Bluey: The Beach makes history at the 2020 Australian Book Industry Awards

Australian Book Industry Awards

This afternoon, the 2020 ABIAs (Australian Book Industry Awards) were live streamed into the homes of book lovers across Australia. Winners were toasted, writers celebrated, and history was made, in more ways than one. Thanks to COVID-19 2020 saw the Award’s Gala held virtually for the first time in the event’s history. 2020 also marks the first time a children’s picture book has been named Book Of The Year – Bluey: The Beach.

But, then of course, Bluey isn’t just any children’s picture book character. He’s the blue heeler that’s captured the hearts of children (and plenty of adults) across Australia. Not content with snapping up all the TV awards, the blue heeler and the production team have started picking them up in the publishing world too. The team at Brisbane’s Ludo Studio, the show’s producers, had this to say: 

We’re absolutely delighted to have Bluey: The Beach awarded Australian Book of the Year. Our aim was to capture the spirit, energy and heart of the series and give our audience the opportunity to read their very own Bluey stories and the talented folks at Penguin Random House have enabled us to do that. To have Bluey books embraced by readers young and old is a real delight and we are so proud of everyone involved in creating these beautiful books, for real life.

Amongst the other winners were Kitty Flanagan for General Non Fiction Book of the Year for her anti-self-help book, Kitty Flanagan’s 488 Rules for Life. Biography Book of the Year went to AFL legend Neale Daniher for When All Is Said and Done. Meanwhile, Clare Bowditch, took out the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, for her memoir Your Own Kind of Girl. 

In Fiction, Heather Rose took home the General Fiction Book of the Year for Bruny. Whilst, Literary Book of the Year went to The Weekend by Charlotte Wood. Perennial favourites Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton walked home with The 117-Storey Treehouse. 

Meanwhile, on the industry side of the things, Allen & Unwin were named Publisher of the Year, whilst Magabala Books took home Small Publisher of the Year. Readings were named Book Retailer of the Year, with Books Kinokuniya nabbing the Bookshop of the Year award. Finally, Hazel Lam from Harper Collins was the recipient of the 2020 Rising Star Award. 

An abridged list of the winners (in bold) along with the other shortlisted titles can be found below:

ABIA Book of the Year
  • Bluey: The Beach – Ludo Studios
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
  • Kitty Flanagan’s 488 Rules for Life – Kitty Flanagan
  • Against All Odds – Craig Challen and Richard Harris
  • Banking Bad – Adele Ferguson
  • Fake – Stephanie Wood
  • See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse – Jess Hill
Biography Book of the Year
  • When All is Said & Done – Neale Daniher, with Warwick Green
  • Born-Again Blakfella – Jack Charles
  • Tell Me Why – Archie Roach
  • The Prettiest Horse In The Glue Factory – Corey White
  • Your Own Kind of Girl – Clare Bowditch
Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+)
  • Welcome To Your Period – Yumi Stynes and Dr Melissa Kang
  • 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
Book of the Year for Younger Children (ages 7-12)
  • The 117-Storey Treehouse – Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
  • Funny Bones – Edited by Kate Temple, Jol Temple and Oliver Phommavanh
  • Real Pigeons Nest Hard – Andrew McDonald, Illust. by Ben Wood
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals – Sami Bayly
  • Young Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe
Children’s Picture Book of the Year (ages 0-6)
  • Bluey: The Beach – Ludo Studios
  • All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors – Davina Bell and Jenny Løvlie
  • 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
  • The Whole Fish Cookbook – Josh Niland
  • 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
  • Three Birds Renovations – Erin Cayless, Bonnie Hindmarsh and Lana Taylor
International Book of the Year
  • The Testaments – Margaret Atwood
  • Fleishman is in Trouble – Taffy Brodesser-Akner
  • The Dutch House – Ann Patchett
  • Three Women – Lisa Taddeo
  • Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
Literary Fiction Book of the Year
  • The Weekend – Charlotte Wood
  • Damascus – Christos Tsiolkas
  • The Yield – Tara June Winch
  • There Was Still Love – Favel Parrett
  • Wolfe Island – Lucy Treloar
Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year
  • Sand Talk – Tyson Yunkaporta
  • Feeding the Birds at Your Table: A guide for Australia – Darryl Jones
  • Kindred – Kirli Saunders
  • Paris Savages – Katherine Johnson
  • The White Girl – Tony Birch
Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year
  • Love Your Body – Jessica Sanders, illus by Carol Rossetti
  • Little Bird’s Day – Sally Morgan, Illus. by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr
  • 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
  • Your Own Kind of Girl – Clare Bowditch
  • 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

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

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.