The Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) are a big deal. Think the Academy Awards of the Australian book world. See … a big deal. So when an author is bestowed an ABIA award, you know they’ve penned something magnificent, something worthy of you cancelling your weekend plans and holing up, doing nothing but devouring their book.
Care to know who you’re cancelling your weekend plans for?
First-time author, Magda Szubanski, won the gold ABIA for Book of the Year, right after winning Biography Book of the Year for Reckoning. In this book, Szubanski reveals her extraordinary story of self-discovery, from a suburban childhood haunted by the demons of her father’s espionage activities in wartime Poland, to the discovery of her sexuality along with the complex dramas of adulthood and the desire to uncover the truth about herself and her family.
Acclaimed novelist Tim Winton’s debut work of non-fiction, Island Home: a landscape memoir, won the ABIA for Non-fiction Book of the Year. Winton explores the way an Australian landscape has determined his ideas, his writing and his life.
Rachael John’s The Patterson Girls won General Fiction of the Year for her contemporary romance mystery novel about four sisters. Johns, an English teacher in WA, focuses on rural romance and has been a finalist in several Australian romance writing awards.
Andy Griffiths has once again won Book of the Year for Younger Readers with The 65-Storey Treehouse, wittily illustrated by Terry Denton. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff won the Book of the Year for Older Children with Illuminae.
Young Sydney writer Stephanie Bishop has cemented her status as a rising literary talent, by taking out Literary Fiction Book of the Year for The Other Side of the World; Lucy Treloar won the Matt Richell Award for New Writer for Salt Creek.
Illustrated Book of the Year was won by Lola Berry, author of The Happy Cookbook, whilst International Book of the Year was won by Giulia Enders, author of Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ.
Among other awards, the Pixie O’Harris Award for contribution to children’s literature went to author Jackie French, and the Lloyd O’Neill for contribution to the book industry went to the late Brian Johns, who held many positions from Penguin publisher to chairman of the Copyright Agency.
And guess what? Booktopia also won an award! We won the National Book Retailer of the Year Award (jointly with Dymocks). The award sits proudly with our two other ABIAs – 2014 and 2015 Online Book Retailer of the Year.