Each year, the who’s who of the Australian book industry walks the red carpet and into an evening of awards, recognition and entertainment, with the Australian Book Industry Awards. But this year the event was a little different. Like many events, celebrations and get-togethers in 2020, this was a first.
Yesterday afternoon the book industry’s night of nights was held in true COVID-19 form, with an online ceremony. The 2020 ABIA Awards were streamed live on Youtube, where winners were toasted, writers celebrated, and history made.
Rather than don a dress and head out for the evening, the Better Reading team, each isolated at home, poured a glass of bubbly and watched as Casey Bennetto did a great job hosting under these strange circumstances, and while awards were presented by, among others, Judy Nunn, Kitty Flanagan, Leigh Sales, Anita Heiss (LOVED what she was wearing), Julia Gillard, Richard Harris, Andrew Daddo and Michael O’Loughlin. 19 Book, Audiobook and Business Awards were given out at the event that not only showcased the collaborative efforts of authors and industry professionals, but also enabled thousands across the globe to experience the ABIAs in a brand-new way. If you missed the event, you can still watch it here.
One of the highlights of the event was watching Helen Garner receive the Lloyd O’Neill Award for outstanding contribution to the industry and Erica Wagner receive the Pixie O’Harris Award for consistent contribution to Children’s Literature. Both have contributed a lifetime of outstanding work to the Industry.
And of course, the big surprise and another first for the ABIA Awards was that for the first time ever, a children’s book won Book of the Year, with Bluey: The Beach (Penguin Random House Australia, Puffin) taking out the top award.
ABC Kids’ Bluey is Australia’s most popular children’s television show about a family of Aussie heelers. Produced by Brisbane-based Ludo Studio, it recently won an International Emmy Kids Award celebrating the world’s best content for young viewers. It’s the most-watched program in the history of ABC iview, has won a Logie Award, AACTA award and two Screen Producers Australia awards, and now, to add to that impressive list of accolades, Bluey: The Beach won the prestigious ABIA Book of the Year award.
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