‘Smart Ovens for Lonely People’ wins 2020 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction
The winner of the 2020 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction is Smart Ovens for Lonely People by Elizabeth Tan (Brio).
Readings Carlton manager Joe Rubbo, who judged the award alongside Readings booksellers Kara Nicholson, Kara McQueen and Andras Kerekes, and 2019 winner Alice Robinson, said Tan’s was ‘a truly exciting work’.
‘Tan’s stories push the form, and offer a quixotic but penetrating look into our contemporary life. Her collection stood out to the judges for its originality, its clear and concise writing, and its humour—Smart Ovens for Lonely People is laugh-out-loud funny,’ said Rubbo.
Tan said: ‘In a year in which our beloved rituals for encountering and celebrating new books have necessarily transformed, the vigorous efforts of independent booksellers like Readings to continue elevating Australian writers and connecting books with the readers who will love them deserve our applause. It was an honour all on its own to be recognised in this year’s shortlist for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction alongside such fiercely talented authors, and I find myself quite startled and grateful to be named the winner.’
Tan’s novel was chosen from a shortlist of six announced in August, which Rubbo described as ‘a great window into contemporary Australian writing and life’. ‘Each year we offer all six books in a specially priced pack and in 2020 have sold a record number of these packs,’ he said.
The award, now in its seventh year, recognises ‘exciting and exceptional new contributions to local literature’ and is open to first or second published works of fiction by Australian authors. The winner usually receives $3000. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic Readings is unable to offer prize money for any of its three awards in 2020.
Read more about the prize on the Readings website.