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ABIA 2019 Shortlists announced

April 12, 2019

I have not posted on the ABIA (Australian Book Industry Association) Awards here before, but it has a couple of categories that interest me, so I’ve decided this year to share them with you.

The process of selection involves, as I understand it, the longlist being chosen/voted for by the ABIA Academy of over 200 industry professionals, with the shortlist and winners then being chosen by judging panels. There are several categories, but I’m reporting on just three here. If you are interested to know more, do check out the ABIA awards website.

Books may only be entered for one award – except for the Matt Richell new writing award. This means, then, that submitters must choose whether to submit, for example, their books for the General Fiction Award or the Literary Fiction Award, or, say, for the the Small Publishers’ Adult Book or the General Fiction or Literary one. This must result in some interesting discussions.

The shortlist was announced yesterday, April 11, and the winners will be announced on May 2.

Literary fiction book of the year

  • Trent Dalton’s Boy swallows universe (Fourth Estate) (my review
  • Melissa Lucashenko’s Too much lip (UQP) (my review)
  • Kristina Olsson’s Shell (Scribner) (Lisa’s review)
  • Tim Winton’s The shepherd’s hut (Hamish Hamilton) (Theresa’s review)
  • Marcus Zusak’s Bridge of clay (Picador)

Small publishers’ adult book of the year

(It’s great seeing small publishers getting their own little spot, albeit they’ve been doing pretty well, in recent years on bigger stages!)

  • Anita Heiss’s (ed) Growing up Aboriginal in Australia (Black Inc.) (my review)
  • Robert Hillman’s The bookshop of the broken hearted (Text)
  • Angela Meyer’s A superior spectre (Peter Bishop Books) (my review)
  • Sally Piper’s The geography of friendship (UQP)
  • Alison Whittaker’s Blakwork (Magabala)

The Matt Richell award for new writer of the year

(This award is named for the publisher of the Australian arm of Hachette, Matt Richell, who tragically drowned a few years ago.)

  • Trent Dalton’s Boy swallows universe (link to my review above)
  • Bri Lee’s Eggshell skull (A&U) (Kate’s review)
  • Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz (see link to Lisa’s review above)
  • Holly Ringland The lost flowers of Alice Hart (Fourth Estate) (Theresa’s review)
  • Christian White’s The nowhere child (Affirm Press)


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Any comments or predictions?

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Claire Louisa permalink
    April 12, 2019 10:06

    One of my favourites it The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

    • April 12, 2019 10:57

      Thanks Claire. I haven’t read it, but what a beautiful cover it has eh? The title is intriguing too.

      • Claire Louisa permalink
        April 12, 2019 10:59

        Yes, the covers gorgeous. It was a lovely read.

    • Neil@kallaroo permalink
      April 15, 2019 22:22

      Thanks for this encouragement. I managed to lay my hands on it yesterday, and finished reading it at 12.30am this morning. Fantastic read. Heartily recommended.

      • Claire Louisa permalink
        April 15, 2019 22:26

        I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I love books that keep me up all night, despite then feeling tired the next day.

        • April 15, 2019 22:37

          Haha, Claire, I used to love that but these days my eyes give out. Getting too old!

        • Claire Louisa permalink
          April 15, 2019 23:07

          So are mine, but it doesn’t seem to stop me lol

        • April 16, 2019 08:25

          You are made of sterner stuff!

        • Claire Louisa permalink
          April 16, 2019 09:26

          Lol, or just stupid.

        • April 16, 2019 11:54

          Haha, there are many stupid reasons for staying up late, I reckon, but reading isn’t one of them. You go for it…

      • April 15, 2019 22:32

        Wow, Neil. That’s great … I don’t know when I last read a book in one sitting, for a start.

  2. Meg permalink
    April 12, 2019 13:50

    Hi Sue, I do have award predictions, but I hate to say it I am usually wrong. Literary Fiction Book of the Year – The Shepherd’s Hut, Tim Winton; Small Publisher – Anita Heiss’s (ed) Growing up Aboriginal in Australia (Black Inc.); and The Matt Richell -Boy Swallows the Universe by Trent Dalton.

    • April 12, 2019 14:15

      Haha, good for you Meg … I put myself out there in the end for the Stella on Kate’s blog and was shot down! I’m certainly thinking that Dalton will one of the two prizes. I would like to see Lucashenko win too though. But I haven’t read the Winton, nor some of the others. I think I must read the Winton. I do like him/

  3. April 12, 2019 13:54

    I am really pleased to see A Superior Spectre on the shortlist.

  4. April 13, 2019 17:55

    Looking to read 1 book from each category.
    Now the hard part….make a choice.
    Any suggestions??

    • April 13, 2019 18:26

      Good on you Nancy. I’d certainly recommend in the first two categories the ones I’ve reviewed. If you don’t real Dalton for the first Literary Fiction category, I’d read it for the Matt Richell new writer award. It’s garnering a lot of interest from a lot of quarters, so I think it is well worth reading. That frees you up for Lucashenko or Shell, for example, for the first category!

      • April 13, 2019 19:25

        Choices made:
        Dalton: Boy swallows universe
        Meyer: A superior spectre
        White: The nowhere child
        …all blind dates!

        • April 13, 2019 21:20

          I’m impressed Nancy. I look forward to your posts. I’m intrigued by The nowhere child as none of the main bloggers I follow seem to have reviewed it, though I may have missed it.

        • April 13, 2019 21:49

          ..finishing ‘Can You Tolerate This?’ (A. Young) today and starting my ‘blind dates’ tonight! 🙂

        • April 14, 2019 09:34

          Ha ha Nancy!


  1. The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted | Necromancy Never Pays

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