Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 21, 2019

2019 MUBA (Most Underrated Book Award) winner

The 2019 MUBA (Most Underrated Book Award) winner has been announced, and it’s a book I really enjoyed.

*drum roll*

The winner is Songwoman by Ilka Tampke, published by Text Publishing and is the sequel to Skin, which I also liked.  A blend of historical fiction and fantasy, Skin was shortlisted for the 2015 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and longlisted for the 2016 Voss.  Songwoman deserves similar acclaim: it is, as I said in my review, likewise solidly grounded in the mud and dirt and ruthlessness of Albion (i.e. Britain) in 47AD when the Romans were consolidating their rule and stamping out the last vestiges of resistance in Wales. It has a brave and feisty central character, always tricky to depict convincingly in stories set in the patriarchal past, but Tempke pulls it off with her mystic character Ailia.

The award is sponsored by @BooksellersAU.

The other shortlisted books were

  • Brontide, by Sue McPherson, published by Magabala Books, a YA novel told via interviews with four high school boys in a small Queensland town
  • Antidote to a Curse, by James Cristina, published by Transit Lounge, a fiction novel set in 1990s inner Melbourne which blends the Bosnian war, an impending AIDS diagnosis, birds and cats.


  1. Oh dear, I haven’t read any of this year’s winners.


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