Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 31, 2021

2021 Readings Prize shortlist

Updated 14/12/22 to include reviews of some titles.

Readings Bookstore has announced the six talented emerging authors shortlisted for this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction.  What follows is an edited version of their press release:

The six books on the 2021 shortlist (links go to Readings) are

  • New Animal by Ella Baxter: A confident, gritty debut about a young make-up artist working in a mortuary. Witty, emotional and raw, as well as laugh-out-loud funny.
  • She is Haunted by Paige Clark: A cohesive, tantalisingly interlinked collection of 18 stories covering themes of family relationships, grief, intimacy and connection.
  • Echolalia by Briohny Doyle: A beautiful, nightmarish, fearless story that grips you and will not let you go – as the world outside disintegrates, so too does the mind of a young mother.
  • Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos: Lucky is an American GI of Greek heritage who moves to Sydney and takes over a Greek-Australian café. A charming, familiar delight of a novel, full of hope, fortune and fate.  See my review.
  • Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson: : A multi-generational story, skillfully interweaving systemic racism, fear and violence, this uplifting song of a book is both essential and inspiring.  See my review.
  • Born Into This by Adam Thompson. This collection of short stories is an examination of masculinity, a showcase of life as a First Nations person, and a reminder of what we are losing and have lost. (On my TBR, See here for my review and others for this title on the ANZ LitLovers Indigenous Literature Reading List (Fiction).

Readings has a special offer for the Readings Prize 2021 shortlist pack: all six shortlisted titles in one specially priced pack for $149.99 (save $38 off the full RRP of the six books).


  1. My favourite is ‘Song of the Crocodile’ although … I have not yet read ‘Born into This’, ‘Lucky’s’ or ‘She is Haunted’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, my favourite too, though LOL I haven’t read any of the others either!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just saw this announced on Instagram. Last year I read all the books on the list but not sure I will do so this year. I do have ‘Echolalia’ in my TBR and I have already read ‘Born into This’ so I’m not ignoring it completely. I just have so many unread books here right now that I need to stop chasing the new and focus on the old!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we’ve all got that problem (and what a good problem it is to have!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have Born into This and Lucky’s on the shelf and have just ordered New Animal from my local indie, Fullers. Looking forward to reading all three of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fullers is another great indie bookshop, I’ve had a lovely time browsing their shelves too!


  4. Hi Lisa, I only have read two on this list and the others look like also excellent reads. So much more reading for me to do. I already have 43 books on reserve at my library. I think I better wait until I obtain a lower level of reads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 43!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Wow, I hope they don’t all arrive at once!


  5. I have read two too, as you know – the two indigenous authors. I have a soft spot for Greek heritage in Australia so Lucky’s has been catching my eye for a while, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get to it. Regardless, congrats to all these authors. It’s a good prize to have and win, I’d say.

    PS For some reason WordPress wouldn’t let me like Kim’s comment. That happens on some WP blogs but not yours. So weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m taking shortcuts where I can, so when I know that a book is reviewed on the Indigenous reading list, I link to yours (and others) that way because it’s easier. I had thought that things would be easier when I had the splint off, but it’s not, not yet anyway.
      WP is a law unto itself sometimes!


      • Yes I’ve done that too. Then people csn see all the reviews. I realised you knew that I’d reviewed it.

        And yes, WP sure is.

        Just keep doing those exercises. (Yes, Mum!)

        Liked by 1 person

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