2022 Book Awards Shortlist

23 May 2022

We are thrilled to announce the Book Awards shortlists for the 2022 ABIAs.

The ABIAs demonstrate the exceptional collaborations occurring between publishers, authors, editors, illustrators, marketers and designers in bringing quality books to Australian and international markets.

The ABIA Academy, comprising more than 250 publishers, booksellers, agents, media and industry representatives, has selected the shortlists from books published over the past calendar year, across 13 categories. It’s fair to say that the quality of works has made selection tough, and every shortlisted title is a worthy contender.

The winners will be announced at the publishing industry’s red-carpet Awards night, to be held on Thursday, 9 June at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney.

Who will be the winners in each category? Don’t miss out on this special night – get your tickets now!

Get your tickets for the ABIAs awards ceremony.

Audiobook of the Year

Audiobook of the Year

  • Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray: River of Dreams, Anita Heiss; narrated by Tamala Shelton (Network Ten, Simon & Schuster Australia, Simon & Schuster Australia)
  • Emotional Female, Yumiko Kadota; narrated by Yumiko Kadota (Penguin Random House Australia Audio, Penguin Random House Australia)
  • The Performance, Claire Thomas; narrated by Edwina Wren et al. (Squaresound, Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)
  • Devotion, Hannah Kent; narrated by Emily Wheaton (Macmillan Australia Audio, Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • SPANIAN – The Unfiltered Hoodlife, Spanian, Christopher Kevin Au; narrated by Spanian, Amos Phillips (Squaresound, Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)

Biography Book of the Year

Biography Book of the Year

  • Emotional Female, Yumiko Kadota (Penguin Random House Australia, Viking)
  • The Mother Wound, Amani Haydar (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • Turns Out, I’m Fine, Judith Lucy (Simon & Schuster Australia, Scribner Australia)
  • It Wasn’t Meant to be Like This, Lisa Wilkinson (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)
  • My Adventurous Life, Dick Smith (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

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

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

  • The Prison Healer, Lynette Noni (Penguin Random House Australia, Penguin Books)
  • Anything but Fine, Tobias Madden (Penguin Random House Australia, Penguin Books)
  • The Boy from the Mish, Gary Lonesborough (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
  • The Gaps, Leanne Hall (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)
  • Welcome to Consent, Yumi Stynes, Dr Melissa Kang (Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing, Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing)

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

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

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop, Maryam Master, illustrated by Astred Hicks (Pan Macmillan Australia, Pan Australia)
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Peculiar Pairs in Nature, Sami Bayly (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)
  • The First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia’s First Peoples, Corey Tutt (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Explore)
  • Dragon Skin, Karen Foxlee (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
  • Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief, Katrina Nannestad (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)

Children’s Picture Book of the Year (ages 0–6)

Children’s Picture Book of the Year (ages 0–6)

  • Day Break, Amy McQuire and Matt Chun (Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing, Bright Light)
  • Bedtime Sorted!, Jimmy Rees, illustrated by Briony Stewart (Affirm Press, Affirm Press)
  • Winner Winner Bin Chicken Dinner, Kate and Joel Temple, illustrated by Ronojoy Gosh (Scholastic, Scholastic Press)
  • Somebody’s Land: Welcome to Our Country, Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, illustrated by David Hardy (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
  • Boss of Your Own Body, Byll and Beth Stephen, illustrated by Simon Howe (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Children’s Books)

General Fiction Book of the Year

General Fiction Book of the Year

Proudly presented by BorrowBox

  • The Younger Wife, Sally Hepworth (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • Apples Never Fall, Liane Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray, Anita Heiss (Simon & Schuster Australia, Simon & Schuster Australia)
  • Before You Knew My Name, Jacqueline Bublitz (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
  • When Things are Alive They Hum, Hannah Bent (Ultimo Press, Ultimo Press)

General Non-Fiction Book of the Year

General Non-Fiction Book of the Year

Proudly presented by the Copyright Agency

  • Toxic: The Rotting Underbelly of the Tasmanian Salmon Industry, Richard Flanagan (Penguin Random House Australia, Penguin)
  • She’s on the Money, Victoria Devine (Penguin Random House Australia, Penguin Life)
  • Heartsick: Three stories about love and loss, and what happens in between, Jessie Stephens (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • So You Think You Know What’s Good for You?, Norman Swan (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)
  • Love Stories, Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)

Illustrated Book of the Year

Illustrated Book of the Year

  • Still Life, Amber Creswell Bell (Thames & Hudson Australia, Thames & Hudson Australia)
  • Death to Jar Sauce, Nat’s What I Reckon (Penguin Random House Australia, Ebury Australia)
  • You’re Doing it Wrong: A History of Bad and Bonkers Advice to Women, Kaz Cooke (Penguin Random House Australia, Viking)
  • Everything I Love to Cook, Neil Perry (Murdoch Books, Murdoch Books)
  • Costa’s World, Costa Georgiadis (HarperCollins Publishers, ABC Books)

International Book of the Year

International Book of the Year

  • These Precious Days, Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury Publishing, Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love, Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad (Penguin Random House, Ebury Press)
  • The Storyteller, Dave Grohl (Simon & Schuster US, Simon & Schuster Australia)
  • Beautiful World, Where Are You, Sally Rooney (Faber, Faber)
  • Still Life, Sarah Winman(HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)

Literary Fiction Book of the Year

Literary Fiction Book of the Year

  • Devotion, Hannah Kent (Pan Macmillan Australia, Picador Australia)
  • Love Objects, Emily Maguire (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
  • Wild Abandon, Emily Bitto (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
  • The Truth About Her, Jacqueline Maley (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Love & Virtue, Diana Reid (Ultimo Press, Ultimo Press)

Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year

Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year

  • Wild Mushrooming: A Guide for Foragers, Alison Pouliot and Tom May (CSIRO Publishing, CSIRO Publishing)
  • The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison, Sean Kelly (Black Inc. Books, Black Inc. Books)
  • Dropbear, Evelyn Araluen (University of Queensland Press, University of Queensland Press)
  • Caught in the Act, Shane Jenek (Pantera Press, Pantera Press)
  • Black and Blue: A Memoir of Racism and Resilience, Veronica Gorrie (Scribe Publications, Scribe Publications)

Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year

Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year

Proudly presented by McPherson’s

  • The Edge of Thirteen, Nova Weetman (University of Queensland Press, University of Queensland Press)
  • Let’s Eat Weeds!, Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb, illustrated by Evie Barrow (Scribe Publications, Scribble)
  • Tomorrow is a Brand-New Day, Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Colpoys (Scribe Publications, Scribble)
  • Albert Namatjira, Vincent Namatjira (Magabala Books, Magabala Books)
  • Kunyi, Kunyi June Anne McInerney (Magabala Books, Magabala Books)

The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year

The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year

Proudly presented by Simpsons Solicitors

  • Before You Knew My Name, Jacqueline Bublitz (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
  • The Truth About Her, Jacqueline Maley (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Mother Wound, Amani Haydar (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • When Things are Alive They Hum, Hannah Bent (Ultimo Press, Ultimo Press)
  • Love & Virtue, Diana Reid (Ultimo Press, Ultimo Press)

Our warm congratulations to all the shortlisters, and grateful thanks to all our sponsors and supporters. We look forward to welcoming you all at the Awards Ceremony on 9 June 2022.

Join industry colleagues and peers as Australian publishing comes together for the BookUp Conference on the same day as the ABIAs.

At BookUp you’ll find a day full of experts from publishing and beyond, sharing thought-provoking ideas and actionable insights to address current and future industry challenges.

Book your tickets now!

Avid Reader: ABIA Bookshop of the Year

1 Jun 2021

In conversation with owner Fiona Stager, Michelle Law and Christopher Currie

by Connor Parissis

Brisbane’s iconic bookstore, Avid Reader, was awarded 2021 Bookshop of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) in April. The award is testament to not only emerging as the centre of Brisbane’s reading culture but by being the centre for the local writing and literary community. We spoke with Fiona Stager, owner of Avid Reader bookshop (and neighbouring speciality children’s and young adult store, Where the Wild Things are), about their ABIA win. 

Situated on Turrbal and Jagera land of Meanjin, Avid Reader opened its doors in 1997. The store has become a frequent host of book launches, signings and its many book clubs. Fiona feels, “we’ve been embraced by the community and we’ve embraced the community. We have really established ourselves as a place for authors.” 

In fact, Avid Reader’s support for local authors begins behind the counter, employing many aspiring and published writers. Two notable past employees, now authors, Michelle Law and Christopher Currie, described their time there, respectively, as “the most fulfilling workplace,” and a “rare workplace that you’re excited to be a part of, invested in its everyday success and genuinely connected to your community.” 

For Fiona, it’s important for the store to act as a conduit between authors and publishers. “We often are the first place that authors do their first reading… I like to think we have a cradle to grave approach where they start off as a reader and then decide to do a writing workshop and then eventually launch their book on our back deck.” 

Michelle Law, author of Single Asian Female and the upcoming Asian Girls are Going Places, worked there for five years, following in the footsteps of her two older siblings Ben and Tammy. She started in the Avid Events team, “which was an incredible resource as a writer as I was getting to meet Australian and international authors every week.” Working on the floor kept her up to date with new releases and trends – “from what genres were in vogue and what book designs had been done to death.” But it was working alongside so many incredible writers that was so hugely inspiring. “You’re able to share exciting news with each other and commiserate about the struggles you’re facing as an author.” 

Christopher Currie, author of Clancy of the Undertow and The Ottoman Motel, worked at Avid Reader for 13 years. His time there was “certainly an inspiration…” but more importantly, he says, “it was a place where having a creative interest was not something that was ever viewed as getting in the way of my work. Much of this stems from Fiona Stager and Kevin Guy, who believe so much in what a bookshop can mean to both micro and macro communities… and what it can mean for employees who are empowered to pursue their artistic interests and to treat every aspect of a ‘transactional’ experience with compassion, integrity and good humour.” 

Fiona told us, “Our staff are our greatest strength,” but Avid Reader’s commitment to community goes beyond authors, with a concerted effort during COVID-19 to coordinate with Brisbane Domestic Violence Services, running book, games and toiletry drives to assist vulnerable women and children suffering from domestic violence. “Women and children often have to flee violent situations without anything. They are then placed in hotel rooms with nothing to entertain or comfort the children. We gave 10% off anything bought from our shops.” 

Avid Reader struggled immensely, as many other retailers did, during the pandemic. The store, often at expense to themselves, transformed their events online, broadening their reach across Australia. When asked why Avid Reader was so committed to hosting online events, Fiona said, “I really felt for those debut authors. All of their tours had been immediately cancelled. I felt a commitment to them and also to our readers.” Fiona and the staff were encouraged by the positive feedback from these events which engaged literary communities across the country and put Brisbane’s literary community in the spotlight. Now the Avid team are working towards hybrid events, trying to find the right balance between engaging online audiences and serving physical attendees their wine! 

Another issue important to Fiona is the store’s commitment to First Nation voices and local issues. Having grown up in far north Queensland and working in Aboriginal land management, Kev and Fiona saw prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices as “a natural part of our business.” Alongside actively hiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, they look for First Nation authors to participate in panels, and use First Nation books for their book clubs and book of the month program. “It’s very organic. It’s something we’re always learning about. Things like going to Black Lives Matter marches is really important and we’re lucky that we can do that. That’s who we are.” 

Michelle Law commended Avid Reader for being a store that, “actually walks the talk when it comes to their politics. I learn so much from Fiona and Kev about what it means to be ambassadors for what you believe in.” 

While still riding the wave of their ABIA win, Avid Reader has even more to look forward to, now one of three bookstores in the world nominated for London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards – Bookshop of the Year. Despite being baffled by the shortlisting, Fiona muses that, “I really think it’s because we represent all those hundreds and thousands of booksellers throughout the world who don’t have grand, beautiful 100 year old premises. We’re working in the spaces we have and can afford. We’re working within our communities… I’m really proud to be a bookseller. I feel like we’re representing the everyday, hardworking, extraordinary bookseller… But I’ve got my money on the Romanian bookshop.”