • The Lost Boys: The untold stories of the under-age soldiers who fought in the First World War (Paul Byrnes, Affirm)
  • The Whole Fish Cookbook (Josh Niland, Hardie Grant Books)
  • Three Birds Renovations (Erin Cayless, Bonnie Hindmarsh & Lana Taylor, Murdoch Books)

International book of the year

  • Fleishman is in Trouble (Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Wildfire)
  • The Dutch House (Ann Patchett, Bloomsbury)
  • The Testaments (Margaret Atwood, Chatto & Windus)
  • Three Women (Lisa Taddeo, Bloomsbury Circus)
  • Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens, Corsair)

Small publishers’ adult book of the year

  • Feeding the Birds at Your Table: A guide for Australia (Darryl Jones, NewSouth)
  • Kindred (Kirli Saunders, Magabala)
  • Paris Savages (Katherine Johnson, Ventura)
  • Sand Talk (Tyson Yunkaporta, Text)
  • The White Girl (Tony Birch, UQP)

Small publishers’ children’s book of the year

  • Little Bird’s Day (Sally Morgan, illus by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr, Magabala)
  • Love Your Body (Jessica Sanders, illus by Carol Rossetti, Five Mile)
  • Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street (Felicita Sala, Scribble)
  • Sick Bay (Nova Weetman, UQP)
  • You Can Change the World: The kids’ guide to a better planet (Lucy Bell, Pantera)

The Matt Richell award for new writer of the year

  • Being Black ‘N Chicken, and Chips (Matt Okine, Hachette)
  • Call Me Evie (J P Pomare, Hachette)
  • It Sounded Better in My Head (Nina Kenwood, Text)
  • Sand Talk (Tyson Yunkaporta, Text)
  • Your Own Kind of Girl (Clare Bowditch, A&U)

Audiobook of the Year

  • Fake (Stephanie Wood, PRH Australia, PRH Australia Audio, narrated by Claudia Karvan)
  • No Friend But the Mountains (Behrouz Boochani, Pan Macmillan, Macmillan Australia Audio, narrated by Omid Tofighian, Isobelle Carmody, Janet Galbraith, Mathilda Imlah, Geoffrey Robertson, Richard Flanagan, Sarah Dale, Thomas Keneally, Yumi Stynes)
  • The Resilience Project (Hugh Van Cuylenburg, PRH Australia, PRH Australia Audio, narrated by Hugh Van Cuylenburg)
  • The Yield (Tara June Winch, PRH Australia, PRH Australia Audio, narrated by Tony Briggs)
  • Your Own Kind of Girl (Clare Bowditch, Audible Australia, Audible Studios, narrated by Clare Bowditch)

Publisher of the Year

  • Allen & Unwin
  • Hachette Australia
  • Penguin Random House Australia

Small Publisher of the Year

  • Magabala Books
  • NewSouth Publishing
  • University of Queensland Press

Book Retailer of the Year

  • Booktopia
  • Dymocks
  • Harry Hartog Bookseller
  • QBD Books
  • Readings

Bookshop of the Year

  • Books Kinokuniya (Sydney)
  • Fullers Bookshop (Hobart)
  • Mary Martin Bookshop (Port Melbourne)
  • Readings Carlton (Melbourne)
  • Riverbend Books (Brisbane).

Chosen from longlists announced in March, the shortlists were voted on by the ABIA Voting Academy, which comprises more than 250 industry representatives as well as additional specialist experts.

Helen Garner and Erica Wagner will be inducted into the ABIA Hall of Fame, with Garner announced as the recipient of the Lloyd O’Neil Award for outstanding contribution to the industry and Wagner the recipient of the Pixie O’Harris Award for consistent contribution to children’s literature.

Hazel Lam, senior book designer at HarperCollins, is the recipient of the 2020 Rising Star Award, presented to an emerging talent in Australian publishing who has spent less than 10 years in the industry.

Following the cancellation of the ABIA awards night, which was scheduled to take place at the Sydney International Convention Centre on 29 April, the winners will be announced at a virtual event hosted by Casey Bennetto that will stream live on YouTube on Wednesday, 13 May at 4pm. To watch the awards ceremony online, subscribe to the ABIAs’ YouTube channel.


Category: Awards Local news