“So @Gloria Steinem just presented me w #ABIAwards2016 #BiographyoftheYear. Honestly, if I died now, I would not care…” – Magda Szubanski tweets at tonight’s ABIA Awards.
The 2016 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) have just been announced at a gala ceremony at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney tonight.
And the overall winner for Book of the Year goes to the wonderful Magda Szubanski for her beautiful and compelling memoir, Reckoning (Text Publishing). See our review of Reckoning here, a 2015 Better Reading Book of the Week. Reckoning also took out the prize for Best Biography Book of the Year.
That will be a relief to Rosie Waterland who conceded early on that she thought Magda would beat her to the Biography Book of the Year and she was happy just to drink a lot… In an ABIA and Better Reading first we live-streamed interviews with many of the nominees direct to our Facebook Page – featuring interviews with the fabulous Rosie Waterland, nominated for both Best Biography and Best New Writer for The Anti-Cool Girl; the legendary Gloria Steinem and the woman herself, Magda Szubanski!
This is the flagship event for the Australian Book Industry, showcasing its vast talent. A dazzling array of A-list presenters from Australia and around the world were there to present the awards, including Richard Flanagan, Jonathan Franzen, Gloria Steinem, Thomas Keneally, Jeanette Winterson, with comedian Kitty Flanagan MC on the night.
The guest list read like a who’s who of the publishing industry and the diverse national judging panel featured representatives from all sectors of the book industry — small and large publishers; traditional and digital retailers; media and festival organisers.
Other winners tonight were The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop (Hachette) for Literary Fiction Book of the Year. A 2015 Better Reading Book of the Week, our review of The Other Side of the World can be found here.
Taking out the General Fiction Book of the Year was The Patterson Girls by the lovely Rachael Johns (Harlequin). Also a 2015 Better Reading Book of the Week, you can find our review of The Patterson Girls here.
The Matt Richell Award for the New Writer of the Year was won by Lucy Treloar for her beautiful novel, Salt Creek.
The General Non-fiction Book of the Year went to Tim Winton’s passionate homage to his country, Island Home (Penguin Random House).
The Award for International Book of the Year went to the intriguing Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ by Giulia Enders.
The 65-Storey Treehouse (Pan Macmillan) by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton, won Book of the Year for Younger Children while Book of the Year for Older Children was Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin).
The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Colpoys won Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year.
All Fall Down by Matthew Condon (UQP, University of Queensland Press) won Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year.
The winner of the Pixie O’Harris Award for service to Australian children’s books is Jackie French. French (and Winton and Flanagan) gave voice to what many were thinking on the night, with a rousing speech warning of government changes to copyright and book importation that could have serious implications for the Australian publishing industry: “Malcolm Turnbull will you be our book thief?” Go Jackie!
For more on the ABIA Awards and winners visit the ABIA website.
See our Facebook Page for our live coverage on the night.
For more on the author’s speeches and proposed changes to the Australian copyright and book importation see this Guardian Australia article.