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The Matt Richell Award for New Writer (2015-)
Subcategory of Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA)
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Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

winner y separately published work icon The Coconut Children Vivian Pham , Sydney : Sydney Story Factory , 2017 23273319 2017 single work novel

'Sonny and Vince have always known each other. It took two years of juvie, a crazy mother (her), a violent father (him) and a porn stash for them to meet again.

'Sonny is in her last year of school and with protective parents she is forced to watch the world from her bedroom window. She has a habit of falling hopelessly in love with just about anyone. Vince is handsome, brash, a leader in the gangs, who became a legend after he was taken away by juvenile justice two years ago. Now, Vince is back. One problem – they have not been friends since they were children. Growing up in the vertigo of 1990's Cabramatta, of households which harbour histories and parents who are difficult to love, they stumble upon each other once more.

'While sharing the ugly and scary details of Western Sydney in this time, Vivian Pham also illuminates the beauty, hope, possibility, kindness and love that can spring from small gestures and strong friendships.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon Your Own Kind of Girl : A Memoir Clare Bowditch , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2019 17061044 2019 single work autobiography

'Clare Bowditch has always had a knack for telling stories. Through her music and performing, this beloved Australian artist has touched hundreds of thousands of lives. But what of the stories she used to tell herself? That 'real life' only begins once you're thin or beautiful, that good things only happen to other people.

'Your Own Kind of Girl reveals a childhood punctuated by grief, anxiety and compulsion and tells how these forces shaped Clare's life for better and for worse. This is a heart-breaking, wise and at times playful memoir. Clare's own story told raw and as it happened. A reminder that even on the darkest of nights, victory is closer than it seems.

'With startling candour, Clare lays bare her truth in the hope that doing so will inspire anyone who's ever done battle with their inner critic. This is the work of a woman who has found her true power— and wants to pass it on. Happiness, we discover, is only possible when we take charge of the stories we tell ourselves.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Boy Swallows Universe Trent Dalton , Sydney South : Fourth Estate , 2018 13529833 2018 single work novel

'Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer.

'But if Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon Nevermoor : The Trials of Morrigan Crow Jessica Townsend , Sydney : Lothian , 2017 11160400 2017 single work children's fiction children's fantasy

'Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart–an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests–or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2016

winner y separately published work icon Salt Creek Lucy Treloar , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2015 8775071 2015 single work novel historical fiction

'Salt Creek is set in the Coorong in the 1850s: a remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region in the new province of South Australia, which has been opened to graziers willing to chance their luck. Among them are Stanton Finch and his family, including sixteen-year-old Hester Finch.

'Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the travellers passing along the nearby stock route - among them a young artist, Charles - and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Hester witnesses the destruction of their subtle culture and begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

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