AustLit logo
Best Designed Commercial Fiction Cover
Subcategory of Australian Publishers Association Awards APA Book Design Awards
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

Winners

2020 winner y separately published work icon The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone Felicity McLean , Sydney : HarperCollins Australia , 2019 14974949 2019 single work novel mystery

'A compulsive, note-perfect debut for fans of The Virgin Suicides and Picnic at Hanging Rock

''We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn't the one we were trying to recall to begin with.'

'Tikka Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in a distant suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – mysteriously disappeared during the school's Showstopper concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river.  Did they run away? Were they taken?  While the search for the sisters unites the small community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved.

'Now, years later, Tikka has returned home, to try to make sense of that strange moment in time. The summer that shaped her.  The girls that she never forgot. 

'Brilliantly observed, spiky, sharp, funny and unexpectedly endearing, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – with a dark shimmering unexplained absence at its heart. '  (Publication summary)

Cover designed by Mark Campbell
2019 winner y separately published work icon Dinner with the Dissidents John Tesarsch , South Melbourne : Affirm Press , 2018 14733686 2018 single work novel

'It is 1970, and the Kremlin is struggling to quell dissent. Though censored at home, Alexander Solzhenitsyn is lauded in the West for exposing the underbelly of communism. Now the Nobel laureate is rumoured to be writing his most devastating work yet.

'The KGB turns to Leonid Krasnov, an aspiring young writer. It promises to make him Moscow’s next literary star if he can infiltrate Solzhenitsyn’s inner circle and uncover what the great author is hiding. At first Leonid complies, but when he falls in love with Klara, a dissident musician, his allegiances waver. By then he is enmeshed in a plot that is more sinister than he could ever have imagined.

'Many years later, Leonid is a recluse living in Canberra under an assumed name. Haunted by his past, he seeks one last, desperate chance to make amends.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2014 winner y separately published work icon The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2013 Z1863383 2013 single work novel humour

'Don Tillman is a forty-year-old geneticist with undiagnosed Aspergers. When he wants to find a partner, he approaches the project the only way he knows - systematically. He creates a questionnaire designed to find the perfect woman - a punctual, non-drinking, non-smoking female who will fit in with his regimented lifestyle. When Rosie appears on the scene, she fits none of Don's criteria - but she does turn his life upside down.'

Source: Wheeler Centre website,
Sighted: 28/05/2012

2012 winner y separately published work icon Love in the Years of Lunacy Mandy Sayer , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2011 Z1775602 2011 single work novel historical fiction 'Sydney, 1942. Pearl is eighteen, beautiful and impetuous. She plays saxophone in an all-girl jazz band at the Trocadero and occasionally sits in on underground gigs with her twin brother Martin, who also plays the sax. On one such evening black GI and jazz legend James Washington blows into her life, and nothing is ever the same again, especially not Pearl.

'A love story begins to unfold against the blacked-out nights and rumour-filled days of a city in the grip of war. But public events are closing in on Pearl's private world. When James is shipped out to fight in New Guinea, she hatches a breathtaking plan to reunite with him. And then all hell breaks loose.

'Moving, tender and audaciously original, Love in the Years of Lunacy is a love story with a haunting jazz soundtrack and a war story like no other.' (From the publisher's website.)
designed by Emily O'Neill
X