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Best Novel
Subcategory of Ditmar Awards
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History

This particular award was first presented in 2000: it was preceded by an award for Australian Long Fiction.

Winners

2019 winner y separately published work icon City of Lies Sam Hawke , Sydney : Bantam Press , 2018 14050679 2018 single work novel fantasy

'I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me...

'Jovan wears two faces. Outwardly, he is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible heir. He’s quiet. Forgettable even. But in truth he is a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family. Then there is his sister, Kalina. She hides her frustrations behind a mask of serenity. While other women of the city holds positions of power and responsibility, her path is full of secrets and lies - some hidden even from her own brother.

'It's when the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city that the siblings' world begins to truly unravel. Trapped and desperate, they soon discover that the society into which they were born and grew up also possesses two faces - for behind the sophistication and the beauty lies an ugly truth - this is a world built on oppression and treachery ...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2018 winner y separately published work icon Crossroads of Canopy Thoraiya Dyer , New York (City) : Tor , 2017 10795460 2017 single work novel fantasy

'At the highest level of a giant forest, thirteen kingdoms fit seamlessly together to form the great city of Canopy. Thirteen goddesses and gods rule this realm and are continuously reincarnated into human bodies. Canopy's position in the sun, however, is not without its dark side. The nation's opulence comes from the labor of slaves, and below its fruitful boughs are two other realms: Understorey and Floor, whose deprived citizens yearn for Canopy's splendor. Unar, a determined but destitute young woman, escapes her parents' plot to sell her into slavery by being selected to serve in the Garden under the goddess Audblayin, ruler of growth and fertility. As a Gardener, she wishes to become Audblayin's next Bodyguard while also growing sympathetic towards Canopy's slaves. When Audblayin dies, Unar sees her opportunity for glory — at the risk of descending into the unknown dangers of Understorey to look for a newborn god. In its depths, she discovers new forms of magic, lost family connections, and murmurs of a revolution that could cost Unar her chance ... or grant it by destroying the home she loves.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2017 winner y separately published work icon The Grief Hole Kaaron Warren , Victoria : IFWG Publishing Inc , 2016 9436819 2016 single work novel horror

'There are many grief holes.

'There's the grief hole you fall into when a loved one dies.

'There's another grief hole in all of us; small or large, it determines how much we want to live.

'And there are the places, the physical grief holes, which attract suicides to their centre.

'Sol Evictus, a powerful, charismatic singer, sends a young artist into The Grief Hole to capture the faces of the teenagers dying there. When she inevitably dies herself, her cousin Theresa resolves to stop this man so many love.

'Theresa sees ghosts; she knows how you'll die by the spirits haunting you. If you'll drown, she'll see drowned people. Most often she sees battered women, because she works to find emergency housing for abused women.

'She sees no ghosts around Sol Evictus but she doesn't let that stop her. Her passion to help, to be a saint, drives her to find a way to destroy him.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2016 winner y separately published work icon Lament for the Afterlife Lisa L. Hannett , Toronto : ChiZine Publications , 2015 8841111 2015 single work novel fantasy

'No one knows when the war against the greys began. There are theories, speculations, but the only certainties are air-raids, abductions, and inner city explosions. Assaults are endless, swift and lethal; the enemy's stealth unsurpassed. Whispers have circulated for centuries, thoughts spinning from minds in visible wordwinds, clear for all to read, to wield, to steal. Where are the greys? When will they next strike? How can you attack something you can't see? And secretly, fearfully: Are the greys even real?

'Spanning decades, Lament for the Afterlife follows one man as he negotiates the hostile territory of life after combat. Peytr Borysson comes from a long line of soldiers, but isn't born for fighting. His 'wind is better shaped for poetry than bullets. Even so, at sixteen he follows the local boys into battle - and never quite leaves. Interweaving Peytr's struggles with those of his family, Lament for the Afterlife takes readers to the frontlines and far beyond, telling a story of ordinary people persisting in extraordinary circumstances.

'A novel of human survival, guilt, and the devastating power of memory, Lament for the Afterlife examines the physical and psychological distances we travel when beliefs are threatened - or held too tightly.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2015 joint winner y separately published work icon Thief's Magic Trudi Canavan , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2014 7445752 2014 single work novel fantasy

'A brand new series from the bestselling new fantasy author of the last decade

'In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen's world faces.

'Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer's daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it - should she dare to risk the Angels' wrath.

'But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands.

'Not even the people they trust.' (Publication summary)

2015 joint winner y separately published work icon The Lascar's Dagger Glenda Larke , London : Orbit , 2013 8193598 2013 single work novel fantasy young adult

'Saker appears to be a simple priest, but in truth he's a spy for the head of his faith. Wounded in the line of duty by a Lascar sailor's blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility it brings, Saker can only follow its lead. The dagger puts Saker on a journey to distant shores, on a path that will reveal terrible secrets about the empire, about the people he serves, and destroy the life he knows. The Lascar's dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2014 winner y separately published work icon Fragments of a Broken Land : Vararl Undead : A Fantasy Novel Robert Hood , United Kingdom (UK) : Borgo Press , 2013 Z1930139 2013 single work novel fantasy
In a place where no stars appear in the night sky, a group of strangers whose ancestries reach back to an earlier apocalyptic disaster are brought together to track down a resurrected corpse that might hold the key to the End of the World. Described by science fiction legend Jack Dann as "one of the strangest and most interesting visions to come out of the modern horror/fantasy genres," acclaimed author Robert Hood's Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead is an epic tale of greed, dying magic, strange monsters, and a motley group of heroes, with a strange and breathless climax you won't easily forget. The dark fantasy novel debut of a major new writer!
2013 winner y separately published work icon Sea Hearts Margo Lanagan , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012 Z1836289 2012 single work novel fantasy young adult (taught in 4 units)

'On remote Rollrock Island, the sea-witch Misskaella discovers she can draw a girl from the heart of a seal. So, for a price, any man might buy himself a bride; an irresistibly enchanting sea-wife. But what cost will be borne by the people of Rollrock - the men, the women, the children - once Misskaella sets her heart on doing such a thing?'

—Publisher's website

2012 winner y separately published work icon The Courier's New Bicycle Kim Westwood , Pymble : Voyager , 2011 Z1797363 2011 single work novel science fiction fantasy 'Salisbury Forth is a courier of contraband in the alleyways of inner Melbourne, a city of fuel rationing, rolling power outages and curfews.

'It′s a stressful life, post-pandemic. A vaccine dispensed Australia-wide is causing mass infertility, and the government has banned all remedies except prayer.

'Vigilantes prowl for transgressors while the pious gather like moths under the streetlights at dusk. Then someone starts trading tainted hormones on the boss's patch. Salisbury must find whoever is trying to destroy the business before everything goes belly up ...' (From the publisher's website.)
2011 winner y separately published work icon Power and Majesty Tansy Rayner Roberts , Pymble : Voyager , 2010 Z1704002 2010 single work novel fantasy (taught in 1 units)

'She almost missed the sight of a naked youth falling out of the sky. He was long and lean and muscled ... He was also completely off his face.

'A war is being fought in the skies over the city of Aufleur. No one sees the battles. No one knows how close they come to destruction every time the sun sets.

'During daylight, all is well, but when nox falls and the sky turns bright, someone has to step up and lead the Creature Court into battle.

'Twelve years ago, Garnet kissed Velody and stole her magic. Five years ago, he betrayed Ashiol, and took his powers by force. But now the Creature Court is at a crossroads ... they need a Power and Majesty who won′t give up or lose themselves in madness ...' (From the publisher's website.)

2010 winner y separately published work icon Slights Kaaron Warren , London : Angry Robot , 2009 Z1621190 2009 single work novel horror

'STEVIE IS A KILLER.

'But she brings her victims back to life to demand of them: "WHAT DO YOU SEE?"

'Now she's about to find out for herself...

'After an accident in which her mother dies, Stevie has a near-death experience, and finds herself in a room full of people - everyone she's ever annoyed. They clutch at her, scratch and tear at her. But she finds herself drawn back to this place, again and again, determined to unlock its secrets. Which means she has to die, again and again. And Stevie starts to wonder whether other people see the same room... when they die.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2009 winner y separately published work icon Tender Morsels Margo Lanagan , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2008 Z1522899 2008 single work novel fantasy (taught in 2 units)

'Tender Morsels is a dark and vivid story, set in two worlds and worrying at the border between them. It is a gloriously told tale of journeys and transformations, penetrating the boundaries between male and female, reality and myth, conscious and unconscious, temporal and spiritual, human and beast.

'Liga lives modestly in her own personal heaven, given to her by natural magic and in exchange for her earthly life. Her two daughters, gentle Branza and curious Urdda, grow up in this harmonious world, protected from the violence and village prejudice that once made their mother's life unendurable.

'But the real world cannot be denied forever, and gradually the borders break down between Liga's refuge and the place from which she escaped. Having known heaven, how will Liga and her daughters survive back in the world where beauty cannot be separated from cruelty? How far can you take your fantasies before they grow dangerous? How fully can you protect your children, and how completely should you?' (Publisher's blurb)

2007 winner y separately published work icon The Pilo Family Circus Will Elliott , Sydney : ABC Books , 2006 Z1254794 2006 single work novel horror fantasy (taught in 2 units)

Jamie is plunged into the horrific alternative universe that is the centuries-old Pilo Family Circus, a borderline world between hell and earth from which humankind's greatest tragedies have been perpetrated. Yet in this place peopled by the gruesome, grotesque and monstrous, where violence and savagery are the norm, Jamie finds that his worst enemy is himself - for when he applies the white paint, he is transformed into JJ, the most vicious clown of all. And JJ wants Jamie dead... (back cover)

2006 winner y separately published work icon Ascent Sean Williams , Shane Dix , Pymble : Voyager , 2005 Z1191031 2005 single work novel science fiction
2005 winner y separately published work icon The Crooked Letter Sean Williams , Pymble : Voyager , 2004 Z1137359 2004 single work novel crime fantasy

'When mirror twins Seth and Hadrian Castillo travel to Europe on holidays, they don’t expect the end of the world to follow them. Seth’s murder, however, puts exactly that into motion.

'From opposite sides of death, the Castillo twins grapple with a reality neither of them suspected, although it has been encoded in myths and legends for millennia. The Earth we know is just one of many "realms", three of which are inhabited by humans during various stages of their lives. And their afterlives...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2004 winner y separately published work icon The Etched City Kirsten Bishop , Canton : Prime Books , 2003 Z1044282 2003 single work novel horror fantasy
2003 winner y separately published work icon Echoes of Earth Sean Williams , Shane Dix , Pymble : HarperCollins , 2002 Z970241 2002 single work novel science fiction horror fantasy
2002 winner y separately published work icon Lirael : Daughter of the Clayr Garth Nix , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2001 Z816641 2001 single work novel young adult fantasy "Dark forces are abroad once more in the Old Kingdom. Lirael, solitary daughter of the Clayr, and Sameth, the reluctant Abhorsen-in-Waiting, both seek the same man who may hold the key to an ancient evil stirring in the West. But the Dead cannot be laid to rest until the strange secret linking the fate of Lirael and Sameth is revealed." (Source: Allen & Unwin)
2001 winner y separately published work icon The Dying Light Sean Williams , Shane Dix , Pymble : Voyager , 2000 Z797707 2000 single work novel science fiction

Morgan Roche had been an intelligence agent for the Commonwealth of Empires when she turned renegade to determine the truth about a man named Adoni Cane. The answer - that he is one of the genetically enhanced warriors called the Sol Wunderkind - shook the foundations of her world.

Now Roche is faced with an even more frightening fact - Cane may not be the last of his kind. A system has vanished, leaving only a terrible emptiness in space. Word spreads across the galaxy that the Sol Wunderkind have returned. (Publisher's blurb, back cover).

2000 winner y separately published work icon Teranesia Greg Egan , London : Gollancz , 1999 Z855220 1999 single work novel science fiction
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