2020 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) shortlist announced


The shortlist for the 2020 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) has been unveiled today. The awards are a key fixture in the Australian literary scene, and are designed to celebrate the very best in homegrown literature and publishing.

Usually a red carpet affair, this year the awards gala will be heading online, with the winners to be announced on Wednesday 13th May at 4pm via YouTube. It may be a virtual event, but organisers are still promising a star studded event, with Judy Nunn, Leigh Sales, Anita Heiss, Julia Gillard, Kate Ritchie and Richard Harris all set to appear. There will also be a special performance from singer-songwriter (and nominated author) Clare Bowditch.

Along with the shortlist announcement, today also saw the conferral of two Hall of Fame awards and the 2020 Rising Star Award. Helen Garner is the recipient of the Lloyd O’Neil Award for outstanding contribution to the industry. Whilst,  Erica Wagner takes home the Pixie O’Harris Award for consistent contribution to Children’s Literature. Meanwhile, Hazel Lim from Harper Collins is the recipient of the Rising Star Award.

The 2020 ABIA shortlist is made up of some of the biggest names in the Australian book industry, from publishing heavyweights to up-and-coming talents. Check out the abridged shortlist below:

General Fiction Book of the Year
  • Bruny – Heather Rose
  • Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris
  • Good Girl, Bad Girl – Michael Robotham 
  • Silver – Chris Hammer 
  • The Scholar – Dervla McTiernan
General Non-fiction Book of the Year
  • Against All Odds – Craig Challen and Richard Harris 
  • Banking Bad – Adele Ferguson
  • Fake – Stephanie Wood
  • Kitty Flanagan’s 488 Rules for Life – Kitty Flanagan 
  • See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse – Jess Hill
Biography Book of the Year
  • Born-Again Blakfella – Jack Charles 
  • Tell Me Why – Archie Roach 
  • The Prettiest Horse In The Glue Factory – Corey White 
  • When All is Said & Done – Neale Daniher, with Warwick Green 
  • Your Own Kind of Girl – Clare Bowditch
Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+)
  • Detention – Tristan Bancks
  • It Sounded Better in My Head – Nina Kenwood 
  • The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling – Wai Chim 
  • Welcome to Country Youth Edition – Marcia Langton 
  • Welcome To Your Period – Yumi Stynes and Dr Melissa Kang 
Book of the Year for Younger Children (ages 7-12)
  • Funny Bones – Edited by Kate Temple, Jol Temple and Oliver Phommavanh
  • Real Pigeons Nest Hard – Andrew McDonald, Illust. by Ben Wood 
  • The 117-Storey Treehouse – Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton 
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals – Sami Bayly 
  • Young Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe
Children’s Picture Book of the Year (ages 0-6)
  • All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors – Davina Bell and Jenny Løvlie
  • Bluey: The Beach – Ludo Studios
  • Mr Chicken All Over Australia – Leigh Hobbs
  • The Tiny Star – Mem Fox and Freya Blackwood 
  • Wilam – Andrew Kelly, Aunty Joy Murphy, Lisa Kennedy
Illustrated Book of the Year
  • Australia Modern: Architecture, Landscape & Design 1925–1975 – Hannah Lewi and Philip Goad 
  • Ben Quilty – Ben Quilty 
  • The Lost Boys: The untold stories of the under-age soldiers who fought in the First World War – Paul Byrnes 
  • The Whole Fish Cookbook – Josh Niland 
  • Three Birds Renovations – Erin Cayless, Bonnie Hindmarsh and Lana Taylor
International Book of the Year
  • Fleishman is in Trouble – Taffy Brodesser-Akner 
  • The Dutch House – Ann Patchett
  • The Testaments – Margaret Atwood 
  • Three Women – Lisa Taddeo 
  • Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
Literary Fiction Book of the Year
  • Damascus – Christos Tsiolkas
  • The Weekend – Charlotte Wood 
  • The Yield – Tara June Winch 
  • There Was Still Love – Favel Parrett 
  • Wolfe Island – Lucy Treloar
Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year
  • Feeding the Birds at Your Table: A guide for Australia – Darryl Jones 
  • Kindred – Kirli Saunders
  • Paris Savages – Katherine Johnson 
  • Sand Talk – Tyson Yunkaporta 
  • The White Girl – Tony Birch
Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year
  • Little Bird’s Day – Sally Morgan, Illus. by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr
  • Love Your Body – Jessica Sanders, illus by Carol Rossetti 
  • Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street – Felicita Sala 
  • Sick Bay – Nova Weetman 
  • You Can Change the World: The Kids’ Guide to a Better Planet – Lucy Bell
The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year
  • Being Black ‘n Chicken, and Chips – Matt Okine 
  • Call Me Evie – J.P. Pomare 
  • It Sounded Better in My Head – Nina Kenwood 
  • Sand Talk – Tyson Yunkaporta 
  • Your Own Kind of Girl – Clare Bowditch

For more information on the awards, and the full unabridged shortlist (including the industry awards) check out the ABIA website.

Header Image from 2019 Awards

Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

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