Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 29, 2020

Smart Ovens for Lonely People wins the 2020 Readings Prize

Readings has announced that the winner of the 2020 Readings Prize is Smart Ovens for Lonely People.

From the press release:

We are delighted to announce that Elizabeth Tan has won this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction for her short story collection Smart Ovens for Lonely People.

With an astonishing showcase of craft and unbridled imagination, each story in Smart Ovens for Lonely People submerges the reader in a world that is at once strange and familiar. Praised by the judges for its originality and its humour, this is a book that will surprise and beguile readers.

Read the judges’ report in full here.

‘The stories collected in Smart Ovens for Lonely People made me laugh out loud with surprise and delight – not only because they are very funny, conveying enviable literary skill, but also because I have simply never read anything like them, and that is such a pleasure and a delight.’ – Guest judge and 2019 Readings Prize winner Alice Robinson

‘Full of incisive commentary and pin-sharp prose, this is a marvellous and highly rewarding read.’
Joe Rubbo, manager of Readings Carlton

‘Tan is a writer with a voice and imagination uniquely and utterly her own. Each of these stories feels like a distorted reflection of our technologically mired world and they will resonate with anyone who enjoys the works of Carmen Maria Machado, Margo Lanagan and Kelly Link.’ – Jackie Tang, Readings online bookseller

This is the blurb from the book:

Conspiracies, memes, and therapies of various efficacy underpin this beguiling short story collection from Elizabeth Tan.

In the titular story, a cat-shaped oven tells a depressed woman she doesn’t have to be sorry anymore. A Yourtopia Bespoke Terraria employee becomes paranoid about the mounting coincidences in her life. Four girls gather to celebrate their underwear in ‘Happy Smiling Underwear Girls Party’, a hilarious take-down of saccharine advertisements.

For a limited time, you can buy copies of Smart Ovens for Lonely People at Readings for the special price of $24.99 (was $29.99).


  1. I’ll be reading this soon: my name is moving up the reserve list at the library.


    • isn’t it great when libraries show us our place in the queue! (One of mine does, and the other doesn’t.)


  2. I don’t read blurbs more than I can help, but very happy to buy Tan’s latest. Should have done it before now


    • No blurb can ever take the place of a beaut review, so let me know when you’ve done one of this so that I can link to it!


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: