Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 24, 2020

2020 Readings Prize shortlist

The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2020 has been announced.

The six books on the 2020 shortlist are

Readings is offering the whole set for $134.90, (a saving of $30) or you can buy individual titles by clicking on the links on the books.

In an ominous sign of how things are for local booksellers, there will be no prize money this year, just honour and glory.  You can read more about the books here, but I implore you, my dear readers, if you are going to buy these or any books, please buy them from your local Australian bookstore.


  1. I’m planing to place an order for this set tonight! I do order quite a few books from Readings… despite them taking forever to cross the country! I have read Animals in That Country, which was a life-altering read and deserves accolades for sheer ambition and use of language! If the rest of the books on this list are anything like it I’m in for a real treat reading the rest of the shortlisted titles 😊 Pity there’s no prize-money though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that is a worrying sign… bad for the retailers and bad also for the authors who could do with the money any time but especially at the moment if they are in insecure work.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was hoping bookstores would do well with people wanting to read during the pandemic. Are people finding it difficult to concentrate perhaps?


    • I don’t know…I really don’t. On Twitter there’s a lot of talk about ‘not reading’, and also resentment expressed against those who are ‘still’ reading, it’s almost as if ‘not reading’ has been normalised and you’d better not say so if you think otherwise because you might make them feel worse.
      I can only speak for myself… I find when I read that I am taken out of the world that I’m in, and into another one. For all the talk about mental health that’s swamping the media, I haven’t seen anything about the power of a book to take your mind off things that are worrying, whether it’s ‘comfort reading’ or reading about inspirational people who’ve survived much worse things than being in lockdown in a city like Melbourne.


      • I agree Lisa since i was a child I was in another world when I read a good book – ^when I lived by the coast I used to chat to an elderly man who sat on a seat by the water and read a book all afternoon every afternoon, and what a nice way to pass the time!

        I’m going to ask the lovely librarians here next time I’m at the library what their borrowing numbers are like. I’ll report back if they have any interesting stats!


        • I think we’re very lucky that we have something that works for us. I’ve just been listening to David Eagleman at the Edinburgh Festival and he talks about how important curiosity is for the plasticity of the brain, and people ‘stuck inside’ four walls can get stressed because there’s nothing to satisfy that instinct that we have for curiosity. Our habit of reading, which I’ve certainly taken for granted my whole life, isn’t something we have to work at, it’s just there and we can use it anytime to transport us to new places, new people, new ways of thinking and so on.

          If you’re interested in what Eagleman has to say, try this link, I registered it but I think you can listen without having to register?


  3. Thanks for the link. I’m tempted by that bundle offer, even though I have a copy of Lonely Girl. I reckon I could gift a second copy…


    • On second thoughts, I’ll pass on the bundle. Too many short stories collections!


      • Yes, too many short story collections for me too.
        I’m pleased for the writers of short stories that they’re getting more opportunities, but my preference is for a good solid novel…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am surprised 3 are short stories and one a novella. The one that appeals to me is Lucky Ticket. I’ll keep an eye out for it at my local Fullers. I’ve finally got my reading mood back. It comes and goes like the weather.


    • That’s wonderful news! Happy reading!


  5. ‘Too many short stories’. Is that even possible :-) ? I like short stories, but I do need to be in the right mood. I’ve read ‘The House of Youssef’ and ‘The Animals in That Country’ … now to add the rest to my reading list.


    • I think it’s possible. If you’re not keen on short stories, (and I’ve read enough of Australian short story collections to know that I’m not) you might be willing to pay for one that you don’t intend to read, but three in a package of six, that’s a different matter.


  6. When my concentration is wavering, or my anxiety levels are high (ie 2020), I find short stories easier to read. But, even then, I’m reading a novel in parallel. It’s about balance, isn’t it? Three in a package of six does seem a lot.


    • When I first started blogging, people talked about how it was hard to get short story collections published…
      … I say that people talked about it, I have no idea whether it was actually true. Sometimes it’s hard to separate genuine grievance from a sense of entitlement, but it is true, I think, that books began then to have to make their own profitable way in the world and a writer wanting to pursue an unpopular form had to put up with that.
      Well, presumably now, short story collections sell, though we can see in that list that it’s small publishers producing them. I don’t often see short story collections being promoted by the big conglomerates.
      Now it’s novellas that are talked about as neglected. And poetry, of course.
      BTW Seizure have a special offer at the moment; I forget the details but you can pre-order this year’s winners of the Viva La Novella Prize. I always buy them anyway, so I’ve taken up this offer. I love their novellas!


  7. And now I have visited, I have pre-ordered the Viva La Novella prize winners. :-) (You knew I would, didn’t you, Lisa?)


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