Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 2, 2019

2019 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) winners

The ABIA 2019 winners were announced today – winners (harvested from Twitter) are in bold.

Literary fiction book of the year, and Book of the Year (and really? was it that good that it could scoop the pool with four prizes??A bit hard on the other nominees IMO.)
Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton, Fourth Estate), see Sue’s review at Whispering Gums , and the SRB review
Bridge of Clay (Markus Zusak, Picador)
In the Garden of the Fugitives (Ceridwen Dovey, Hamish Hamilton), see Theresa’s review at Theresa Smith Writes
Shell (Kristina Olsson, Scribner), see my review
The Children’s House (Alice Nelson, Vintage), see my review
The Shepherd’s Hut (Tim Winton, Hamish Hamilton), see Theresa’s review at Theresa Smith Writes
Too Much Lip (Melissa Lucashenko, UQP), see my review
Wintering (Krissy Kneen, Text)

General fiction book of the year
Nine Perfect Strangers (Liane Moriarty, Macmillan), see Theresa’s review at Theresa Smith Writes
Scrublands (Chris Hammer, A&U), see Kim’s review at Reading Matters
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (Holly Ringland, Fourth Estate), see Theresa’s review at Theresa Smith Writes
The Lost Man (Jane Harper, Macmillan), see Theresa’s review at Theresa Smith Writes
The Nowhere Child (Christian White, Affirm), see Kim’s review at Reading Matters
The Other Wife (Michael Robotham, Hachette)
The Rúin (Dervla McTiernan, HarperCollins)
The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris, Echo), see my review

General nonfiction book of the year
Any Ordinary Day (Leigh Sales, Hamish Hamilton)
Boys Will Be Boys (Clementine Ford, A&U)
Dear Santa (Samuel Johnson, Hachette)
No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Behrouz Boochani, trans by Omid Tofighian, Picador)
The Arsonist (Chloe Hooper, Hamish Hamilton), see my review
The Land Before Avocado (Richard Glover, ABC Books)
Welcome to Country: A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia (Marcia Langton, Hardie Grant Travel)
Woo’s Wonderful World of Maths (Eddie Woo, Macmillan)

Biography book of the year
Back, After the Break (Osher Günsberg, HarperCollins)
Butterfly on a Pin: A Memoir of Love, Despair and Reinvention (Alannah Hill, Hardie Grant)
Challenge Accepted! (Celeste Barber, HarperCollins)
Eggshell Skull (Bri Lee, A&U), see Kate’s review at Books Are My Favourite and Best
Johnathan Thurston: The Autobiography (Johnathan Thurston with James Phelps, HarperCollins)
One Hundred Years of Dirt (Rick Morton, MUP)
Speaking Up (Gillian Triggs, MUP), on my TBR
Teacher (Gabbie Stroud, A&U)

International book of the year
Becoming (Michelle Obama, Viking), on The Spouse’s TBR
CIRCE (Madeline Miller, Bloomsbury)
Fear: Trump in the White House (Bob Woodward, Simon & Schuster)
Less (Andrew Sean Greer, Abacus)
Lost Connections (Johann Hari, Bloomsbury Circus)
Milkman (Anna Burns, Faber), on my TBR
Normal People (Sally Rooney, Faber)
Ottolenghi Simple (Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury)

Small publishers’ adult book of the year
A Superior Spectre (Angela Meyer, Peter Bishop Books), see my review
Blakwork (Alison Whittaker, Magabala)
Deep Time Dreaming (Billy Griffiths, Black Inc.)
Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (ed by Anita Heiss, Black Inc.), see my review
The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted (Robert Hillman, Text)
The Geography of Friendship (Sally Piper, UQP)
The Western Front Diaries of Charles Bean (ed by Peter Burness, NewSouth, published in association with the Australian War Memorial)
Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean (Joy McCann, NewSouth)

The Matt Richell award for new writer of the year
Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton, Fourth Estate), see Sue’s review at Whispering Gums. It won Audiobook of the year as well. But (14/5/22) see the SRB review
The Nowhere Child (Christian White, Affirm)
Eggshell Skull (Bri Lee, A&U), see Kate’s review at Books Are My Favourite and Best
One Hundred Years of Dirt (Rick Morton, MUP)
Teacher (Gabbie Stroud, A&U)
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (Holly Ringland, Fourth Estate)
The Rúin (Dervla McTiernan, HarperCollins)
The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris, Echo), see my review

Affirm Press was named Small Publisher of the Year with an honorable mention going to Magabala Books.

Visit the ABIA website to see winners for these awards – you may have to wait a little while before they’re posted to the site.

  • Small publishers’ children’s book of the year
  • Audiobook of the Year
  • Illustrated book of the year
  • Children’s picture book of the year (ages 0-6)
  • Book of the year for younger children (ages 7-12)
  • Book of the year for older children (ages 13+)



  1. Reblogged this on Tasmanian Bibliophile @Large and commented:
    Some great reading here.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lots of thoughts but will keep it to one: Boy Swallows Universe is absolutely stupendous. It’s been my only five star read this year (still need to write my review!) but I truly loved every word.


    • I don’t know… I haven’t read anything that makes me want to read it (and I’ve had some heavy duty pressure from f2f friends – maybe yours will be the review that persuades me!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It really IS very good Lisa. Everyone in my reading group liked it, and they are a discerning group (not that I always agree with them – haha.)

    But, I do agree it’s a bit of a shame when one book scoops the pool. There isn’t only one good book a year and so I do like to see the awards spread them around a bit.

    I’ve decided not to report on these awards, given I’ve done a post today, and I expect to have a couple of posts coming up in the next few day.s (Plus I’ve been out tonight seeing the wonderful Sydney Dance Company, and am now home catching up with tonight’s Masterchef!!!)


    • Yes, I’m not questioning whether it should have won, only that it’s won everything, and it just seems unfair to other writers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Goodness! A clean sweep for Boy Swallows Universe. When did the ABIAs turn into the Oscars where one thing wins over and over? I suppose I better dig it out of the TBR pile and see what all the fuss is about.
    Thanks for the links!


    • Funny you should say that about the Oscars. Last night after MasterChef I saw from Twitter that it was the ABIA awards night, so I began drafting a post, using my original longlist post as a starting point. This won’t take long, I thought, I’ll just highlight the winners and get to bed with my book. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It went on forever, with singers and speeches and Important People to hand out the awards, and I kept my Twitter feed open and got on with other things until finally, finally they announced the LitFic winner, and I published. What I hadn’t realised that there was more to come, publishers of the year large and small, so I updated, and then there was the Book of the Year and I had to update again. What a long drawn-out night it must have been for the disappointed authors, (and their publishers, editors and agents) I really feel for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s becoming bigger each year. It’ll be televised next!


        • Well, perhaps it’s a good night for the industry. I got invited to a couple of award events some years ago, and for an introvert like me they were torture!
          OTOH it was nice to meet authors like Kim Scott and Roger McDonald and Chris Womersley:)

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh this is very funny Lisa … just goes to show that we should always click through to the post itself when we received notification, because the email version may not be the final one. (That’s certainly often the case with my posts! I often find things to fix up, if not downright errors after posting. Why is that?)

            As for the disappointed people, at least they were shortlisted and presumably got some decent drinks for the night!! I must say that although I’m more extrovert than you, that doesn’t mean I would enjoy events like that. My extroversion extends to loving to spend time with friends in small groups. Extroverts, as you probably know, don’t all love big parties, they just find people energising. For me, that’s small groups of people, not big noisy parties or events.


  5. Less must be something special to have beaten Becoming and Milkman!


    • Indeed. I don’t know anything about it… I’m not even sure if I’ve seen it in a bookshop yet!


      • Oh yes, it’s been in bookshops since last year. I gave it to my son for Christmas.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read a single one. I’d better make a start!


  7. […] to my run sheet). So, using as my starting point a couple of Lisa’s lists of prize-winners (here, here), the Stella Longlist, and your reviews, I am making up a wish list of my own, which I will […]


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