Ben Jenkins replaces Magda Szubanski as 17th Annual Australian Book Industry Awards MC

Ben Jenkins replaces Magda Szubanski as 17th Annual Australian Book Industry Awards MC

Writer, comedian and presenter on ABC TV’s The Checkout, Ben Jenkins will replace Magda Szubanski as MC of the 17th Annual Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) at Art Gallery of NSW on 25 May.

Jenkins is ‘absolutely stoked’ to host the ABIAs though ‘daunted’ to be replacing Szubanski. ‘Hopefully no one will know that I’m not her!’ said Jenkins.

Szubanski said she was ‘disappointed’ that she can no longer host the evening and thanked the ABIAs for their support.

‘Last year’s awards were a personal and professional highlight for me. I know it will be a fantastic night and send my best wishes to all the nominees,’ said Szubanski who won the 2016 Gold ABIA for Book of the Year and Biography Book of the Year for Reckoning: A Memoir (Text Publishing).

The ABIAs recently announced nominees Jimmy Barnes (ABIA Biography Book of the Year shortlist: Working Class Boy) and Holly Throsby (ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year shortlist: Goodwood)will perform on the big night to acknowledge a year when musician authors rocked the bestseller lists.

Acclaimed novelist Di Morrissey is to be inducted into the ABIA Hall of Fame with the Lloyd O’Neil Award presented by literary great Tom Keneally (Lloyd O’Neil Award recipient 1995). Top literary agent Margaret Connolly who has taken Australian writers and illustrators to local bookshops and the world, will also be honoured at the ABIAs with the Pixie O’Harris Award that recognises excellence and dedicated service to Australian children’s literature.

Stan Grant will open the gala ceremony with a celebration of Australian stories in all their forms, from Indigenous communities’ storytelling traditions that have been alive for thousands of years, to great Australian books published throughout the 21st century.


The ABIAs is the flagship ceremony celebrating the best and finest talent across the Australian book industry, proudly presented by the Australian Publishers Association. The ABIAs are made possible with major sponsors Audible, The Australian Women’s Weekly, JC Decaux and Media Super withsupport from Avant Card, Booktopia, John Fisher Printing, Nielsen Bookscan and Simpsons Solicitors.


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For interviews and footage, please contact:

Emma Rusher, House of Rusher T 0423 214 626 | (07) 3356 8556 |

Melissa Wilson, House of Rusher T 0438 556 808 |