ABIA BOOK OF THE YEAR
GENERAL NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
Over the last decade, we have become better at knowing what brings us contentment, well-being and joy. We know, for example, that there are a few core truths to the science of happiness. We know that being kind and altruistic makes us happy, that turning off devices, talking to people, forging relationships, living with meaning and delving into the concerns of others offer our best chance of achieving happiness. But how do we retain happiness? It often slips out of our hands as quickly as we find it. So, when we are exposed to, or learn, good things, how do we continue to burn with them?
LITERARY FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
A LONELY GIRL IS A DANGEROUS THING
Jena Lin plays the violin. She was once a child prodigy and now uses sex to fill the void left by fame. She's struggling a little. Her professional life comprises rehearsals, concerts, auditions and relentless practice; her personal life is spent managing the demands of her strict family and creative friends, and hooking up. And then she meets Mark - much older and worldly-wise - who consumes her. But at what cost to her dreams?
SMALL PUBLISHERS' ADULT BOOK OF THE YEAR
THE ANIMALS IN THAT COUNTRY
Laura Jean McKay
Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, and allergic to bullshit, Jean is not your usual grandma. She’s never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park. And although Jean talks to all her charges, she has a particular soft spot for a young dingo called Sue.
Setting off on their trail, with Sue riding shotgun, they find themselves in a stark, strange world in which the animal apocalypse has only further isolated people from other species. Bold, exhilarating, and wholly original, The Animals in That Country asks what would happen, for better or worse, if we finally understood what animals were saying.
SMALL PUBLISHERS' CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR
Meet 11-year-old Bindi. She’s not really into maths but LOVES art class and playing hockey. Her absolute FAVOURITE thing is adventuring outside with friends or her horse, Nell.
A new year starts like normal—school, family, hockey, dancing. But this year hasn’t gone to plan! There’s a big art assignment, a drought, a broken wrist AND the biggest bushfires her town has ever seen!
MATT RICHELL AWARD FOR NEW WRITER OF THE YEAR
THE COCONUT CHILDREN
Life in a troubled neighbourhood demands too much too young. But Sonny wouldn’t really know. Watching the world from her bedroom window, she exists only in second-hand romance novels and falls for any fast-food employee who happens to spare her a glance.
Everything changes with the return of Vince, a boy who became a legend after he was hauled away in handcuffs at fourteen. Sonny and Vince used to be childhood friends. But with all that happened in-between, childhood seems so long ago. It will take two years of juvie, an inebriated grandmother and a porn stash for them to meet again.
ILLUSTRATED BOOK OF THE YEAR
IN PRAISE OF VEG
In this comprehensive and fully illustrated kitchen companion, food writer and presenter Alice Zaslavsky profiles 50 favourite vegetable varieties, offering 150+ recipes reflective of both tradition and modernity, just as all good cooking should be. Uniquely organised by colour and filled with countless tips on flavour combinations, rule-of-thumb buying/storing/cooking methods, shortcuts, and veg wisdom from over 50 of the world's top chefs, In Praise of Veg will help beginners and avid cooks alike turn a bag of yawns or a produce-box surprise into a knock-out meal.
INTERNATIONAL BOOK OF THE YEAR
SUCH A FUN AGE
When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for 'kidnapping' the white child she's actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix's desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.
GENERAL FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
THE DICTIONARY OF LOST WORDS
Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the ‘Scriptorium’, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard.
One day a slip of paper containing the word ‘bondmaid’ flutters to the floor. Esme rescues the slip and stashes it in an old wooden case that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.
BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR OLDER CHILDREN
THE LEFT-HANDED BOOKSELLERS OF LONDON
Eighteen-year-old art student Susan Arkshaw arrives in London in search of her father. But before she can question crime boss Frank Thringley he's turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin. Merlin is one of the youngest members of a secret society of booksellers with magical powers who police the mythic Old World wherever it impinges on the New World - in addition to running several bookshops, of course!
Merlin also has a quest of his own: to find the Old World entity who arranged the murder of his mother. Their investigations attract attention from enemies of the Old and New Worlds. Soon they become involved in an even more urgent task to recover the grail that is the source of the left-handed booksellers' power, before it is used to destroy the booksellers and rouse the hordes of the mythic past. As the search for the grail becomes strangely intertwined with both their quests, they start to wonder… Is Susan's long-lost father a bookseller, or something altogether more mysterious?
BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN
THE GRANDEST BOOKSHOP IN THE WORLD
FPearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop. In 1893, Cole's Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father.
CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOK OF THE YEAR
OUR HOME, OUR HEARTBEAT
Adapted from Briggs’ celebrated song 'The Children Came Back', Our Home, Our Heartbeat is a celebration of past and present Indigenous legends, as well as emerging generations, and at its heart honours the oldest continuous culture on earth.
Life hasn't been much fun for Milly Dynes lately. There seem to be problems everywhere she looks. She's always loved her home in Tidgy Bay, but at the moment she wishes she was somewhere - anywhere - else. Then Eliza Vanda turns up-and magic comes with her...
BIOGRAPHY BOOK OF THE YEAR
THE HAPPIEST MAN ON EARTH
Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed in November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp. Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on a Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country.
Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the 'happiest man on earth'.
You can watch back the announcements now, including Cate Blanchett presenting the prestigious Book of the Year Award. Other award presenters include Turia Pitt, Matthew McConaughey, Trent Dalton, Charlotte Wood, Michael Robotham, Malcolm Turnbull and many more as well as a special musical performance from Ash Grundwald.
You can pick up your copies of the ABIA winners in store and online now.