ACT Book of the Year Award 2022 shortlist announced

For some reason – perhaps because I don’t write about every award every year – I’ve only written once before about the ACT Book of the Year Award. It is an award presented by the ACT Government. Unlike most of the state government awards, the award is limited to ACT Writers, and, like the Stella, it is not limited to genre or form. The award was first made in 1993 – shared by poet AD Hope and novelist Marion Halligan – so this is its 30th year.

The shortlist for the 2022 award – for books published in 2021 – was announced on the weekend by Tara Cheyne*, the Minister for the Arts. The seven finalists were selected from the 43 eligible nominations.

The shortlist

  • Dylan van den Berg, Milk (play, also won the 2021 Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting, in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards)
  • Merlinda Bobis, The kindness of birds (short story collection; on my TBR; Lisa’s review)
  • Tim Bonyhady, Two afternoons in the Kabul Stadium: A history of Afghanistan through clothes, carpets and the camera (social history, also shortlisted for the 2022 Mark & Evette Moran NIB Literary Award)
  • Omar Musa, Killernova (poetry and woodcuts; on my TBR, my book launch post)
  • Lucy Neave, Believe in me (novel; my review)
  • Hugh Poate, Failures of command: The death of Private Robert Poate (war history)
  • Kaya Wilson, As beautiful as any other: A memoir of my body (memoir)

The winner will apparently be announced in the coming weeks, but no actual date has been given, and I can’t find any information about the judging panel. 

In addition to these awards, the ACT also has annual awards presented by the ACT Writers Centre (now called Marion).

* Tara Cheyne first became known to me as the delightful blogger behind In the Taratory, but she stopped blogging – unfortunately but understandably – when she decided in 2016 to stand for the ACT Legislative Assembly. I love that she is our Minister for the Arts.

14 thoughts on “ACT Book of the Year Award 2022 shortlist announced

  1. Oh Sue, it’s just too hard to keep up with posting about all the awards, even those which are close to your heart. By the time there’s the longlist, and then the shortlist, and then the winner, well, that’s three posts, and do our readers really want three posts about it?
    From my PoV as a reader, I reckon the longlists are the most useful, for drawing attention to books we might want to seek out. (There are exceptions, the Dublin longlist is too long to be useful so I sometimes skip it if I don’t have time to ferret out which ones are Australian or New Zealand.) What I am doing more and more often is making a longlist post, and then I update it when the shortlist comes out and then again when the winner is announced. It saves a lot of time and as long as I tag the updates readers can always find them from a search.

    • Yes good idea, Lisa. If I do the long list I will just copy the post and delete those not shortlisted. But you are right that for readers the lists are the useful things.

        • Thanks Lisa … I was aware you did something tricky but hadn’t analysed exactly what! This is certainly simpler.

          BTW, I hadn’t seen this as I was on the road on 30 and 31 March and haven’t caught up … or maybe this method not result in its being republished? I have reviewed Cloud Cuckoo Land, if you are interested.

        • No, that’s the whole point, most of the time I don’t republish it because I don’t want to swamp readers with what amounts to the same post about the same thing, especially if the nominees are books most of us have never heard of. The authors and publishers care a lot about who’s on the shortlist, but they’re not relying on me to find out. And everyone has already found out from the same place as me i.e. BookTwitter.

  2. I used to do many of the longlists and shortlists, but ran out of steam for doing this a number of years ago. I tend to only do a longlist now if the list particular caught my eye for some reason (like the recent longlist for the International Booker).

    Is your furniture in yet?

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