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Australian General 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 The Dictionary of Lost Words Pip Williams , South Melbourne : Affirm Press , 2020 18575183 2020 single work novel historical fiction

'Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the ‘Scriptorium’, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word ‘bondmaid’ flutters to the floor. Esme rescues the slip and stashes it in an old wooden case that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.

'Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. While she dedicates her life to the Oxford English Dictionary, secretly, she begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.' (Publication summary) 

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon Bruny Heather Rose , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2019 16850614 2019 single work novel

'How far would your government go?

'A right-wing US president has withdrawn America from the Middle East and the UN. Daesh has a thoroughfare to the sea and China is Australia's newest ally. When a bomb goes off in remote Tasmania, Astrid Coleman agrees to return home to help her brother before an upcoming election. But this is no simple task. Her brother and sister are on either side of politics, the community is full of conspiracy theories, and her father is quoting Shakespeare. Only on Bruny does the world seem sane.

'Until Astrid discovers how far the government is willing to go.

'Bruny is a searing, subversive, brilliant novel about family, love, loyalty and the new world order.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart Holly Ringland , Australia : Fourth Estate , 2018 12341482 2018 single work novel

'The most enchanting debut novel of 2018, this is an irresistible, deeply moving and romantic story of a young girl, daughter of an abusive father, who has to learn the hard way that she can break the patterns of the past, live on her own terms and find her own strength.

'An enchanting and captivating novel, about how our untold stories haunt us - and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.

'After her family suffers a tragedy, nine-year-old Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic seaside home. She is taken in by her grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak.

'Under the watchful eye of June and the women who run the farm, Alice settles, but grows up increasingly frustrated by how little she knows of her family's story. In her early twenties, Alice's life is thrown into upheaval again when she suffers devastating betrayal and loss. Desperate to outrun grief, Alice flees to the dramatically beautiful central Australian desert. In this otherworldly landscape Alice thinks she has found solace, until she meets a charismatic and ultimately dangerous man.

'Spanning two decades, set between sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart follows Alice's unforgettable journey, as she learns that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon The Secrets She Keeps Michael Robotham , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2017 11232510 2017 single work novel thriller

'Everyone has an idea of what their perfect life is. For Agatha, it's Meghan Shaughnessy's.

'These two women from vastly different backgrounds have one thing in common - a dangerous secret that could destroy everything they hold dear.

Both will risk everything to hide the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in a shocking act that cannot be undone.

'THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS is a compelling psychological thriller that delves deeply into the psyche of the human mind, by internationally bestselling author Michael Robotham.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2017

winner y separately published work icon The Dry Jane Harper , Sydney : Macmillan Australia , 2016 9592721 2016 single work novel detective

'WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

'Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well ...

'When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

'And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds are reopened. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret ... A secret Falk thought long-buried ... A secret which Luke's death starts to bring to the surface ...' (Publication summary)

Works About this Award

Success No Secret Fran Metcalf , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 27 May 2013; (p. 27)
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