BOOK NEWS: Winners Announced for the Indie Book Awards 2021

BOOK NEWS: Winners Announced for the Indie Book Awards 2021

Celebrating the best Australian writing

Australian independent booksellers are thrilled to announce The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press) as their favourite book from last year, and the winner of The Indie Book Awards 2021 Book of the Year.

Other winners are:

OVERALL WINNER: BOOK OF THE YEAR:

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press)

FICTION:

Honeybee by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)

NON-FICTION:

Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (Fourth Estate Australia)

DEBUT FICTION:

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press)

ILLUSTRATED NON-FICTION:

Plantopedia by Lauren Camilleri & Sophia Kaplan (Smith Street Books) 

CHILDREN’S:

The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor (Affirm Press)

YOUNG ADULT:

This One is Ours by Kate O’Donnell (University of Queensland Press)

We’re thrilled for all the winners and in particular Pip Williams. The Dictionary of Lost Words is a favourite with our readers.

Bookseller judge Katherine Downey (from The Leaf Bookshop) commented on William’s novel: “Exceptionally satisfying. Williams transports us to nineteenth century England with confidence and panache and to the workings of the scriptorium with an attention to detail that reveals the depth of her research. The fight for women’s rights informs this novel and the author’s ability to present an array of different female characters, of diverse backgrounds, ages and expectations leads to a rich and layered narrative that is superbly composed.”

Early this year* Affirm Press reported a bestselling milestone: The Dictionary of Lost Words had reached sales of over 100,000 copies across its two formats in the 41 weeks since publication in March 2020. The only Australian fiction title to reach this milestone in fewer than 41 weeks is The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris, Echo) at 37 weeks, while Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton, Fourth Estate) took 48 weeks.

*source, Books + Publishing, 18 January 2021

On winning the Award, Pip Williams said:

“I am overjoyed that The Dictionary of Lost Words is the winner of the Indie Book Awards 2021 Book of the Year, and I’d like to say why.

The Dictionary of Lost Words was published just days into Australia’s first pandemic lockdown. The timing was awful for a debut novel and I lowered all expectations that my book would find its tribe of readers. But then something wonderful happened – independent booksellers refused to shut up shop. While their doors might have been closed, they found myriad ways to get books into the hands of people who would enjoy them, perhaps even need them, during the long weeks of isolation. As a reader and a writer, I was enormously grateful.

Australian independent booksellers helped my novel thrive at a time when it seemed least likely. If I were in the business of giving out awards for outstanding achievement in 2020, independent booksellers would be at the top of the list. For this reason, it is a particularly special honour that The Dictionary of Lost Words has been chosen as the 2021 Indie Book of the Year.”

For more on the Indie awards, click here.

Reviews

Find out the magic behind The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Review | Author Related

16 October 2020

Find out the magic behind The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Magic of yesteryear: Take a sneak peak at The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Review | Extract

7 October 2020

Magic of yesteryear: Take a sneak peak at The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Coles Book Arcade comes to life! Read our review for The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Review | Our Review

6 October 2020

Coles Book Arcade comes to life! Read our review for The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Honest and Profoundly Moving: Read an Extract from Honeybee by Craig Silvey

Review | Extract

30 September 2020

Honest and Profoundly Moving: Read an Extract from Honeybee by Craig Silvey

    Read About the Incredible Story Behind Craig Silvey's New Book, Honeybee

    Review | Author Related

    28 September 2020

    Read About the Incredible Story Behind Craig Silvey's New Book, Honeybee

      Tender and Heartfelt: Read our Review of Honeybee by Craig Silvey

      Review | Our Review

      28 September 2020

      Tender and Heartfelt: Read our Review of Honeybee by Craig Silvey

        Everyone is Talking about The Dictionary of Lost Words By Pip Williams. Here, Pip Has Her Say

        Review | Author Related

        11 May 2020

        Everyone is Talking about The Dictionary of Lost Words By Pip Williams. Here, Pip Has Her Say

          A Thought-Provoking Celebration of Words: Take a Sneak Peek at The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

          Review | Extract

          5 May 2020

          A Thought-Provoking Celebration of Words: Take a Sneak Peek at The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

            The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams is Absolutely Extraordinary

            Review | Our Review

            27 April 2020

            The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams is Absolutely Extraordinary

              Preview Reviews: Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

              Review | Preview

              20 April 2020

              Preview Reviews: Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

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                          Publisher details

                          The Grandest Bookshop in the World
                          Author
                          Amelia Mellor
                          Publisher
                          Affirm Press
                          Genre
                          Children’s Fiction
                          Released
                          29 September, 2020

                          Synopsis

                          Pearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop. In 1893, Cole’s Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father.When Pearl and Vally learn that Pa has risked the Arcade – and himself – in a shocking deal with the mysterious Obscurosmith, the siblings hatch a plan. Soon they are swept into a dangerous game with impossibly high stakes: defeat seven challenges by the stroke of midnight and both the Arcade and their father will be restored. But if they fail Pearl and Vally won’t just lose Pa – they’ll forget that he and the Arcade ever existed.

                          Publisher details

                          Honeybee
                          Author
                          Craig Silvey
                          Publisher
                          Allen & Unwin
                          Genre
                          Fiction
                          Released
                          29 September, 2020

                          Synopsis

                          #7 in Better Reading's Top 100 2021... 'Find out who you are, and live that life.' Late in the night, fourteen-year-old Sam Watson steps onto a quiet overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down at the road far below. At the other end of the same bridge, an old man, Vic, smokes his last cigarette. The two see each other across the void. A fateful connection is made, and an unlikely friendship blooms. Slowly, we learn what led Sam and Vic to the bridge that night. Bonded by their suffering, each privately commits to the impossible task of saving the other. Honeybee is a heart-breaking, life-affirming novel that throws us headlong into a world of petty thefts, extortion plots, botched bank robberies, daring dog rescues and one spectacular drag show. At the heart of Honeybee is Sam: a solitary, resilient young person battling to navigate the world as their true self; ensnared by a loyalty to a troubled mother, scarred by the volatility of a domineering step-father, and confounded by the kindness of new alliances. Honeybee is a tender, profoundly moving novel brimming with vivid characters and luminous words. It's about two lives forever changed by a chance encounter – one offering hope, the other redemption. It's about when to persevere, and when to be merciful, as Sam learns when to let go, and when to hold on.

                          Synopsis

                          #8 in Better Reading's Top 100 2021... Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word bondmaid flutter to the floor unclaimed. Esme seizes the word and hides it in an old wooden trunk that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world. Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. Set when the women’s suffrage movement was at its height and the Great War loomed, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. It’s a delightful, lyrical and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words, and the power of language to shape our experience of the world.

                          Synopsis

                          A beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness - the 'light within' that Julia Baird calls 'phosphorescence' - which will sustain us even through the darkest times.Over the last decade, we have become better at knowing what brings us contentment, well-being and joy. We know, for example, that there are a few core truths to science of happiness. We know that being kind and altruistic makes us happy, that turning off devices, talking to people, forging relationships, living with meaning and delving into the concerns of others offer our best chance at achieving happiness. But how do we retain happiness? It often slips out of our hands as quickly as we find it. So, when we are exposed to, or learn, good things, how do we continue to burn with them?And more than that, when our world goes dark, when we're overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, how do we survive, stay alive or even bloom? In the muck and grit of a daily existence full of disappointments and a disturbing lack of control over many of the things that matter most - finite relationships, fragile health, fraying economies, a planet in peril - how do we find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light - a light to ward off the darkness?Absorbing, achingly beautiful, inspiring and deeply moving, Julia Baird has written exactly the book we need for these times.

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