Think Australian newsletter
Image. Advertisement:
Inside the Australian book industry

What’s selling down under

A guide to household finance has topped the bestsellers chart in Australia for the second year running, with nearly one million Australians now owning a copy of financial commentator and writer Scott Pape’s The Barefoot Investor (Wiley). Pape’s follow-up book The Barefoot Investor for Families (HarperCollins) also came in fifth place.

Local authors continue to sell strongly in Australia, with half of the top 10 in 2018 taken up by Australian titles. These include Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s junior fiction book The 104-Storey Treehouse (Pan), Liane Moriarty’s adult fiction Nine Perfect Strangers (Macmillan) and Heather Morris’ historical novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Echo Publishing). The Tattooist, also a bestseller in the UK and US, will soon be joined by a sequel.

The winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards made international headlines last month. Behrouz Boochani, author of the prize-winning No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Picador), is being detained on a small island in the Pacific as part of the Australian government’s offshore detention policy for asylum seekers. He wrote the book via WhatsApp messages sent to his translator.

If you’re heading to the London Book Fair next month, you can find a number of independent Australian publishers at their stands, including Text Publishing, NewSouth Publishing, Melbourne University Press, Exisle Publishing and Lake Press, while many more Australian publishers and literary agents will be roaming the halls.

Andrea Hanke
Think Australian

Image. Advertisement:

Tumarkin’s prize-winning ‘Axiomatic’ sold to US

Brow Books has sold North American and Spanish-language rights to Maria Tumarkin’s prize-winning nonfiction book Axiomatic—a ‘boundary-shifting fusion of thinking, storytelling, reportage and meditation’—to Transit Books and Editorial Minúscula, respectively. Transit Books publisher Adam Levy said of Axiomatic: ‘This kind of hybrid nonfiction is a form that we at Transit Books love so much—but it’s true that it has become widespread and increasingly formulaic in its rule-breaking. What’s so exciting to us about Tumarkin’s project is that it feels like it blows open the hybrid form all over again.’

Transit Lounge has sold world English-language rights (ex ANZ) to Lois Murphy’s literary thriller Soon to UK publisher Titan Books in a two-book deal. Titan’s Sam Matthews said he was excited by the prospect of building Murphy’s name in the UK and the US. ‘Titan is known for excellent literary horror and Soon will sit well alongside others on our list,’ he said.

Echo Publishing has sold North American rights to Meg Keneally’s forthcoming historical novel Fled—based on the life of ‘legendary’ convict Mary Bryant—to Arcade Publishing. Echo acquired world rights to Keneally’s first solo novel (the author has co-written several books with her father Tom Keneally) in a two-book deal.

NewSouth has sold North American rights to Australian academic Eleanor Gordon-Smith’s forthcoming nonfiction debut Stop Being Reasonable to PublicAffairs, after previously selling UK rights to the book to Scribe. Stop Being Reasonable looks at how people change their minds and the strategies they employ to change the minds of others, and stems from Gordon-Smith’s appearance on US podcast This American Life.


HarperCollins has acquired world rights to Catherine McKinnon’s historical novel The Great Time, which follows a number of characters in the lead-up to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan in World War II, and is prompted by McKinnon’s own family history.

Scribe has acquired world rights to a memoir about ‘faith, feminist spirituality, and a search for meaning’ by writer and critic Louise Omer. Holy Woman explores Omer’s past as a Pentecostal preacher, her loss of faith after the dissolution of her marriage, and her questioning of what it means to be female in a religion that worships a male god.

For the latest Australian rights sales and acquisitions news, click here.


Brow Books’ newest rights opportunities

Brow Books’ newest titles include Mandy Ord’s nonfiction graphic memoir When One Person Dies The Whole World Is Over, visual artist Mary Leunig’s first book in 25 years One Good Turn, and the marriage equality postal survey anthology Going Postal: More than ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

In recent right sales successes, Brow Books sold Shaun Prescott’s 2017 debut novel The Town to UK publishing house Faber & Faber, which then led to sales into the US (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Germany (Aufbau Verlag), France (Buchet/Chastel), Spain (Literatura Random House), Japan (Hayakawa), Netherlands (Koppernik), as well as sales of various multimedia, audio and large print rights.

Brow Books also sold Intan Paramaditha’s Apple and Knife to the UK (Harvill Secker), and recently sold Spanish-language (Editorial Minúscula) and US rights (Transit Books) to Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic.

View Brow Books’ latest rights catalogue here.


Asylum seeker wins major literary award

Writer, journalist and Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani, currently detained on Manus Island as part of the Australian government’s offshore detention policy for asylum seekers, has won the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature for his nonfiction book No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Picador) at this year’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. The judging panel called it a ‘stunning work of art and critical theory which evades simple description’. Other winners include: Elise Valmorbida’s The Madonna of the Mountains (Faber) for fiction, Kate Lilley’s Tilt (Vagabond Press) for poetry and Kim Scott’s Taboo (Picador) for Indigenous writing.

The winners have been announced for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. The winning titles include: Gerald Murnane’s Border Districts (Giramondo) for fiction, Richard McGregor’s Asia’s Reckoning: The Struggle for Global Dominance (Penguin) for nonfiction and Brian Castro’s Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria (Giramondo) for poetry.

The shortlists have been announced for the Indie Book Awards, selected by Australian independent booksellers, and the longlist has also been announced for the Stella Prize for Australian women’s writing.

Other recent award winners include:


‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ and ‘The Barefoot Investor’ top Australian charts

Beach reads and healthy eating titles are ubiquitous on the Australian bestsellers charts in the aftermath of Christmas, and this is reflected in January’s bestsellers. Liane Moriarty’s latest novel Nine Perfect Strangers continues to top the fiction bestsellers chart, joined by a mix of historical fiction (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Pearl Thief), literary fiction (Boy Swallows Universe) and lots of crime-fiction and thrillers (The Lost Man, Call Me Evie, Bye Bye Baby, Gone by Midnight)—because who says beach reads have to be one particular thing?

In the nonfiction bestsellers chart, Scott Pape’s guides to household finance The Barefoot Investor and The Barefoot Investor for Families are joined by The CSIRO Healthy Gut DietThe Nude Nutritionist, and two new books on the ketogenic diet (Easy Keto and The Keto Diet Cookbook).

Australian fiction bestsellers: January

  1. Nine Perfect Strangers (Liane Moriarty, Macmillan)
  2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris, Echo Publishing)
  3. The Lost Man (Jane Harper, Macmillan)
  4. Bridge of Clay (Markus Zusak, Picador)
  5. Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton, HarperCollins)
  6. Call Me Evie (J P Pomare, Hachette)
  7. The Pearl Thief (Fiona McIntosh, Michael Joseph)
  8. Bye Bye Baby (Fiona McIntosh, Michael Joseph)
  9. Gone by Midnight (Candice Fox, Bantam)
  10. The Dry (Jane Harper, Pan)

Australian nonfiction bestsellers: January

  1. The Barefoot Investor (Scott Pape, John Wiley)
  2. The Barefoot Investor for Families (Scott Pape, HarperCollins)
  3. Any Ordinary Day (Leigh Sales, Hamish Hamilton)
  4. The CSIRO Healthy Gut Diet (Pennie Taylor, Michael Conlon & Tony Bird, Macmillan)
  5. Easy Keto (Pete Evans, Plum)
  6. Dark Emu (Bruce Pascoe, Magabala Books)
  7. The Land Before Avocado (Richard Glover, ABC Books)
  8. The Keto Diet Cookbook (Scott Gooding, Hachette)
  9. Mutiny on the Bounty (Peter FitzSimons, Hachette)
  10. The Nude Nutritionist (Lyndi Cohen, Murdoch)

© Nielsen BookScan 2019
Period covered: 6 January to 7 February 2019
Data supplied by Nielsen BookScan’s book sales monitoring system from 1000 retailers nationwide




Contact us


News editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, newsletters
Matthia Dempsey

Digital producer
Andrew Wrathall

Classifieds, jobs and notices

Display advertising

Select newsletters

Select which newsletters you’d like to receive here.
Unsubscribe from individual newsletters here.
Or unsubscribe from all newsletters here.

View articles

Purchase a subscription to Books+Publishing to view all articles on the website.

If you need help with your subscription, please email the subscriptions team.

Follow us