Australian Book Industry Award Winners 2024

9 May 2024

The much-anticipated 2024 Australian Book Industry Awards were presented on Thursday 9 May at a star-studded event in Melbourne. Featuring some of the biggest names in the Australian book industry, this year’s shortlists and winners were a showcase of established luminaries and emerging talents.

The 22 winners were selected by an experienced cohort of highly-respected publishers, booksellers, agents and media and industry representatives, with winning titles presenting a significant contribution to their respective genre or category.

The prestigious and highly coveted 2024 ABIA Book of the Year Award was awarded to The Voice to Parliament Handbook by Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien.
Thomas Mayo, co-author of The Voice to Parliament Handbook, with his three ABIA trophies
Crafted during a pivotal moment in Australia’s political and cultural landscape, The Voice to Parliament Handbook is an extraordinary achievement, developed under intense time constraints imposed by the Referendum, and bolstered by strong support from retailers.

Indigenous leader Thomas Mayo and acclaimed journalist Kerry O’Brien co-authored the Handbook, produced by Hardie Grant Publishing, which also won the ABIA Social Impact and General Non-Fiction Book of the Year awards. Despite the Voice referendum’s shortfall in support for change, this accessible guide stands as a poignant reminder of a significant moment in Australian history.

This year’s Australian Book Industry Awards underscore the crucial role publishers, authors and booksellers play in combating misinformation, delivering fact-checked, trusted, and high-quality content. Another notable winner is Welcome to Sex by Melissa Kang and Yumi Stynes, with illustrations by Jenny Latham. The industry rallied behind this guide when faced with attempts by a minority to censor its content and ban it from shelves – a victory that validates the demand for trustworthy content.

Several established and award-winning authors came to the fore this year:

  • The Teacher’s Pet by Hedley Thomas won Audiobook of the Year for its production of the  global podcast phenomenon that would eventually bring down a killer.
  • Biography Book of the Year was awarded to Miles Franklin Award-winning author Anna Funder for Wifedom: Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life, that uncovers the story of George Orwell’s forgotten wife.
  • Literary Fiction Book of the Year was awarded to internationally best-selling author Trent Dalton for Lola in the Mirror, which explores the darkest corners of Australian life.
  • Maxine Beneba Clarke, one of Australia’s most innovative and celebrated poets, was awarded Book of the Year for Younger Children for her latest collection of poetry, It’s The Sound of the Thing.
  • The award-winning team of Jane Godwin and Anna Walker were awarded Children’s Picture Book of the Year for A Life Song – a musically inspired story of growing up and finding your place in the world.

Driven by contemporary themes, 2024 saw a mix of emerging and new talent awarded:

  • Welcome to Sex written by Melissa Kang and Yumi Stynes, illustrated by Jenny Latham was awarded Book of the Year for Older Children for its ‘there’s no silly question’ guide to sexuality and pleasure.
  • Amber Creswell’s Australians Abstract was awarded Illustrated Book of the Year building on her artistic review credentials with her survey of more than 40 Australian abstract artists.
  • International Book of the Year was awarded to Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros, a book that achieved viral success on TikTok’s reader community BookTok, propelling it to number one on The New York Times bestseller list.
  • Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year was awarded to Artichoke to Zucchini: an alphabet of delicious things from around the world by Alice Oehr, which introduces young readers to fruit, vegetables, and dishes from around the globe.
  • The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year was awarded to Green Dot by Madeleine Gray for her relatable tale of a messy love story that captures the allure of chasing something that promises nothing.

Indigenous authors and publishing were once again featured in this year’s awards:

  • Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko was awarded Small Publisher’s Adult Book of the Year for her epic novel set in Brisbane, telling two extraordinary First Nations stories, set five generations apart.
  • The Voice to Parliament Handbook by Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien was also awarded both General Non-Fiction Book of the Year and Social Impact Book of the Year.
  • Magabala Books, Australia’s leading Indigenous publisher based in the remote Kimberley town of Broome, Western Australia was awarded Small Publisher of the Year for its work in nurturing the talent and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices.

Recipients of the industry business awards were:

  • Penguin Random House Australia for Publisher of the Year;
  • Fullers Bookshop in Hobart for Bookshop of the Year;
  • Magabala Books, for Small Publisher of the Year.
  • Catherine Milne was awarded Commissioning Editor/Publisher of the Year
  • The Affirm Press campaign for The Bookbinder of Jericho won Marketing Strategy of the Year

Michael Gordon-Smith, CEO, Australian Publishers Association, said:

“In a year when the rights and freedoms of many of our fellow humans around the world have been misrepresented and vilified, the need for accessible, clear and trusted information has never been more pronounced. The winners of this year’s awards stand as a poignant reminder of how books and reading significantly enrich our society.”

Browse the full list of winners below, with comments from judges:

Audiobook of the Year

The Teacher’s Pet by Hedley Thomas; narrated by Hedley Thomas and Full Cast (Macmillan Australia Audio, Pan Macmillan Australia)

“Judges chose The Teacher’s Pet as Audiobook of the Year for its knock-out production and quality voice acting, with Hedley Thomas narrating alongside a cast of almost 70 performers.

Pan Macmillan displayed a thoughtful and clear strategy towards differentiating this extensive audiobook from the podcast.”

 

Biography Book of the Year

Wifedom: Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life by Anna Funder (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House Australia)

“Anna Funder’s Wifedom showcases a distinct authorial vision, executed flawlessly. Judges were impressed by Penguin Random House Australia’s strategic support, which effectively brought this historical literary story to a wide audience.”

 

Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+)

Welcome to Sex by Melissa Kang and Yumi Stynes, illustrated by Jenny Latham (HGCP Non-Fiction, Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing)

“The exceptional editorial work of the author-publisher team was highly praised by judges, positioning Welcome to Sex as an important and enduring educational resource for young Australians.

Hardie Grant’s impressive response to market demands for the book mobilised community support, amidst a global campaign about book banning.”

 

Book of the Year for Younger Children (ages 7-12)

It’s the Sound of the Thing by Maxine Beneba Clarke (HGCP Older Readers, Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing)

“It’s the Sound of the Thing was approached with great consideration, producing an attractive package for a diverse range of readers.

Judges commended the design elements that reflect the content, allowing this beautiful work to shine and attract new readers to poetry.”

 

Children’s Picture Book of the Year

A Life Song by Jane Godwin, illustrated by Anna Walker (Puffin, Penguin Random House Australia)

“In the eyes of the judges, A Life Song emerged as a standout picture book for the year, possessing all the essential elements – captivating cover, stunning illustrations, evocative language and rich content.

Jane Godwin and Anna Walker once again prove themselves as a dynamic creative duo, showcasing their talents throughout this stunning title.”

 

General Fiction Book of the Year

The Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams (Affirm Press)

“Judges praised the The Bookbinder of Jericho as an impressive feat of publishing, particularly for a follow up fiction title.

The author-publisher partnership injected energy and creativity to the campaign, resulting in a significant sales result across all channels, with the book well-received by readers.”

General Non-fiction Book of the Year

The Voice to Parliament Handbook by Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien (Hardie Grant Explore, Hardie Grant Publishing)

“Hardie Grant have displayed exceptional publishing with The Voice to Parliament Handbook.

The authors’ authentic, considered and authoritative work has been supported by a flawless campaign and strong production.

Considered alongside the tight timeline and market demand for this material, it is the standout winner of the General Non-fiction Book of the Year category.”

 

Illustrated Book of the Year

Australian Abstract by Amber Creswell Bell (Thames & Hudson Australia, Thames & Hudson)

“In a crowded and competitive market, Australian Abstract is a remarkable piece of illustrated publishing.

The exceptional work of the author, coupled with the talents of Thames & Hudson’s design and editorial team, mean this work is destined to grace the shelves for many years to come.”

International Book of the Year

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros (Piatkus, Hachette Australia)

“The judges were impressed not only by the whole-of-company approach taken by Hachette Australia, but by the energy and creativity of the publisher in harnessing the emerging romantasy trend on BookTok.”

 

Literary Fiction Book of the Year

Lola in the Mirror by Trent Dalton (4th Estate, HarperCollins Publishers)

“From structural editing and writing through to bespoke retailer promotions, the judges recognised that Lola in the Mirror was a meticulously planned publishing ‘moment’.

Both Trent Dalton and HarperCollins infused this campaign with energy that invigorated the market, while bringing to the fore an important social discussion about the prevalence of domestic violence in Australia.”

 

Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year

Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko (UQP, University of Queensland Press)

The judges noted that Edenglassie excelled across all aspects of publishing: from content and cover design to sales, marketing and publicity.

UQP demonstrated exceptional skill in garnering broad interest for this literary title, leveraging Melissa Lucashenko’s significant influence on Australian literary culture.

 

Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year

Artichoke to Zucchini: an alphabet of delicious things from around the world by Alice Oehr (Scribble, Scribe Publications)

“With eye-catching editorial throughout, Artichoke to Zucchini offers an exciting, fun and educational experience for young and old readers alike.

Judges agreed that the high-quality production provided by Scribble resulted in a strong offering for retailers, including bespoke window decals and original prints, with a strategic and well-crafted giveaway promotion.

The combined package resulted in impressive sales, rivalling Alice Oehr’s stunning winning title from last year.”

 

Social Impact Book of the Year

The Voice to Parliament Handbook by Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien (Hardie Grant Explore, Hardie Grant Publishing)

“The Voice to Parliament Handbook is not just an expert piece of commercial publishing – it has also played an essential role in our social and cultural life. 

In combating the wealth of misinformation surrounding the national Referendum, the Voice to Parliament Handbook provided Australians with a trusted and timely source of information.”

Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year

Green Dot by Madeleine Gray (Allen & Unwin)

“Despite stiff competition, the judges agreed that Madeline Gray entered the industry as the standout debut novelist for 2023.

Both in Australia and internationally, Gray has captivated audiences with Green Dot. Allen & Unwin demonstrated expert authorial support, from acquisition right through to the touring program.”

 

Bookshop of the Year

Fullers Bookshop, Hobart

“Fullers Bookshop is a wonderful independent bookstore with a first class events program.

With thoughtful engagement tailored to the local community, and accessible for many different groups of people, their creative initiatives and investment in literacy have had a significant impact on their local community, and beyond.”

Commissioning Editor/Publisher of the Year

Catherine Milne – Publisher, HarperCollins Publishers

“The judges were undoubtedly impressed by Catherine Milne’s success in 2023. Her track record consistently showcases her respectful collaboration with authors, and her adeptness in shaping their careers and bodies of work for the better.”

 

Marketing Strategy of the Year

The Bookbinder of Jericho campaign by Affirm Press

Affirm Press created a strong suite of engaging campaign initiatives to propel The Bookbinder of Jericho to success. 

With good use of a traditional tour and linear media, and a campaign that cannily drew on book-binding video content, their innovative strategy drove impressive grass roots sales.”

 

Small Publisher of the Year

Magabala Books

“The contributions that Magabala Books has made to the industry at large can be felt at every level of publishing. This is an incredible feat for any publisher – and it’s all the more impressive for a company that operates outside the main metropolitan publishing centres.

Magabala has produced an exceptionally diverse list of titles in the last year, while maintaining their best-practice support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander emerging creators, and early-career staff.”

 

Publisher of the Year

Penguin Random House Australia

“With an impressive emphasis on environmental sustainability, backed by a genuine commitment to measuring improvement, Penguin Random House Australia have demonstrated a determination to make a difference in the Australian publishing industry, and the broader community. 

This focus, coupled with the strength of their publishing across each division, make them a worthy winner in a competitive race for 2024 Publisher of the Year.”

Book of the Year

The Voice to Parliament Handbook by Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien (Hardie Grant Explore, Hardie Grant Publishing)

“The Voice to Parliament Handbook is an outstanding and timely work. 

The clear winner across two ABIA categories, the writing and publishing team have done an outstanding job of presenting an important, authoritative work to the Australian public, under tight time constraints.

The Voice to Parliament Handbook was the stand out publishing effort of the year, and a worthy winner of the 2024 Book of the Year Award.”

Thank you to all of our ABIA partners

Our grateful thanks to all our ABIA 2024 partners and sponsors. Their contributions and dedicated support of the industry are a valued part of this event.