The Australian Book Industry Awards 2019

There’s nothing quite like the glitz and glamour of an awards ceremony, and the ABIA awards had all the vital ingredients you might expect from the Oscars or the Grammys.

The red carpet was rolled out at the Grand Ballroom of Sydney’s International Convention Centre for the Australian Book Industry Awards 2019. The sparkling lights of Darling Harbour provided the perfect backdrop, while sparkling wine was sipped inside.  Australia’s literati were dressed to impress, and the room buzzed with excitement at the industry event of the year.

Compère Casey Bennetto presided with charisma, entertaining the crowd with original musical numbers interwoven with witty references to award nominees and distinguished guests. Other highlights included contrasting musical performances from Australian author and musician Paul Kelly, and British rapper, poet and journalist Akala.

Casey Bennetto

Casey Bennetto in full swing as Master of Ceremonies

The event celebrated the achievements of the entire book industry including authors, publishers, editors, illustrators, designers, publicists and marketers for every genre.  Notable themes were the strong representation of emerging talent in the list of nominees and winners, and the contributions of indigenous writers to Australian literature.

Trent Dalton

Trent Dalton scooped up four awards

The big winner of the night was first-time novelist Trent Dalton who was awarded Book of the Year, Literary Book of the Year, the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, and Audio Book of the Year for his bestseller Boy Swallows Universe. Dalton is the first author to win all four major prizes.

On a personal note, your reviewers were delighted to meet Andrew Sean Greer (having recently read his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Less for this month’s book club) and enjoyed this fascinating glimpse into the world of Australian books and book people.

Andrew Sean Greer

Andrew Sean Greer accepting the award for International Book of the Year

Full List of ABIA 2019 Winners

ABIA Book of the Year
Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Publishers)

Biography of the Year Award
Eggshell Skull, Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)

General Fiction Book of the Year
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Holly Ringland (HarperCollins Publishers)

General Non-Fiction Book of the Year
No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, Behrouz Boochani, Omid Tofighian (translator) (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Honourable Mention for Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Any Ordinary Day, Leigh Sales (Penguin Random House Australia)

Literary Fiction Book of the Year
Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Publishers)

Illustrated Book of Year
Family: New vegetable classics to comfort and nourish, Hetty McKinnon (Pan Macmillan Australia)

International Book of Year
Less, Andrew Sean Greer (Hachette Australia)

Small Publisher Adults Book of the Year
Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, Dr Anita Heiss (ed.) (Black Inc Books)

Small Publisher Children’s Book of the Year
Whisper, Lynette Noni (Pantera Press)

The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year
Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Publishers)

Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+)
Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds, Jeremy Lachlan (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Book of the Year for Younger Children (ages 7-12)
The 104-Storey Treehouse, Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Children’s Picture Book of the Year (ages 0-6)
All the Ways to be Smart, Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Scribble Kids’ Books)

Audio Book of the Year
Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton read by Stig Wemyss (HarperAudio with production by Bolinda)
Honourable Mention: 
Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (Wavesound)

Lloyd O’Neil Hall of Fame Award
Richard Walsh

Pixie O’Harris Award
Kathy Kozlowski

Publisher of the Year
Pan Macmillan Australia

Small Publisher of the Year
Affirm Press
Honourable Mention: Magabala Books

National Book Retailer of the Year

Independent Book Retailer of the Year
Mary Martin Bookshops

Rising Star Award
Ella Chapman

Emma with Sam
Emma Gleeson is a writer, feminist, compulsive book buyer and horror enthusiast.
Sam Rorke has been reading and writing since a young age, but has only recently learned that the first rule of Book Club is: you do not talk about Book Club.

Winners and nominees of the Australian Book Industry Awards 2019 can be found in a good bookshop near you.


Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Brendan Fredericks Publicity & Management
Photo credit: Australian Book Industry Awards