Q&A with Helen Garner

Q&A with Helen Garner, author of This House of Grief, shortlisted for the 2015 ABIA General Non-Fiction Book of the Year


How did the idea to write your book originate?


I saw something terrible on the TV news and had a strong urge to find out more about it


What’s your favourite thing about being a published author?


Having readers; and finding the struggle was worth it.


What are some of the things you love about Australian bookstores?


The way booksellers use their imaginations when they talk to customers about what might interest them.


What’s the most recent Australian book that you read and loved?


Kate Grenville’s book about her mother, One Life.


If you could meet any Australian author, dead or alive, who would you like to meet?


I’d like to meet John Bryson again (author of Evil Angels, a wonderful non-fiction book about Lindy Chamberlain and the outrageous way she was treated after her baby daughter was taken by a dingo at Uluru): I’d like to thank him for some very useful advice about writing non-fiction that he gave me in 1993.


What Australian book had the biggest impact on you as a child?


Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs; I still find it brilliant today.


After readers have finished reading your book, which Australian book would you recommend they read next?


Joan London’s novel The Golden Age; it’s beautiful and fresh, full of real feeling that is never sentimental.

This House of Grief


2015 ABIA Shortlists Announced!

The 2015 ABIA Award Shortlists have been announced.  See all the books shortlisted across the eleven categories including three new awards this year:

Matt Richell Award for New Writer

Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year

Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year


2015 ABIA Book Shortlist

General Fiction Book of the Year:


Laurinda by Alice Pung, Black Inc.

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis, Hachette Australia.

Life or Death by Michael Robotham, Hachette Australia.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Macmillan.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion, Text Publishing Company.


Literary Fiction Book of the Year:


Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke, Hachette Australia.

When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett, Hachette Australia.

The Golden Age by Joan London, Penguin Random House.

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett, Penguin Random House.

Amnesia by Peter Carey, Penguin Random House.


General Non-fiction Book of the Year:


The Bush by Don Watson, Penguin Random House.

The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb, Penguin Random House.

Where Song Began: Australia’s Birds and How They Changed the World by Tim Low, Penguin Random House.

Gallipoli by Peter Fitzsimons, Penguin Random House.

This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial by Helen Garner, Text Publishing Company.


Biography Book of the Year:


Never, Um, Ever Ending Story by Melly Meldrum, Allen & Unwin.

Love Your Sister by Connie Johnson and Samuel Johnson, Hachette Australia.

Optimism: Reflections on a Life of Action by Bob Brown, Hardie Grant Publishing.

A Bone of Fact by David Walsh, Macmillan.

My Story by Julia Gillard, Penguin Random House.


Older Children (age range 8 to 14 years):


Clariel by Garth Nix, Allen & Unwin.

Withering-By-Sea by Judith Rossell, HarperCollins.

Alice-Miranda in Japan by Jacqueline Harvey, Penguin Random House.

Brotherband 5: Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan, Penguin Random House.

Friday Barnes 1: Girl Detective by R. A. Spratt, Penguin Random House.

Loyal Creatures by Morris Gleitzman, Penguin Random House.


Younger Children (age range 0 to 8 years):


Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach by Alison Lester, Allen & Unwin.

Mr Chicken Lands on London by Leigh Hobbs, Allen & Unwin.

The 52-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, Macmillan.

Clementine Rose and the Seaside Escape by Jacqueline Harvey, Penguin Random House.

The Last King of Angkor Wat by Graeme Base, Penguin Random House.


Illustrated Book of the Year:


What a Croc! by Nt News, Hachette Australia.

New Feast by Greg And Lucy Malouf, Hardie Grant Publishing.

Community by Hetty Mckinnon, Macmillan.

Australian Art: A History by Sasha Grishin, Melbourne University Publishing.

Anzac Treasures by Peter Pedersen, Murdoch Books.


International Book of the Year:


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, Allen & Unwin.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, HarperCollins.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, HarperCollins.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Macmillan.

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, Penguin Random House.


Matt Richell Award for New Writer:


The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon, Allen & Unwin.

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis, Hachette Australia.

Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke, Hachette Australia.

Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey, Penguin Random House.

Here Come the Dogs by Omar Musa, Penguin Random House.


Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year:


The Voice: My Story by Ray Warren, With Andrew Webster, Black Inc.

Australian Notebooks by Betty Churcher, Melbourne University Publishing.

Diary of a Foreign Minister by Bob Carr, NewSouth Books and Publishing.

A Murder Unmentioned by Sulari Gentill, Pantera Press.

How I Rescued My Brain by David Roland, Scribe Publications.


Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year:

Captain Thunderbolt by Jane Smith, Big Sky Publishing.
A Secret Safe to Tell by Naomi Hunter, JoJo Publishing.
Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly, National Library of Australia.
I Could Wear that Hat! by Ben Sanders, Thames and Hudson.

Sticks & Stones, Animal Homes by Tai Snaith, Thames and Hudson