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Best Illustrated Book / Graphic Novel (2008-)
Subcategory of Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction
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Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2022

winner y separately published work icon The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness Matt Ottley , Orange : Dirt Lane Press , 2022 23827716 2022 single work novel 'The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness is an allegorical story of a boy's experience of psychosis, with mental illness represented as a fantastical tree whose flowers are ecstasy and whose fruit is unbearable sadness. Stunning drawings and paintings lead the reader through the boy's early discovery of his strangeness, his surrender to the disease (an all-consuming tree), the ensuing psychotic journey, and eventual self-acceptance. The recording of a full orchestral score composed by the author-illustrator accompany the book.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2021

winner y separately published work icon The Curiosities Zana Fraillon , Phil Lesnie (illustrator), Sydney : Lothian , 2021 21521041 2021 single work picture book children's

'Miro sees the world differently from everyone else, thanks to the Curiosities - strange little creatures that nestle on his shoulder, whisper in his ear, and show him a different way of seeing the world. Most of the time, no one else notices. But sometimes, the Curiosities make him stand out, in ways that can be good but are occasionally confusing and scary. Miro learns to live with and control his Curiosities, and gradually starts to see that they are a kind of gift.

'A lyrical and moving story inspired by the people who see the world differently - and make it more wondrous. With themes of creativity, curiosity and neurodivergence, this is an essential book for every home, school and library.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon Under-Earth Chris Gooch , Chris Gooch (illustrator), United States of America (USA) : IDW Publishing , 2021 20740394 2021 single work graphic novel

'The inmates of an extensive underground prison struggle to build meaningful lives in a broken system, in the most ambitious graphic novel to date from rising indie star Chris Gooch (Bottled and Deep Breaths).

'Under-Earth takes place in a subterranean landfill, hollowed out to serve as a massive improvised prison. Sunken into the trash and debris of the past -- gameboys, iphones, coffee cups, old cars -- we follow two parallel stories.

'In the first, a new arrival struggles to adapt to the everyday violence, physical labour, and poverty of the prison city. Overwhelmed and alone, he finds a connection with a fellow inmate through an old, beat-up novel. While these two silent and uncommunicative men grow closer thanks to their book, the stress of their environment will test their new bond.

'Meanwhile, a pair of thieves pull off a risky job in exchange for the prisons' schematics and the promise of escape -- only to be betrayed by their employer. On the run with their hope for escape now gone, the two women set their minds to revenge. Yet as they lay their plans, their focus shifts from an obsession with the outside world to the life they have with each other.

'Equal parts sincerity and violence, Under-Earth explores humanity's inextinguishable drive to find meaning, connection, and even family -- and how fragile such constructions can be.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2019

winner Nicola Scott for 'Black Magick', written by American Greg Rucka.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon Tales from the Inner City Shaun Tan , Shaun Tan (illustrator), Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2018 14152497 2018 selected work single work short story poetry prose art work

'Where can we live if not in each other's shadow? World-renowned artist Shaun Tan applies his unique imagination to a reflection on the nature of humans and animals, and our urban coexistence. From crocodile to frog, tiger to bee, this is a dark and surreal exploration of the perennial love and destruction we feel and inflict—of how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse. Tales from the Inner City is a masterful work, bearing all of Shaun Tan's trademark wit and poignancy in both its prose and exquisite illustrations.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.