Posted by: Lisa Hill | January 19, 2023

2023 Indie Book Awards Shortlist

The Shortlist for the 2023 Indie Book Awards has been announced.
These are the best Australian books of 2022 as selected by Australian independent booksellers.

I’m pleased to see that Robbie Arnott’s Limberlost has made the list.  It seems to have become the kind of book that readers cherish.

And I don’t know if this is a first, or I just haven’t noticed it before, but one of the shortlisted books for Illustrated NF is an exhibition catalogue from the NGV, featuring the work of Cressida Campbell.  You can see a video about her here. It’s goes for about 12 minutes and it’s fascinating because you can see how she makes the woodblocks and the prints.


Limberlost by Robbie Arnott (Text Publishing), see my review

Horse by Geraldine Brooks (Hachette Australia)

Seeing Other People by Diana Reid (Ultimo Press)

The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding by Holly Ringland (Fourth Estate Australia)


The Book Of Roads And Kingdoms by Richard Fidler (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)

The First Astronomers by Duane Hamacher, with Elders and Knowledge Holders (Allen & Unwin)

Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here by Heather Rose (Allen & Unwin)

The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner by Grace Tame (Macmillan Australia)

Debut Fiction

Wake by Shelley Burr (Hachette Australia)

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien (HQ Fiction, HarperCollins)

Son of Sin by Omar Sakr (Affirm Press), see Kim’s review at Reading Matters

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor (Macmillan Australia)

Illustrated Non-Fiction

First Nations Food Companion by Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan (Murdoch Books)

Big Beautiful Female Theory by Eloise Grills (Affirm Press)

Cressida Campbell by National Gallery of Australia (National Gallery of Australia)

RecipeTin Eats: Dinner by Nagi Maehashi (Macmillan Australia)


Frank’s Red Hat by Sean E Avery (Walker Books Australia)

Ceremony: Welcome to Our Country by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, illustrated by David Hardy (Allen & Unwin Children’s)

Guardians: Wylah the Koorie Warrior 1 by Jordan Gould and Richard Pritchard (Albert Street Books)

Runt by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)

Young Adult

Cop and Robber by Tristan Bancks (Puffin)

The Museum of Broken Things by Lauren Draper (Text Publishing)

Unnecessary Drama by Nina Kenwood (Text Publishing)

The Brink by Holden Sheppard (Text Publishing)

Winners to be announced on 20 March


  1. I’ll be watching with interest for the announcement of the winners.


    • I don’t usually barrack, especially not *chuckle* when I haven’t read the other books, but I’m barracking for Limberlost, and also for the book about Cressida Campbell. I’m toying with making my first post-Covid trip to the CBD to see the exhibition…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was down in Melbourne for the tennis on the weekend. I am not a tennis fan as such, but had to use credits after a travel company refused a refund for an overseas event, much to my chagrin. But my wife and I had a couple of hours to kill and took in NGV. If I had any idea that Cressida Campbell was being shown I would have had a look for sure. A new name for me, and that video you linked to was wonderful. What an artist. I, too, hope that book wins


        • Oh, my, that would have been torture for me, to have to watch tennis instead of going overseas. Travellers have been treated very badly by the airlines and tour companies IMO.
          But I’m glad you enjoyed the NGV. We are so lucky to have it!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I am barracking for ‘Limberlost’ ;-) While I’ve not read the book about Cressida Campbell, I saw the exhibition at the NGA. Absolutely wonderful!


    • I love that kind of art.
      We made a recent trip to Ballarat and visited the Ballarat gallery while we were there… and were disappointed to see their latest exhibition. They entice visitors by asking if you’re interested in Australian impressionism… and of course we are, and are always happy to see their collection again… but the politics of inclusion has reared its ugly head and all the lovely paintings are (literally) crowded out by representations of what’s *not* in their artworks. Too bad if you’re trying to learn about what Australian impression was, as an art movement.
      It reminded me of visiting the Auckland gallery where they had closed their European paintings. We were interested to see what they had because it would be different to what we have here in Melbourne, so it was disappointing. But worse than disappointing for people who can’t afford to travel to see those artworks anywhere less politically correct.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some of the books look interesting (though, Geraldine Brooks?) but what definition of Indie are they using?


    • I think the award is made by indie booksellers. I saw the shortlist on one of my rare visits to Facebook, posted by Benns Bookshop who are indies in Bentleigh.
      I’ve lost interest in Geraldine Brooks. IMO The Secret Chord was, to use an Indonesian way of politely expressing negativity, “not one of Geraldine Brook’s most successful novels”. I’m not much interested in horses, but I might have read Horse it had been about Pharlap.


  4. The Geraldine Brooks seems to be popping up everywhere. I can’t get excited about horsey things so will skip it.


    • Yup, I get that completely.


  5. Yes, this is an award chosen by independent booksellers across Australia.

    BTW, I have read Son of Sin (in the debut fiction category):


    • Thanks, Kim, I’ve added your review:)


  6. Loved that Cressida Campbell video – thanks for that link.

    I read Limberlost last week – loved it, so I’ll be cheering for that one. I also have the Heather Rose (haven’t read it yet because have read three grief books in a row, I know the Rose is heavy on trauma, so switched gears to Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait.)


    • I’m going in to see the exhibition with a friend, as soon as the school holidays are over.
      I read a review of the Rose which suggested that it was a bit ‘odd’ so I’ll be interested to see what you think of it.


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