Pip Williams and The Dictionary of Lost Words are the big winners at the Indie Book Awards 2021

Pip Williams

For the second year the Indie Book Awards have been announced online, with The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams announced as Australian independent booksellers’ favourite book of the year.

On winning the award, Pip Williams hailed the work of Australia’s independent booksellers as they adapted to working in a pandemic lockdown:

“The Dictionary of Lost Words was published just days into Australia’s first pandemic lockdown. The timing was awful for a debut novel and I lowered all expectations that my book would find its tribe of readers. But then something wonderful happened – independent booksellers refused to shut up shop. While their doors might have been closed, they found myriad ways to get books into the hands of people who would enjoy them, perhaps even need them, during the long weeks of isolation. As a reader and a writer, I was enormously grateful.” 

“Australian independent booksellers helped my novel thrive at a time when it seemed least likely. If I were in the business of giving out awards for outstanding achievement in 2020, independent booksellers would be at the top of the list. For this reason, it is a particularly special honour that The Dictionary of Lost Words has been chosen as the 2021 Indie Book of the Year.”

This year’s other winners include Craig Silvey for his novel Honeybee; Julia Baird for Phosphorescence, Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan for Plantopedia; Amelia Mellor for The Grandest Bookshop in the World; and Kate O’Donnell for This One Is Ours. 

The Indie Book Awards recognise and celebrate indie booksellers as the prime supporters of Australian authors. The awards are considered to be the forerunners of all major Australian book awards. Since their inception in 2008, the awards have developed a reputation for having their fingers on the pulse of the best of Australian writing. Past Book of the Year winners have gone on to be bestsellers and win other major literary awards. 

Book of the Year

Pip Williams

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press)

Fiction

Honeybee by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)

“I owe my career to the advocacy of Australia’s independent booksellers, and I’m beyond grateful that Honeybee has earned such widespread, grassroots support. Readers across the country trust the judgement and expertise and counsel of our independent booksellers, and for very good reason. Being given the Indie Book Award is an extraordinary honour, and I cannot thank Australia’s independent booksellers enough for their belief in Honeybee.” – Craig Silvey

Non-Fiction

Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (Fourth Estate Australia)

“Thank you so much for honouring me with this award, it means such a great deal to me. During the pandemic, which gave us a lot of time to pause and reflect on what matters to us, one of the things we all thought about was our local community and how that matters. Independent booksellers were working so hard during that time to get books to people, to get them reading, and to give them things they thought might stimulate them or comfort them. The fact that they considered my book to be something that would do that, means a great deal.” – Julia Baird

Debut Fiction

Pip Williams

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press)

Illustrated Non-Fiction

Plantopedia by Lauren Camilleri & Sophia Kaplan (Smith Street Books)

Children’s

The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor (Affirm Press)

Young Adult

This One is Ours by Kate O’Donnell (University of Queensland Press)

Header Image: Pip Williams by Andre Goosen

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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