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Australian Book Industry Awards 2018: Star-studded night features Julia Gillard, best Australian authors and overseas guests

May 4, 2018

Known as the ‘Oscars’ of the book industry, the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) 2018 were held in Sydney last night with a star-studded cast of authors and dignitaries,  including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Pulitzer Prize-winning US author Jennifer Egan (pictured right).

The gala dinner was hosted by ABC TV’s Ben Jenkins and Zoe NortonLodge. The awards were judged by an academy of over 250 respected publishing industry figures to celebrate the best of Australian writing, publishing and bookselling.

One of the biggest winners of the night was Australian publishing sensation Jessica Townsend for her children’s fantasy debut Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Hachette Australia).

Nevermoor picked up three awards including the major award of the night, The Gold ABIA for the Book of the Year, along with the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year and Book of the Year for Younger Readers (7-13).

Jessica (pictured below receiving the award from Julia Gillard) gave a humorous and humble speech in which she said receiving awards was familiar territory as she’d once won ‘Most Compliant Employee Award’ in a previous job.

For the second year in a row, the Biography Book of the Year was awarded to music legend Jimmy Barnes for the second instalment of his bestselling autobiography, Working Class Man (HarperCollins), with sales of over 120,000 copies.

Michael Robotham, took home the General Fiction Book of the Year for his thriller, The Secrets She Keeps (Hachette Australia). In his moving speech he revealed that only five weeks ago he had undergone major heart surgery. His surgeon, he said, would not have been too pleased about all the excitement of the night!

Hachette Australia were big winners of the night. Another of their books took out Literary Fiction of the Year – Sarah Schmidt’s haunting re-imagining of the Lizzie Borden murders, See What I Have Done (Hachette Australia).

General NonFiction Book of the Year was awarded to The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster, by Sarah Krasnostein (Text Publishing).

Suzy Wilson, owner of Brisbane’s Riverbend Books and the founder of the groundbreaking Indigenous Literary Foundation (ILF), was awarded the Lloyd O’Neil Award for Outstanding Service to the Australian Book Industry, presented by ILF patron Dame Quentin Bryce. Bryce’s homage to Wilson’s tireless efforts in bringing books to remote communities brought the crowd to its feet.

The Pixie O’Harris Award for Outstanding Commitment to Children’s Literature was awarded to Jane Covernton. The award was presented by legendary children’s writer Mem Fox. Fox paid tribute to Conventon for taking up her now iconic Possum Magic following numerous rejections.

Illustrated Book of the Year went to Maggie’s Recipe for Life, Maggie Beer and Professor Ralph Martins (A Julie Gibbs Book for Simon & Schuster Australia, Simon & Schuster Australia). In her delightful speech Beer thanks her good fortune in meeting Martins and paid tribute to their fortuitous friendship.

International Book of the Year, presented by Jennifer Egan who had just flown in from New York, went to Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesa Cavallo (Penguin Random House Australia).

Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year went to The Australian Bird Guide, Peter Menkhorst, Danny Rogers, Rohan Clarke, Jeff Davies, Peter Marsack and Kim Franklin (CSIRO Publishing, CSIRO Publishing)

We’re delighted that our Podcast sponsor, Bolinda audio, won the award for Audiobook of the Year for The 91-Storey Treehouse, written and illustrated by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton, and narrated by Stig Weymss. In her acceptance speech Bolinda audio’s Rebecca Hermann paid tribute to the truck drivers and parents who have long been dedicated to audio books. She urged others to do the same because, as those who have discovered them know, audio books ‘change lives’.

Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year was won by It’s OK to Feel the Way You Do, Josh Langley (Big Sky Publishing, Big Sky Publishing)

Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+) was Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)

Children’s Picture Book of the Year (ages 0-6) was won by No One Likes a Fart, Zoë Foster Blake (Viking – AU YR, Penguin Random House Australia)

Publisher of the Year: HarperCollins Publishers

Small Publisher of the Year: Thames & Hudson

Australia National Retailer: Dymocks

Independent Retailer: Readings

Rising Star of the Year Shalini Kunahlan (Marketing Manager, Text Publishing)


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