Eleanor Jackson wins the Small Press Network Book of the Year for 2022

Picked from a shortlist packed with incredible stories, the Small Press Network has announced its Book of the Year. The SPN Book of the Year Award recognises the literary greatness of books published by small publishers in Australia each year.

The winner this year was Gravidity and Parity by Eleanor Jackson, a poignant and intricate collection of poetry that guides the reader into the journey of motherhood. The judges said of the collection:

“This was a strong year for poetry, with the works submitted demonstrating incredible breadth and diversity of voices and topics, though many collections touched thematically on the pandemic and experience of living in lockdown. Eleanor Jackson’s Gravidity and Parity stood out because of the way it spoke to miscarriage, birthing and motherhood, topics which are felt by so many, but so woefully underrepresented in text. Why is it that we see the domestic sphere and the creative one as so incompatible? Gravidity and Parity brings the two together, using poetry to shine a light into the isolation of pregnancy and birth.”

Jackson takes home a $1000 cash prize while her publisher, Vagabond Press, also take home a $1000 printing credit.

Check out the rest of the shortlist and what the judges thought of them below:

Sexy Tales of Paleontology by Patrick Lenton

“A laugh-out-loud delight. This anthology is full of surprises: stories that demonstrate a wicked sense of humour and a keen eye towards contemporary celebrity culture, and the performances that play out in our daily lives. Patrick Lenton uses the short story to experiment with the absurd realities of modernity.”





Theory of Colours by Bella Li

“An impressive production, speaking to what Foucault called the necessity of conjuncture, two intensities coming together, a book that is constructed as much as it is written. Bella Li brings the visual and the verbal into contact to challenge the boundaries of poetry and visual design.”




Permafrost by SJ Norman

“A collection of stories that delve into uncomfortable spaces that lie beneath familiar experiences of travel, love, and loss. SJ Norman’s work presents an exciting, unsettling, and engaging new voice that explores the human diasporic experience, bringing a queer and unique take on the gothic romantic tradition.”




Hometown Haunts edited by Poppy Nwosu

“Showcases some of the best voices Australian YA fiction has to offer in this sometimes strange, sometimes terrifying collection of short horror. This anthology acts as a reminder of how it feels to explore the unknown: unknown genre, unknown worlds, unknown lives. Editor Poppy Nwosu has compiled an anthology that celebrates and reflects the grassroots beginnings of Australian YA—raw, playful, and packing a hell of a punch.”




Friends and Dark Shapes by Kavita Bedford

“A coming-of-age story where the age is 30; Bedford captures the almost unendurably protracted end of things, the end of a life, the end of a relationship, the end of a sharehouse, the end of a way of being in, and with, the world.”





No Document by Anwen Crawford

“A grief-stricken book that tries to locate presence within the material layers of loss, finding hope in art, kinship, and collective action. Anwen Crawford balances the emotional charge of the book with thoughtful experiments in how to use the field of the page to express and contain the way grief can be both intimate and political, a catalyst for resistance.”

Jess Gately

Jess Gately is a freelance editor and writer with a particular love for speculative fiction and graphic novels.