Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 9, 2020

2021 Indie Book Awards Longlist

The 2021 Indie Book Awards Longlist has been announced.  Most of them were not even on my radar…


The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte (Fourth Estate Australia), see my review

All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Australia), see the SRB review

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan (Knopf Australia), see my review

Mammoth by Chris Flynn (University of Queensland Press), on my TBR, see Sue’s review at Whispering Gums

A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville (Text Publishing)

The Survivors by Jane Harper (Macmillan Australia), see Kim’s review at Reading Matters

Infinite Splendours by Sofie Laguna (Allen & Unwin)

The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy (Hamish Hamilton Australia)

The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins Australia)

Honeybee by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)


Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (Fourth Estate Australia), see Sue’s review at Whispering Gums

Stalin’s Wine Cellar by John Baker & Nick Place (Viking Australia)

The Last Lighthouse Keeper by John Cook with Jon Bauer (Allen & Unwin)

Searching for Charlotte: The Fascinating Story of Australia’s First Children’s Author by Kate Forsyth & Belinda Murrell (National Library of Australia), abandoned

The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku (Macmillan Australia)

I Catch Killers: The Life and Many Deaths of a Homicide Detective by Gary Jubelin with Dan Box (HarperCollins Australia)

People of the River by Grace Karskens (Allen & Unwin)

Truganini by Cassandra Pybus (Allen & Unwin), on my TBR

Fire Country by Victor Steffensen (Hardie Grant Travel)


The Hunted by Gabriel Bergmoser (HarperCollins Australia)

Kokomo by Victoria Hannan (Hachette Australia)

The Loudness of Unsaid Things by Hilde Hinton (Hachette Australia)

The Bluffs by Kyle Perry (Michael Joseph Australia)

The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham (Vintage Australia), abandoned

The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey (Allen & Unwin)

Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson (Hachette Australia), on my TBR

Sheerwater by Leah Swann (Fourth Estate Australia)

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu (Allen & Unwin), see Kim’s review at Reading Matters

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press), see my review


Sam Bloom: Heartache & Birdsong by Samantha Bloom, Cameron Bloom & Bradley Trevor Greive (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)

Plantopedia by Lauren Camilleri & Sophia Kaplan (Smith Street Books)

Golden Daze: Australian Surfing: Then to Now by Sean Doherty (Hachette Australia)

Rivers: The Lifeblood of Australia by Ian Hoskins, foreword by Don Watson (National Library of Australia), see my review

To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon (Plum)

The Flying Kangaroo: 100 Years of QANTAS by Neil Montagnana-Wallace (Affirm Press)

Loving Country by Bruce Pascoe & Vicky Shukuroglou (Hardie Grant Travel)

Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull (Hardie Grant Books)

The 99th Koala by Kailas Wild (Simon & Schuster Australia)

In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky (Murdoch Books)


The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals by Sami Bayly (Lothian Children’s Books)

The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks (Lothian Children’s Books)

Wolfred by Nick Bland (Little Hare)

Skydragon by Anh Do, illustrated by James Hart (Allen & Unwin Children’s)

Sing Me The Summer by Jane Godwin, illustrated by Alison Lester (Affirm Press)

Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor (Hardie Grant Travel)

The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor (Affirm Press)

Respect by Aunty Fay Muir, Sue Lawson, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy (Magabala Books)

Welcome, Baby, To This World by Jess Racklyeft (Affirm Press)

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Lothian Children’s Books)


Future Girl by Asphyxia (Allen & Unwin Children’s)

The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon (Lothian Children’s Books)

When Rain Turns to Snow by Jane Godwin (Lothian Children’s Books)

Catch Me If I Fall by Barry Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin Children’s)

Aurora Burning: The Aurora Cycle 2 by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin Children’s)

None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney (Allen & Unwin Children’s)

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin Children’s)

This One is Ours by Kate O’Donnell (University of Queensland Press)

The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson (Allen & Unwin Children’s)

Loner by Georgina Young (Text Publishing)

The Shortlist will be announced on 20th January 2021, and Category Winners and the Overall Book of the Year Winner will be announced on Monday 22nd March 2021.


  1. I love this list. If I were an ambitious and quicker reader I’d read right through it. Glad to see some Tassie books onnthe list. 🎁🎄🤠


    • LOL I used to be ambitious are try to read my way through all the longlists that came my way… not any more!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like the idea of it more than the work of doing it. 🤓🤓


  2. I’ve read a couple (A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, which is EXCELLENT, and The Survivors, which is average) but many on the fiction list I have no interest in reading.


    • Same here… look, there are booksellers and booksellers, and some of them don’t read the kind of books I like, and if they’re on the judging panel for this award then it’s a dud year for me but not for lots of other readers. As long as the MF sticks to what is supposed to be the script I’m happy enough, but (as you probably saw in my post about the Vic Premier’s shortlist) I’m often disappointed that some of our finest writers are ignored.
      I really feel for some of those writers whose genuinely memorable books will still be read well into this century and yet flavour-of-the-month and The Current Agenda stuff and encouragement awards dominate the nominations.
      I’ll add links to your reviews…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I bought the new Craig Silvey cos I figured I should support a local author but I’m not sure I’m going to much like the book given I hated his first 😂 and I have no interest in the new Trent Dalton cos I actually abandoned his debut half way through 🤷🏻‍♀️

        Thanks for linking to my reviews.


        • Me too about Silvey… and I couldn’t muster enough interest in the first Dalton to bother with it in the first place. I’m weary of all these victimhood stories, I really am.


  3. I have read a few, and have a few in Mount TBR. ‘Song of the Crocodile’ is probably my favourite …


    • Yes, I’ve got that one on the TBR but probably won’t read it till Indigenous Lit Week next year…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read Mammoth, and I think you’d like the review for it here?

    And I’ve also read Phosphorescence:

    I will be reading The Tolstoy Estate, but not for some months. And really want to read Pip Williams’ book. I’d be interested too in Nardi Simpson’s, Trent Dalton’s and Sofie Laguna’s books but who knows.

    (PS You’ve missed adding a link to your Rivers review)


    • Thanks for this Sue, for providing the links and the heads up re Rivers. I’m getting sloppy with my proof-reading…


      • Oh, not as much as I have been lately Lisa. I’m horrified about some things I’ve been letting through lately. We both need, it seems, to slow down a bit – me particularly!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Some good titles here, I’ve read a few of them and a few more are on my shelf to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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