Book shortlists announced for 2023 ABIAs

ABIA Shortlist graphic

The Book Awards shortlist for the 2023 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) has been announced. The category winners and the overall ‘Book of the Year’ winner will be announced at a star-studded gala dinner in Sydney on Thursday 25 May.

Celebrating the achievements of authors, publishers, editors, illustrators, designers, publicists and marketers, this awards night is the Oscars for the Australian books industry. First established in 2001, the ABIAs showcase Australia’s best authors and exciting new talent as well as the collaborative and innovative efforts of industry professionals who bring quality books to local and international readers.

On 9 May we will announce the recipients of the Business Awards Shortlist which includes six categories with two new categories for Marketing Strategy and Commissioning Editor/Publisher will also be revealed.

The winners for all the categories will be announced at the publishing industry’s red-carpet Awards night, to be held on Thursday 25 May at Darling Island (Doltone House) in Sydney.

2023 Book Awards shortlist

The 2023 shortlist features some of the biggest names in the Australian book industry (which publishes more than 7,000 new books annually) as well as incredible new talent.

For the first time the shortlist includes a new category – Social Impact Book of the Year. Advocacy and support for cultural diversity and feminism are key themes among the works represented in the inaugural shortlist for this award.

The ABIA Academy, comprising more than 250 publishers, booksellers, agents and media and industry representatives, has selected books published over the past calendar year, across 14 categories. The high quality of works has once again made selection tough, with every shortlisted title a worthy contender. It will take a series of robust and passionate discussions for the expert panels to appoint the eventual winners in each category. 

The ABIA shortlisted books of the year are: 

Audiobook of the Year

  • Ten Steps to Nanette, Hannah Gadsby; narrated by Hannah Gadsby (Wavesound)
  • Life: What Nat to Do: A hot take on advice you never asked for, Nat’s What I Reckon; narrated by Nat’s What I Reckon (Penguin Random House Australia, Random House AU Audio Adult)
  • The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner, Grace Tame; narrated by Grace Tame (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia Audio)
  • Lisa, Lisa Curry with Ellen Whinnett; narrated by Lisa Curry (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperAudio)
  • The Whitewash, Siang Lu; narrated by Tim Potter, Nick Ravenswood, Siang Lu, Tom Hart, Berlin Lu, Eva Seymour, James Huang, Jamie Hart, Jing-Xuan Chan, Keith Brockett, Marty Rhone, Yen Nguyen, Ichigon and Daniel Qin (Wavesound)


Biography Book of the Year

  • My Dream Time, Ash Barty (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Ten Steps to Nanette, Hannah Gadsby (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Boy from Boomerang Crescent,  Eddie Betts (Simon & Schuster Australia)
  • Heartstrong, Ellidy Pullin (Hachette Australia)
  • The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner, Grace Tame (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)


Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+)

  • If You Could See the Sun, Ann Liang (HarperCollins Publishers, HQ Young Adult)
  • The Jammer, Nova Weetman (UQP)
  • Blood Traitor, Lynette Noni (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • Unnecessary Drama, Nina Kenwood (Text Publishing)
  • Sugar, Carly Nugent (Text Publishing)


Book of the Year for Younger Children (ages 7-12)

  • The Bookseller's Apprentice, Amelia Mellor (Affirm Press)
  • Guardians: Wylah the Koorie Warrior 1, Jordan Gould and Richard Pritchard (Allen & Unwin; Albert Street Books)
  • A Girl Called Corpse: An Elston-Fright Tale, Reece Carter, illustrated by Simon Howe (Allen & Unwin)
  • Runt, Craig Silvey, illustrated by Sara Acton (Allen & Unwin)
  • Waiting for the Storks, Katrina Nannestad (HarperCollins Publishers, ABC Books)

Children's Picture Book of the Year (ages 0-6)

  • What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say, Davina Bell and Hilary Jean Tapper (Hachette Australia, Lothian Children's Books)
  • Floof, Heidi McKinnon (Allen & Unwin, Albert Street Books)
  • Ceremony: Welcome to Our Country, Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, illustrated by David Hardy (Allen & Unwin)
  • Be Careful, Xiao Xin!, Alice Pung and Sher Rill Ng (HarperCollins Publishers, Working Title Press)
  • Miimi Marraal, Mother Earth, Melissa Greenwood (HarperCollins Publishers, ABC Books) 


General Fiction Book of the Year

  • Dirt Town, Hayley Scrivenor (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • The Tilt, Chris Hammer (Allen & Unwin)
  • Exiles, Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • Day's End, Garry Disher (Text Publishing)
  • Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone, Benjamin Stevenson (Penguin Random House, Michael Joseph)


General Non-fiction Book of the Year

  • Reasons Not to Worry, Brigid Delaney (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Space Between the Stars, Indira Naidoo (Murdoch Books)
  • Bedtime Story, Chloe Hooper (Simon & Schuster Australia, Scribner Australia)
  • Bulldozed, Niki Savva (Scribe Publications, Scribe)
  • Investing with She’s on the Money, Victoria Devine (Penguin Random House, Penguin Life)


Illustrated Book of the Year

  • First Nations Food Companion, Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan (Murdoch Books)
  • Lune, Kate Reid (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Books)
  • Cressida Campbell, National Gallery of Australia (National Gallery of Australia)
  • Yiayia Next Door, Daniel and Luke Mancuso (Pan Macmillan Australia, Plum) 
  • RecipeTin Eats: Dinner, Nagi Maehashi (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)


International Book of the Year

  • The Marriage Portrait, Maggie O'Farrell (Hachette Australia, Headline)
  • Young Mungo, Douglas Stuart (Pan Macmillan, Australia Picador) 
  • The Bullet That Missed, Richard Osman (Penguin Random House, Viking UK)
  • Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus (Penguin Random House, Doubleday UK)
  • Stolen Focus, Johann Hari (Bloomsbury Publishing)


Literary Fiction Book of the Year

  • All That's Left Unsaid, Tracey Lien (HarperCollins Publishers, HQ Fiction)
  • The Sun Walks Down, Fiona McFarlane (Allen & Unwin)
  • Horse, Geraldine Brooks (Hachette Australia)
  • Seeing Other People, Diana Reid (Hardie Grant Publishing, Ultimo Press)
  • Limberlost, Robbie Arnott (Text Publishing)


Small Publishers' Adult Book of the Year

  • Humanity's Moment, Joëlle Gergis (Black Inc.)
  • Cold Enough for Snow, Jessica Au (Giramondo Publishing)
  • The Dreaming Path, Paul Callaghan (Pantera Press)
  • Tell Me Again, Amy Thunig (UQP)
  • Warlpiri Encyclopaedic Dictionary, Mary Laughren, Kenneth Hale, Jeannie Nungarrayi Egan, Marlurrku Paddy Patrick Jangala, Robert Hoogenraad, David Nash and Jane Simpson (Aboriginal Studies Press)


Small Publishers' Children's Book of the Year

  • My Shadow is Purple, Scott Stuart (Larrikin House)
  • Koori Princess, Anita Heiss (Magabala Books, None)
  • A Tiny Light, Alison Lester (UQP)
  • Off to the Market, Alice Oehr (Scribe Publications, Scribble) 
  • The Brink, Holden Sheppard (Text Publishing)


Social Impact Book of the Year

  • Come Together, Isaiah Firebrace, illustrated by Jaelyn Biumaiwai (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Explore)
  • How Many More Women, Jennifer Robinson and Keina Yoshida (Allen & Unwin) 
  • The Boy from Boomerang Crescent, Eddie Betts (Simon and Schuster Australia)
  • Not Now, Not Ever, Julia Gillard (Penguin Random House, Australia Vintage)
  • Freedom, Only Freedom, Behrouz Boochani (Bloomsbury Publishing, Bloomsbury Academic (AUS))


The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year

  • Tell Me Again, Amy Thunig (UQP)
  • WAKE, Shelley Burr (Hachette Australia) 
  • Dirt Town, Hayley Scrivenor (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner, Grace Tame (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • Root & Branch: Essays on inheritance, Eda Gunaydin (NewSouth Publishing, NewSouth)
  • All That's Left Unsaid, Tracey Lien (HarperCollins Publishers, HQ Fiction)

Our warm congratulations to all the shortlisters – we look forward to welcoming you all at the Awards Ceremony on 25 May 2023.

We would like to thank our valued sponsors, Media Super, Dymocks, Simpson Solicitors, Copyright Agency, Nielson Book Data, Books+Publishing, Readings, JC Decaux, Harry Hartog, and Ingram, for their support of this year's Australian Book Industry Awards.

Thank you to our sponsors

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