Shortlist announced ahead of the 2019 ABIA Awards Night in May

With just under a month to go until the ABIA Awards Night on May 2nd in Sydney, the folks at the Australian Publishers Association have whittled down the longlisted titles to what is an admittedly still healthy six titles per category.

The ABIA Awards celebrate the very best of Australia’s literary scene, heralding the achievements of authors, publishers, editors, illustrators, designers, publicists and marketers alike. It is Australia’s bookish equivalent of the Oscars, and this year will feature a performance from musician, national treasure, and best-selling author Paul Kelly.

The 2019 shortlist contains some of the biggest names in Australian publishing, and features both established high profile authors alongside up-and-coming new talent. As it stands it is a shortlist somewhat low on surprises, with Bri LeeTrent Dalton, Kristina Olsson and Holly Ringland all getting nods for their critically acclaimed and bestselling work.

From the below shortlist, an expert panel will whittle the titles down even further picking a single winner from each category as well as an overall ‘Book of the Year’.

Biography Book of the Year

  • Back, After the Break – Osher Günsberg (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Challenge Accepted! – Celeste Barber (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)
  • Johnathan Thurston: The Autobiography – Johnathan Thurston w/ James Phelps (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Teacher – Gabbie Stroud (Allen & Unwin)

General Fiction Book of the Year

  • Scrublands – Chris Hammer (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – Holly Ringland (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Nowhere Child – Christian White (Affirm Press)
  • The Rúin – Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris (Echo Publishing)

General Non-Fiction Book of the Year

  • Any Ordinary Day – Leigh Sales (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • Boys Will Be Boys – Clementine Ford (Allen & Unwin)
  • Dear Santa – Samuel Johnson (Hachette Australia)
  • No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison – Behrouz Boochani, Omid Tofighian (trans.) (Pan Mac)
  • Welcome to Country: A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia – Marcia Langton (Hardie Grant Publishing)

Illustrated Book of the Year

  • A Painted Landscape: Across Australia from Bush to Coast – Amber Creswell Bell (Thames & Hudson Australia)
  • Family: New vegetable classics to comfort and nourish – Hetty McKinnon (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Mirka & Georges – Lesley Harding & Kendrah Morgan (Melbourne University Publishing)
  • Special Guest – Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe (Murdoch Books)
  • The Cook’s Apprentice – Stephanie Alexander (Penguin Random House Australia)

International Book of the Year

  • Becoming – Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • CIRCE – Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Less – Andrew Sean Greer (Hachette Australia)
  • Lost Connections – Johann Hari (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Ottolenghi SIMPLE – Yotam Ottolenghi (Penguin Random House Australia)

Literary Fiction Book of the Year

  • Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Bridge of Clay – Markus Zusak (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Shell – Kristina Olsson (Simon & Schuster Australia)
  • The Shepherd’s Hut – Tim Winton (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • Too Much Lip – Melissa Lucashenko (The University of Queensland Press)

Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year

  • A Superior Spectre – Angela Meyer (Ventura Press)
  • Blakwork – Alison Whittaker (Magabala Books)
  • Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia – Dr Anita Heiss (ed.) (Black Inc Books)
  • The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted – Robert Hillman (Text Publishing)
  • The Geography of Friendship – Sally Piper (The University of Queensland Press)

Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year

  • Black Cockatoo – Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler (Magabala Books)
  • I Had Such Friends – Meg Gatland-Veness (Pantera Press)
  • Rhyme Cordial – Antonia Pesenti (Scribble Kids’ Books)
  • The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls – Adam Cece (Ill. by Andrew Weldon) (Text Publishing)
  • Whisper – Lynette Noni (Pantera Press)

The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year

  • Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Nowhere Child – Christian White (Affirm Press)
  • Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – Holly Ringland (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris (Echo Publishing)

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

  • Amelia Westlake – Erin Gough (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • Catching Teller Crow – Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina (Allen & Unwin)
  • Hive – A.J. Betts (Pan Macmillan)
  • Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds – Jeremy Lachlan (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • Small Spaces – Sarah Epstein (Walker Books)

Book of the Year for Younger Children (ages 7-13)

  • Lenny’s Book of Everything – Karen Foxlee (Allen & Unwin)
  • Real Pigeons Fight Crime – Andrew McDonald & Ben Wood (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • The 104-Storey Treehouse – Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • The Bad Guys Episode 7: Do-You-Think-He-Saurus?! – Aaron Blabey (Scholastic Australia)
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow – Jessica Townsend (Hachette Australia)

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

  • All the Ways to be Smart – Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Scribble Kids’ Books)
  • Cicada – Shaun Tan (Hachette Australia)
  • Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris – Megan Hess (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • Macca the Alpaca – Matt Cosgrove (Scholastic Australia)
  • Pig the Grub – Aaron Blabey (Scholastic Australia)

The ABIA Awards Night takes place on May 2nd at the Grand Ballroom of Sydney’s International Convention Centre. Tickets are on sale now. For more information on the awards and the shortlist click HERE

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Simon Clark

Simon Clark is the Books Editor at the AU review. A reader of books and admirer of songs, Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his, and his alone. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram at @simonjclark