Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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‘Bluey: The Beach’ wins 2020 ABIA Book of the Year

The winners of the 2020 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) have been announced.

Allen & Unwin (A&U) won publisher of the year, and titles published by the company took out four additional awards, while Magabala Books was named small publisher of the year. In retailing, Books Kinokuniya was awarded bookshop of the year and Readings was named book retailer of the year.

A&U CEO Robert Gorman said, ‘Allen & Unwin had a stellar publishing year in 2019. We published almost 300 new Australian titles and sold close to three million books by Australian writers … We want to thank the incredible booksellers of Australia, for the support they give us and the supreme job they do each and every day. I also want to pay tribute to the tremendous creativity, passion and skill of our authors and our staff. They are the heart of our company, and this award belongs to all of them.’

Bluey: The Beach, based on the popular animated TV show, became the first children’s picture book to win ABIA book of the year, and also took home children’s picture book of the year. The book has sold over 200,000 copies since its release in November 2019, and sales across the series, which now includes seven books, will soon reach one million copies.

Holly Toohey, Penguin Random House Australia head of brands partnerships and audio, said, ‘We knew the Bluey books needed to find ways to translate the sound, movement, humour and heart of the show into a static format—to deliver a reading experience that wasn’t a carbon copy of the episodes. We selected The Beach as it gave us the ability to dive deeper into Bluey’s journey of self-discovery.

‘And of course, The Beach was the perfect title to launch with as we headed into the Australian summer. It’s been an honour to be part of the Bluey phenomenon and see the books find their place, alongside the show, in the homes and hearts of so many children—and parents!’

The full list of 2020 ABIA award-winners is as follows:

Book of the year

  • Bluey: The Beach (Ludo Studio, BBC Studios and PRH Australia, Puffin)

General fiction book of the year

  • Bruny (Heather Rose, A&U)

Literary fiction book of the year

  • The Weekend (Charlotte Wood, A&U)

General nonfiction book of the year

  • Kitty Flanagan’s 488 Rules for Life (Kitty Flanagan, A&U)

Biography of the year

  • When All is Said & Done (Neale Daniher, Macmillan)

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

  • Welcome To Your Period (Yumi Stynes & Dr Melissa Kang, Hardie Grant Egmont)

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

  • The 117-Storey Treehouse (Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton, Pan)

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

  • Bluey: The Beach (Ludo Studio, BBC Studios and PRH Australia, Puffin)

Illustrated book of the year

  • The Whole Fish Cookbook (Josh Niland, Hardie Grant)

Matt Richell Award for new writer of the year

  • Your Own Kind of Girl (Clare Bowditch, A&U)

Small publishers’ adult book of the year

  • Sand Talk (Tyson Yunkaporta, Text)

Small publishers’ children’s book of the year

  • Love Your Body (Jessica Saunders, illus by Carol Rossetti, Five Mile)

International Book of the Year

  • The Testaments (Margaret Atwood, Chatto & Windus)

Audiobook of the year

  • No Friend But the Mountains (Behrouz Boochani, Macmillan Australia Audio, narrated by Benjamin Law, Omid Tofighian, Isobelle Carmody, Janet Galbraith, Mathilda Imlah, Geoffrey Robertson, Richard Flanagan, Sarah Dale, Thomas Keneally and Yumi Stynes).

As previously reported, Helen Garner was the recipient of the Lloyd O’Neil Award for service to the Australian book industry, and children’s book publisher Erica Wagner received the Pixie O’Harris Award for service to Australian children’s literature. HarperCollins senior book designer Hazel Lam won this year’s ABIA rising star award, presented to an emerging talent in Australian publishing who has spent fewer 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 were announced at a virtual event hosted by Casey Bennetto that streamed live on YouTube on Wednesday, 13 May.


Category: Awards Local news