Children’s/YA book awards round-up: August

Among the children’s and YA book awards announced in the past month are: the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards; the WA Premier’s Awards shortlists, which includes a category for children’s books; the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards shortlists; and the Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature shortlists. In the UK, the inaugural Booktrust Best Book Awards for children’s books have also been announced.

Awards round-up: July

Evie Wyld’s All the Birds, Singing (Vintage) has won this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award and picked up the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and Encore Award for a second novel. BookScan reports that sales of Wyld’s novel have ‘risen significantly’ since her Miles Franklin win.

A number of awards were announced at the recent Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) conference. Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book (Giramondo) won the 2014 Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal; the Magarey Medal for Biography was presented to The Lone Protestor: AM Fernando in Australia and Europe (Fiona Paisley, Aboriginal Studies Press); and the Mary Gilmore Award for poetry went to Even in the Dark (Rose Lucas, UWA Publishing).

Also announced in recent weeks were the winners of the Australian Shadows Awards for horror fiction and the Dagger Awards for crime fiction; the shortlists for the National Biography Award, the Ernest Scott Prize for history and the Australian Christian Book of the Year; and the longlist for the John Button Prize for writing on policy and politics.

In New Zealand, the winners have been announced for the New Zealand Society of Authors Best First Book and the longlist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for New Zealand crime fiction.

Recent international awards include the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

Miles Franklin Literary Award 2014 longlist announced

The longlist for this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award has been announced.

The longlisted titles are:

The Life and Loves of Lena GauntNarrow Road to the Deep North Book CoverThe Railwayman s Wife

The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt (Tracy Farr, Fremantle Press)

The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Richard Flanagan, Vintage)

The Railwayman’s Wife (Ashley Hay, A&U)

mullumbimbyNight GuestBelomor

Mullumbimby (Melissa Lucashenko, UQP)

The Night Guest (Fiona McFarlane, Hamish Hamilton)

Belomor (Nicholas Rothwell, Text)

GameMy Beautiful EnemyEyrie

Game (Trevor Shearston, A&U)

My Beautiful Enemy (Cory Taylor, Text)

Eyrie (Tim Winton, Hamish Hamilton)

The-Swan-BookAll the Birds Singing

The Swan Book (Alexis Wright, Giramondo)

All the Birds, Singing (Evie Wyld, Vintage).

The shortlist will be announced on 15 May at the State Library of New South Wales. The winner will be announced on 26 June. The winner of this year’s prize will receive a cash prize of $60,000.

For more information on this year’s longlist, click here.

2013 APA Book Design Awards winners

The winners of this year’s Australian Publishers Association (APA) Book Design Awards have been announced.

Congratulations to the three overall winners:

Things I Love

The Best Designed Book of the Year

Things I Love (Megan Morton, Lantern), designed by Evi Oetomo

The VoyageThe Best Designed Cover of the Year

The Voyage (Murray Bail), designed by W H Chong

The Dreadful Fluff

The Best Designed Children’s Cover of the Year

The Dreadful Fluff (Aaron Blabey, Viking), designed by Elissa Webb and Aaron Blabey Continue reading

Miles Franklin Literary Award 2013 shortlist

The shortlist for the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award has been announced, and this year it’s an all-female affair. Our reviewers were impressed with all five nominated titles, three of which are debut novels.

FlounderingReviewer Carody Culver describes Floundering as ‘a dark and lyrical tale of a family reunion that unfolds against a bleak rural Australian backdrop’, and says that the novel ‘deftly captures the fading innocence of a boy who witnesses more than he understands; what he leaves unsaid is as revealing as what he articulates’. … read more.

Beloved‘The Beloved is a vivid bildungsroman with believable characters and intense dramatic events’, writes reviewer Angela Meyer. Set in Papua New Guinea in 1955, the novel is ‘about two strong identities coming up against one another, the way passion (and art) can overtake a person’s very being, and the damaging effects of “wanting the best” for a child who already knows who they are and what they want’. … read more.

Questions of TravelQuestions of Travel combines the ambitious themes of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom with the poetic details of Gail Jones’ Five Bells. And the prose will knock your socks off,’ writes reviewer Andrea Hanke. ‘Essentially this is a story about two common, but very different, experiences of modern travel—an Australian backpacker exploring the world and a Sri Lankan refugee adjusting to Australia—and de Kretser unpicks her characters’ experiences, motivations and emotions with great insight and skill.’ … read more.

‘Dutch photographer, Rika, and her English ethnologist husband Leonard arrive in Papua New Guinea at the end of the 1960s, when the Melanesian country is still under Australian colonial rule. He is to study the remote tribal community of the mountain, and she is along for the ride,’ writes reviewer Andrew Wilkins. ‘The Mountain is a book about the enduring relationship between European and Melanesian in all its complexity: the ties that can bring people together and the mysteries that can confound them on both sides.’ … read more.

Mateship with Birds follows the lives of Harry, ‘a divorced dairy farmer, living alone’, and his next-door neighbour Betty in post-WWII Victoria. Reviewer David Gaunt writes, ‘This is a splendidly poised and wryly funny novel: human nature and relationships are as beautifully observed as the rich, circadian rhythms (I’ve not read better prose about the intimate intricacy of dairy farming) of country life. It is clever, original and richly rewarding.’ … read more.

APA Book Design Awards 2013

The shortlisted titles for this year’s Australian Publishers Association (APA) Book Design Awards have been announced.

Here’s a look at the covers for the shortlisted titles in the categories of Literary Fiction, Nonfiction and Children’s Picture Books.

Literary fiction

 The Best 100 Poems of Les Murray  Cloudstreet
The Best 100 Poems of Les Murray (Les Murray, Black Inc.), designed by Peter Long Cloudstreet the 21st Anniversary Edition (Tim Winton, Hamish Hamilton), designed by John Canty
 lola_bensky1  Sufficient Grace

Lola Bensky (Lily Brett, Hamish Hamilton) designed by Laura Thomas

Sufficient Grace (Amy Espeseth, Scribe), designed by Allison Colpoys and Miriam Rosenbloom

 the-vivisector  The Voyage

The Vivisector (Patrick White, Vintage), designed by Luciana Arrighi and Midland Typesetters

The Voyage (Murray Bail, Text), designed by W H Chong

Continue reading

PM’s Literary Awards 2012 shortlists announced

The shortlists for this year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have been announced.

The shortlisted titles in each of the categories are:



  • Ashes in the Air (Ali Alizadeh, UQP)
  • Interferon Psalms (Luke Davies, A&U)
  • Armour (John Kinsella, Picador)
  • Southern Barbarians (John Mateer, Giramondo)
  • New and Selected Poems (Gig Ryan, Giramondo)


  • A Short History of Christianity (Geoffrey Blainey, Viking)
  • Michael Kirby Paradoxes and Principles (A J Brown, Federation Press
  • When Horse Became Saw: A Family’s Journey Through Autism (Anthony Macris, Penguin)
  • Kinglake-350 (Adrian Hyland, Text)
  • An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark (Mark McKenna, MUP)

Prize for Australian History

  • 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia (James Boyce, Black Inc.)
  • The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia (Bill Gammage, A&U)
  • Breaking the Sheep’s Back (Charles Massy, UQP)
  • Indifferent Inclusion: Aboriginal people and the Australian Nation (Russell McGregor, Aboriginal Studies Press)
  • Immigration Nation: The Secret History of Us (Renegade Films Australia)

Young adult fiction

  • A Straight Line to My Heart (Bill Condon, A&U)
  • Being Here (Barry Jonsberg, A&U)
  • Pan’s Whisper (Sue Lawson, Black Dog Books)
  • When We Were Two (Robert Newton, Penguin)
  • Alaska (Sue Saliba, Penguin)

Children’s fiction

  • Evangeline, the Wish Keeper’s Helper (Maggie Alderson, illus by Claire Fletcher, Viking)
  • The Jewel Fish of Karnak (Graeme Base, Viking)
  • Father’s Day (Anne Brooksbank, Puffin)
  • Come Down, Cat! (Sonya Hartnett, illus by Lucia Masciullo,Viking)
  • Goodnight, Mice! (Frances Watts, illus by Judy Watson, ABC Books).

The winners of each of the categories will receive a tax-free cash prize $80,000, with each shortlistee receiving $5000 tax-free.

As previously reported by Bookseller+Publisher, this is the first year that a poetry award has been offered as part of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. The Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History has also been incorporated into the awards this year.

For more information about the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, click here.

PANZ Book Design Awards 2011 winners

The winners of the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) Book Design Awards 2011 have been announced.

The winners are:

Gerard Reid Award for Best Book sponsored by Nielsen Book Services
Hill and Hole (Kyle Mewburn & Vasanti Unka , Penguin NZ) design by Vasanti Unka.
HarperCollins Award for Best Cover
Lives of the Poets (John Newton, Victoria University Press) cover design by Greg Simpson.
Mary Egan Award for Best Typography
Stunning Debut of the Repairing of a Life (Leigh Davis, Otago University Press) cover design by Christine Hansen.
Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book
Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music 1918–1964 (Chris Bourke, Auckland University Press) design by Spencer Levine (cover) & Katrina Duncan (interior).
Hachette New Zealand Award for Best Non-Illustrated Book
The Great Wrong War: New Zealand Society in WWI (Stevan Eldred-Grigg, Random House NZ) design by Pieta Brenton.
Pearson Award for Best Educational Book
School Journal Part 3 Number 3 2010 (Learning Media Te Pou Taki Kōrero) design by Jodi Wicksteed.
Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book
Hill and Hole (Kyle Mewburn & Vasanti Unka, Penguin NZ) design by Vasanti Unka.

See the shortlisted books here.

CBCA winners

The winners of this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards were announced today.

The winners and honour books in each of the categories are:

Older Readers


  • The Midnight Zoo (Sonya Hartnett, Viking).

Honour books:

  • Graffiti Moon (Cath Crowley, Pan Macmillan)
  • The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher (Doug MacLeod, Penguin).


Younger Readers


  • The Red Wind (Isobelle Carmody, Viking).

Honour books:

  • Just a Dog (Michael Gerard Bauer, Omnibus)—read the review
  • Violet Mackerel’s Brillant Plot (Anna Branford & Sarah Davis, Walker Books)—read the review.


Early Childhood


  • Maudie and Bear (Jan Ormerod & Freya Blackwood, Little Hare)—read the review.

Honour books:

  • The Tall Man and the Twelve Babies (Tom Niland Champion, Kilmeny Niland & Deborah Niland, A&U)—read the review
  • Look See, Look at Me! (Leonie Norrington & Dee Huxley, A&U).


Picture Book of the Year

Joint winners:

Honour books:

  • Why I Love Australia (Bronwyn Bancroft, Little Hare)—read the review
  • My Uncle’s Donkey (Tohby Riddle, Viking).


Eve Pownall Award for Information Books


  • The Return of the Word Spy (Ursula Dubosarsky & Tohby Riddle, Viking)—read the review.

Honour books:

  • Drawn from the Heart: A Memoir (Ron Brooks, A&U)
  • Our World: Bardi Jaawi Life at Ardiyooloon (One Arm Point Remote Community School, Magabala Books)

BOOK REVIEW: The Hard Light of Day (Rod Moss, UQP)

Shortly after Rod Moss moved to Alice Springs, he met a black couple living in the gully behind his flat. Giving them access to water for their billy widened into a friendship that took in a clan. Over the next 25 years, Moss lived, taught and painted on the lands of the Eastern Arrernte. Sadly, he also attended 60 funerals. This memoir’s title is drawn from a gloss accompanying the author’s painting, Raft. Patterned after Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa, here it depicts five Arrernte men and women and decries the vicissitudes of grog in ‘the Alice’. Without an agenda, this book is Moss’ own beautifully written story, and while he barely conceals his exasperation at so many premature deaths, it’s also a positive recollection of his deep and personal friendship with the elder Arranye (‘Ah-run-yah’), who lived to something resembling old age, 71. This book’s careful design––with its jacket of a black snake (Moss is associated with this animal) on red ochre sand––is further enhanced by the reproduction of 40 of Moss’ startling artworks and their accompanying gloss. Mention should also be made of Raft, the memoir by Moss’ good friend Howard Goldenberg (Hybrid), published last year.

Michael Kitson is a bookseller at the Sun Bookshop Yarraville. This review first appeared in the April 2010 issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine.

The Hard Light of Day is the winner of the nonfiction award in the 2011 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.