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Australian Literary Fiction Book of the Year (2006-)
Subcategory of Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA)
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Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

winner y separately published work icon A Lonely Girl Is a Dangerous Thing Jessie Tu , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2020 19295097 2020 single work novel

'Jena Chung plays the violin. She was once a child prodigy and is now addicted to sex. She's struggling a little. Her professional life comprises rehearsals, concerts, auditions and relentless practice; her personal life is spent managing family demands, those of her creative friends, and lots of sex. And then she meets Mark—much older and worldly-wise—who bewitches her. Could this be love? When Jena wins an internship with the New York Philharmonic, she thinks the life she has dreamed of is about to begin. But when Trump is elected, New York changes irrevocably and Jena along with it. She comes to learn that there are many different ways to live and love and that no one has the how-to guide for any of it—not even her indomitable mother.

'A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing unflinchingly explores the confusion of having expectations upturned, and the awkwardness and pain of being human in our increasingly dislocated world—and how, in spite of all this, we still try to become the person we want to be. It is a dazzling, original and astounding debut from a young writer with a fierce, intelligent and fearless new voice.

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon The Weekend Charlotte Wood , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2019 16866680 2019 single work novel

'The brilliant new novel from Charlotte Wood, acclaimed author of The Natural Way of Things .

'People went on about death bringing friends together, but it wasn't true. The graveyard, the stony dirt - that's what it was like now. They knew each other better than their own siblings, but Sylvie's death had opened up strange caverns of distance between them.

'Four older women with a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her?

'They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur, Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual, and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they've remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for Christmas at Sylvie's old beach house - not for festivities, but to clean the place out before it is sold.

'Without Sylvie to maintain the group's delicate equilibrium, frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface - and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.

'The Weekend explores growing old and growing up, and what happens when we're forced to uncover the lies we tell ourselves. Sharply observed and excruciatingly funny, this is a jewel of a book, a celebration of tenderness and friendship that is nothing short of a masterpiece.'  (Publication summary)

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 See What I Have Done Sarah Schmidt , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2017 9926885 2017 single work novel crime thriller

'When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden - thirty two years old and still living at home - immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

'Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie's unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie's uncle to take care of a problem.

'This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2017

winner y separately published work icon The Last Painting of Sara de Vos Dominic Smith , New York (City) : Sarah Crichton Books , 2016 9187015 2016 single work novel historical fiction

'This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can't shake them, even long after the reading's done. In his earlier, award-winning novels, Dominic Smith demonstrated a gift for coaxing the past to life. Now, in The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, he deftly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the golden age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.

'In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain–a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerizes while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.' (Publication summary)

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