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Australian General Non-Fiction Book of the Year
or General Nonfiction Book of the Year
Subcategory of Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA)
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Winners

2020 winner y separately published work icon 488 Rules for Life : The Thankless Art of Being Correct Kitty Flanagan , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2019 15401882 2019 single work prose humour

''Rules are great. I love rules. Rules are what differentiate us from the chimps'—Kitty Flanagan.

'As we travel through life, we discover that many, many people are very annoying—and that is why we need rules. 488 rules for life is Kitty Flanagan's way of making the world a more pleasant place to live.

'In this book, Kitty Flanagan combines ancient wisdom with decades of experience and lots of time spent at home with her cat to provide four hundred and eighty-eight profound and challenging principles for how to live a meaningful life, from making sure you do a final check before exiting the toilet to not chewing with your mouth open. Gripping, thought-provoking and deeply rewarding, 488 Rules for Life offers an antidote to the idiot in your life: eternal truths applied to our modern problems.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 winner y separately published work icon No Friend but the Mountains : Writing From Manus Prison No Friend but the Mountains : The True Story of an Illegally Imprisoned Refugee Behrouz Boochani , Omid Tofighian (translator), Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2018 14342605 2018 selected work prose

'Where have I come from? From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains...

'Since 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani has been held in the Manus Island offshore processing centre.

'People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes and found asylum within their chestnut forests...

'This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi. It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile.

'Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains? '  (Publication summary)

2018 winner y separately published work icon The Trauma Cleaner The Trauma Cleaner : One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster Sarah Krasnostein , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 11873511 2017 single work biography

'I call my dad from the car and ask him about his morning, tell him about mine.

'‘What kind of hoarder was she?’ he asks.

'‘Books and cats, mainly,’ I tell the man who loves his cats and who I know is now actively considering his extensive book collection.

'‘What’s the difference between a private library and a book hoarder?’ he wonders.

'We are both silent before we laugh and answer in unison: ‘Faeces.’

'But the difference is this phone call. And the others like it I could make—and how strong we are when we are loved.

'Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife…

'But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

'A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his loungeroom. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

'Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead—and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2016 winner y separately published work icon Island Home : A Landscape Memoir Tim Winton , Melbourne : Penguin , 2015 8850333 2015 single work autobiography (taught in 1 units)

''I grew up on the world's largest island.'

'This apparently simple fact is the starting point for Tim Winton's beautiful, evocative and sometimes provocative memoir of how this unique landscape has shaped him and his writing.

'For over thirty years, Winton has written novels in which the natural world is as much a living presence as any character. What is true of his work is also true of his life: from boyhood, his relationship with the world around him – rockpools, seacaves, scrub and swamp – was as vital as any other connection. Camping in hidden inlets of the south-east, walking in the high rocky desert fringe, diving at Ningaloo Reef, bobbing in the sea between sets, Winton has felt the place seep into him, with its rhythms, its dangers, its strange sustenance, and learned to see landscape as a living process.

'Island Home is the story of how that relationship with the Australian landscape came to be, and how it has determined his ideas, his writing and his life. It is also a passionate exhortation for all of us to feel the ground beneath our feet. Much more powerfully than a political idea, or an economy, Australia is a physical entity. Where we are defines who we are, in ways we too often forget to our detriment, and the country's.

'Wise, rhapsodic, exalted – Island Home is not just a brilliant, moving insight into the life and art of one of our finest writers, but a compelling investigation into the way our country makes us who we are.' (Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon Where Song Began : Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World Tim Low , Camberwell : Penguin , 2014 7916573 2014 single work non-fiction

'Renowned for its unusual mammals, Australia is a land of birds that are just as unusual, just as striking, a result of the continent's tens of millions of years of isolation. Compared with birds elsewhere, ours are more likely to be intelligent, aggressive and loud, to live in complex societies, and are long-lived. They're also ecologically more powerful, exerting more influences on forests than other birds.

'But unlike the mammals, the birds did not keep to Australia; they spread around the globe. Australia provided the world with its songbirds and parrots, the most intelligent of all bird groups. It was thought in Darwin's time that species generated in the Southern Hemisphere could not succeed in the Northern, an idea that was proven wrong in respect of birds in the 1980s but not properly accepted by the world's scientists until 2004 – because, says Tim Low, most ornithologists live in the Northern Hemisphere.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2012 winner y separately published work icon Worse Things Happen at Sea Sarah Watt , William McInnes , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2011 Z1817770 2011 single work autobiography

'Worse Things Happen at Sea is about families, suburbs and homes, friends, love and day to day life written by bestselling author William McInnes and award winning filmmaker, photographer and animator Sarah Watt.

'In William's first book A Man's Got to Have a Hobby he wrote about family life in the 1960s with humour, affection and honesty. Worse Things Happen at Sea does the same for family life in 2000s; written by William and Sarah in a way that many Australians can relate to and enjoy.

'This book celebrates the wonderful, messy, haphazard things in life -- bringing home babies from hospital, being a friend, a parent, son or daughter, and dog obedience classes. It's about living for twenty years in the family home, raising children there, chasing angry rabbits around the backyard, renovations that never end. It is also about understanding that sometimes you have to say goodbye; that is part of life too.

'Illustrated throughout with Sarah Watt's photographs of family life and beautiful, everyday objects.' (From the publisher's website.)

2011 winner y separately published work icon True Spirit : The Aussie Girl Who Took on the World Jessica Watson , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2010 Z1711443 2010 single work autobiography

'"When I was young I was pretty much afraid of everything. I wish I could say when it was that I went from being that quiet little girl, tagging along behind the others, to the girl who set off to sail around the world believing completely that with enough dedication she could achieve anything she set her mind to. Somewhere along the way I learnt that if you truly want to live life you have to get involved, pursue your passions and dream big. I don't know when that was and I don't remember jumping into the pool that day, it is just a story my mum tells. But somewhere between that moment and sailing out of Sydney Harbour on Ella's Pink Lady, I came to understand what Helen Keller said far better than I can - 'Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing'."

'These are Jessica's words, taken from True Spirit. In it she details the extensive preparation she and her team made for the big voyage, her journey and the battles she fought along the way - against sleep deprivation, gale-force winds mountainous seas and the solitude most of us can only imagine. When she sailed back into Sydney Harbour on 15 May 2010, after 210 days at sea, she was cheered in by a huge crowd that included Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. To many, Jessica was our newest hero. She disagreed, saying she wasn't a hero, "just an ordinary girl who had a dream and worked hard at it and proved that anything is possible". This is her story.' (From the publisher's website.)

2010 winner y separately published work icon Australians : Origins to Eureka : Volume 1 Thomas Keneally , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2009 Z1610638 2009 single work prose 'The first volume of a unique history of Australia where people are always centre stage, from bestselling author Thomas Keneally who brings to life the vast range of characters who have formed our national story.' (From the publisher's website.)
2009 winner y separately published work icon The Tall Man : Death and Life on Palm Island Chloe Hooper , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2008 Z1483259 2008 single work prose (taught in 11 units) In November 2004, in the small township of Palm Island in the far north of Queensland, Detective Hurley arrested Cameron Doomadgee for swearing at him. Doomadgee was drunk. A few hours later he died in a watch-house cell. According to the inquest, his liver was so badly damaged it was almost severed. (Source: Trove)
2008 winner y separately published work icon Girl Stuff : Your Full-On Guide to the Teen Years Kaz Cooke , Camberwell : Viking , 2007 Z1522695 2007 single work non-fiction young adult A highly comprehensive guide for girls to the teenage years, written with the humour, empathy, frankness and authority that Kaz Cooke brings to all her guides for women. Covers subjects such as body changes, body image, feelings, confidence, family, friends, drink, drugs, sex, schoolwork, work, money, safety, mental and physical health, clothes and make-up. Illustrated with Kaz's lively cartoons and quotes from the hundreds of teenage girls who responded to the online Girl Stuff Survey questionnaires. (Source: LibrariesAustralia)
2007 winner Les Carlyon for The Great War
2006 winner Tim Flannery for The Weather Makers
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