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Australian Capital Territory Book of the Year Award (1993-)
or ACT Book of the Year Award
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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The ACT Government offers the ACT Book of the Year Award annually for excellence in literature. The Award recognises quality contemporary Australian literary works including fiction, non-fiction and poetry, by ACT-based authors published in the previous calendar year.

The author may include an editor or translator who, in the opinion of the judges, has made a substantial and creative contribution to the original material from which the book is derived.

Source: Sighted: 10/12/2013.


  • The ACT Book of the Year Award 'recognises quality contemporary works and the contribution the book makes to Canberra's literary and cultural life.'

    (Source: ACT government Arts publication, Arts Capital News, December 2003))

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

Indexed selectively. Highly commended: Bernard Collaery's Oil Under Troubled Water: Australia's Timor Sea Intrigue.
winner y separately published work icon Spinoza's Overcoat Subhash Jaireth , Yarraville : Transit Lounge , 2020 18416119 2020 selected work essay travel

'‘It starts to rain as I step out of my hotel ….’ So begins Subhash Jaireth’s striking collection of essays on the writers, and their writing, that have enriched his own life. The works of Franz Kafka, Marina Tsvetaeva, Mikhail Bulgakov, Paul Celan, Hiromi Ito, Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and others ignite in him the urge to travel (both physically and in spirit), almost like a pilgrim, to the places where such writers were born or died or wrote. In each essay a new emotional plane is reached revealing enticing connections. As a novelist, poet, essayist and translator born into a multilingual environment, Jaireth truly understands the power of words across languages and their integral connections to the life of the body and the spirit. Drawing on years of research, translation and travel Spinoza’s Overcoat – and its illuminations of loss, mortality and the reverie of writing – will linger with readers.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon Ghost Bird Lisa Fuller , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2019 16861510 2019 single work novel young adult

'Remember daughter, the world is a lot bigger than anyone knows. There are things that science may never explain. Maybe some things that shouldn’t be explained.

'Stacey and Laney are twins – mirror images of each other – and yet they’re as different as the sun and the moon. Stacey works hard at school, determined to get out of their small town. Laney skips school and sneaks out of the house to meet her boyfriend. But when Laney disappears one night, Stacey can’t believe she’s just run off without telling her.

'As the days pass and Laney doesn’t return, Stacey starts dreaming of her twin. The dreams are dark and terrifying, difficult to understand and hard to shake, but at least they tell Stacey one key thing – Laney is alive. It’s hard for Stacey to know what’s real and what’s imagined and even harder to know who to trust. All she knows for sure is that Laney needs her help.

'Stacey is the only one who can find her sister. Will she find her in time?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Book of Colours Robyn Cadwallader , Sydney South : HarperCollins Australia , 2018 13526246 2018 single work novel historical fiction

'London, 1321: In a small shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a book of hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world. In many ways, this is a story about power - it is also a novel about the place of women in the roiling and turbulent world of the early fourteenth century; what power they have, how they wield it, and just how temporary and conditional it is.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon Dancing Home Paul Collis , St Lucia : The University of Queensland , 2017 11671262 2017 single work novel

‘When he was in gaol, he’d begun to prepare himself for the fight of his life, a showdown with the policeman, McWilliams … he’d face life with death, and see who blinked first.’ 

'Blackie and Rips are fresh out of prison when they set off on a road trip back to Wiradjuri country with their mate Carlos. Blackie is out for revenge against the cop who put him in prison on false grounds. He is also craving to reconnect with his grandmother’s country. 

'Driven by his hunger for drugs and payback, Blackie reaches dark places of both mystery and beauty as he searches for peace. He is willing to pay for that peace with his own life. 

'Part road-movie, part ‘Koori-noir’, Dancing Home announces an original and darkly funny new voice.'

[source: Publisher's website]

Year: 2017

winner y separately published work icon The Art of Time Travel : Historians and Their Craft Tom Griffiths , Carlton : Black Inc. , 2016 9458277 2016 multi chapter work criticism biography

'Writing good history is a high-wire act of balance and grace. Historians scour their own societies for vestiges of past worlds, for cracks and fissures in the pavement of the present, and for the shimmers and hauntings of history in everyday action.

'In The Art of Time Travel, eminent historian and award-winning author Tom Griffiths explores the craft of discipline and imagination that is history. Through portraits of fifteen historians at work, including Inga Clendinnen, Judith Wright, Geoffrey Blainey and Henry Reynolds, he observes how a body of work is constructed out of a life-long dialogue between past evidence and present experience.

'Riveting, beautiful and elegantly written, this landmark book conjures fresh insights into the history of Australia and revitalises our sense of the historian’s craft – what Tom Griffiths calls “the art of time travel”.' (Publication summary)

Works About this Award

The 2016 ACT Book of the Year Shortlist Has a Wide Variety of Subjects Ron Cerabona , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: Brisbane Times , 26 August 2016;
'The shortlist for the 2016 ACT Book of the Year was announced on Friday at the National Library of Australia by ACT Arts Minister Chris Bourke on the first day of the inaugural Canberra Writers Festival. ...'
Fact and Fiction Features on Book of the Year Shortlist Natasha Rudra , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 20 November 2014; (p. 9)
Writer Walks Off With Top Accolade Natasha Rudra , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 17 December 2008; (p. 3)
Big Win for Avid Reader Helen Musa , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 13 December 2006; (p. 4)
Author's Sense of 'Public Duty' Scoops ACT Literary Award Catherine Naylor , 2005 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 9 December 2005; (p. 9)