Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 29, 2020

2020 ABIA Book of the Year shortlists

The 2020 ABIA Book of the Year shortlists have just been announced.
Congratulations to the winners of the two Hall of Fame Awards, Helen Garner as the recipient of the Lloyd O’Neil Award for outstanding contribution to the industry and Erica Wagner as the recipient of the Pixie O’Harris Award for exceptional contribution to Children’s Literature. Congratulations also to Hazel Lam from Harper Collins as the recipient of the 2020 Rising Star Award – an award that recognises emerging talent in the industry.

Literary Fiction Book of the Year
Damascus, Christos Tsiolkas (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
The Weekend, Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin), see my review
The Yield, Tara June Winch (Penguin Random House Australia, Hamish Hamilton), see my review
There Was Still Love, Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia), see my review
Wolfe Island, Lucy Treloar (Pan Macmillan Australia, Picador Australia), see my review

Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year
Feeding the Birds at Your Table: A guide for Australia, Darryl Jones (NewSouth Publishing NewSouth)
Kindred, Kirli Saunders (Magabala Books, Magabala Books)
Paris Savages, Katherine Johnson (Ventura Press, Ventura Press), see my review
Sand Talk, Tyson Yunkaporta (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)
The White Girl, Tony Birch (University of Queensland Press, University of Queensland Press), see my review

General Fiction Book of the Year – proudly sponsored by Booktopia
Bruny, Heather Rose (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin), see my review
Cilka’s Journey, Heather Morris (Echo Publishing, Echo Publishing)
Good Girl, Bad Girl, Michael Robotham (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)
Silver, Chris Hammer (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
The Scholar, Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)

Biography Book of the Year – proudly sponsored by BorrowBox
Born-Again Blakfella, Jack Charles (Penguin Random House Australia, Viking)
Tell Me Why, Archie Roach (Simon & Schuster Australia, Simon & Schuster)
The Prettiest Horse In The Glue Factory, Corey White (Penguin Random House Australia, Hamish Hamilton)
When All is Said & Done, Neale Daniher, with Warwick Green (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
Your Own Kind of Girl, Clare Bowditch (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

General Non-fiction Book of the Year – proudly sponsored by The Copyright Agency
Against All Odds, Craig Challen and Richard Harris (Penguin Random House Australia, Viking)
Banking Bad, Adele Ferguson (HarperCollins Publishers, ABC Books)
Fake, Stephanie Wood (Penguin Random House Australia, Vintage Australia)
Kitty Flanagan’s 488 Rules for Life, Kitty Flanagan (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse, Jess Hill (Black Inc., Black Inc.)

Illustrated Book of the Year
Australia Modern: Architecture, Landscape & Design 1925–1975, Hannah Lewi and Philip Goad (Thames & Hudson Australia, Thames & Hudson Australia)
Ben Quilty, Ben Quilty (Penguin Random House Australia, Lantern Australia)
The Lost Boys: The untold stories of the under-age soldiers who fought in the First World War, Paul Byrnes (Affirm Press, Affirm Press)
The Whole Fish Cookbook, Josh Niland (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Books)
Three Birds Renovations, Erin Cayless, Bonnie Hindmarsh and Lana Taylor (Murdoch Books, Murdoch Books)

Audiobook of the Year
Fake: A Startling True Story of Love in a World of Liars, Cheats, Narcissists, Fantasists and Phonies, by Stephanie Wood (Penguin Random House Australia, Penguin Random House Australia Audio) Narrated by Claudia Karvan
No Friend But the Mountains, by Behrouz Boochani (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia Audio) Narrated by: Omid Tofighian, Isobelle Carmody, Janet Galbraith, Mathilda Imlah, Geoffrey Robertson, Richard Flanagan, Sarah Dale, Thomas Keneally, Yumi Stynes
The Resilience Project: Finding Happiness Through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness, by Hugh Van Cuylenburg (Penguin Random House Australia Audio, Penguin Random House Australia Audio) Narrated by Hugh Van Cuylenburg
The Yield, by Tara June Winch (Penguin Random House Australia Audio, Penguin Random House Australia Audio) Narrated by Tony Briggs, see my review
Your Own Kind of Girl, by Clare Bowditch (Audible Australia, Audible Studios) Narrated by Clare Bowditch

The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year – proudly sponsored by Simpsons Solicitors
Being Black ‘n Chicken, and Chips, Matt Okine (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)
Call Me Evie, J.P. Pomare (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)
It Sounded Better in My Head, Nina Kenwood (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)
Sand Talk, Tyson Yunkaporta (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)
Your Own Kind of Girl, Clare Bowditch (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

International Book of the Year
Fleishman is in Trouble, Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Hachette Australia, Wildfire)
The Dutch House, Ann Patchett, (Bloomsbury Publishing, Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Testaments, Margaret Atwood (Penguin Random House Australia, Chatto & Windus)
Three Women, Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury Publishing, Bloomsbury Circus)
Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens (Hachette Australia, Corsair)

Book Retailer of the Year
Harry Hartog Bookseller
QBD Books

Bookshop of the Year
Books Kinokuniya (Sydney)
Fullers Bookshop (Hobart)
Mary Martin Bookshop (Port Melbourne)
Readings Carlton (Melbourne)
Riverbend Books (Brisbane)

Publisher of the Year – proudly sponsored by Media Super
Allen & Unwin
Hachette Australia
Penguin Random House Australia

Small Publisher of the Year – proudly sponsored by Ovato
Magabala Books
NewSouth Publishing
University of Queensland Press

The 2020 AUSTRALIAN BOOK INDUSTRY AWARDS will be a special Virtual Awards Event that will stream LIVE on YouTube on Wednesday 13th May at 4:00pm. Use this link to their YouTube Channel!

Click this link to see the shortlists for other categories and find out more at the Awards website.


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


  2. Thank you for sharing, Lisa, and I have shared your post. I have some reading ahead of me :-)


  3. Lots of thoughts given that I have read (or listened) to lots of these books, but I guess there’s no real surprises… the Small Publishers category is the most interesting (I must get around to Paris Savages), but as always I struggle with the match-ups in other categories – Jess Hill versus Kitty Flanagan? No disrespect to either author (they are both great books) but obviously very, very different genres.


    • I struggle with it too. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they’ve chosen books that sell well, and those that don’t are not considered at all.


  4. I have read two of the shortlisted literary titles, and will be reading both Damascus and There was still love in May.


    • LOL that’s good. Because then I will be able to link to a review of Damascus because I have no intention of reading it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I meant to post about this but this working from home caper is a bit tricky at times and I feel like each day of the working week is presently busier now than it was in normal times, even though I’m not leaving the house!


    • It’s strange isn’t it? I mean, everything is strange, but the way the day seems to be 20 hours instead of 24 is very strange.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I would love to be on the selection committee deciding between Literary fiction and General fiction. That would be so much fun. And glad to see Aussie rules football sneaking into your blog (Biography – Neil Daniher, as told to ..)


    • LOL You won’t be surprised to know that I had missed that. The last footballer whose name I remember is Alex Jesaulenko (sp?). My 1st MIL was an fervent Carlton supporter, and in the days when football was on all four channels all the time, it was impossible not to know something about it. I even used to know who won the Grand Final, if Carlton won it. These days we compete to see who can last the longer before we know (a) who’s in the Grand Final and (b) who won it, and I hold the record for Monday lunchtime.


      • One September I was up the bush and Hawthorn were losing the GF, I managed to make it to the following Thurs before I accidentally heard it confirmed.


        • Well done, you may yet be invited to join our exclusive competition!

          Liked by 1 person

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