As members of the Australian Independent Booksellers group, we at Brays Books are delighted to celebrate the diversity of exciting and interesting writers on this year’s long list for The Indie Book Awards.
The Indie Book Awards were established in 2008 with the aim of creating a unique award recognising and rewarding the best Australian writing as chosen by Australian Independent Booksellers. The Awards celebrate the enormous depth and range of literary talent in this nation.
The Indie Awards differ from other literary awards because they are chosen by independent booksellers who are renowned for their love of books and reading, support new and emerging Australia authors and foster a love of quality writing.
Last month the long list was whittled down to the shortlist titles for each category that you see below.
Category winners and the overall Indie Book of the Year Award winner will be announced on the 20th March.
Previous Indie Book of the Year Award winners have been:
Breath by Tim Winton (2008)
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (2009)
The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do (2011)
All That I Am by Anna Funder (2012)
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (2013)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (2014)
The Bush by Don Watson (2015)
The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (2016)
Who would you like to see win this year’s Indie Book of the Year Award?
The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke (Hachette Australia)
‘Against anything I had ever been told was possible, I was turning white. Onthe surface of my skin, a miracle was quietly brewing . . .’
Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.
Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing.
Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)
GHOST EMPIRE is a rare treasure – an utterly captivating blend of the historical and the contemporary, realised by a master storyteller.
In 2014, Richard Fidler and his son Joe made a journey to Istanbul. Fired by Richard’s passion for the rich history of the dazzling Byzantine Empire – centred around the legendary Constantinople – we are swept into some of the most extraordinary tales in history. The clash of civilizations, the fall of empires, the rise of Christianity, revenge, lust, murder. Turbulent stories from the past are brought vividly to life at the same time as a father navigates the unfolding changes in his relationship with his son.
GHOST EMPIRE is a revelation: a beautifully written ode to a lost civilization, and a warmly observed father-son adventure far from home.
Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford (Allen & Unwin)
Personal and fearless – a call to arms for feminists new, old and as yet unrealised by one of our most outspoken feminist writers.
Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat.
Fight Like A Girl will make you laugh, cry and scream. But above all it will make you demand and fight for a world in which women have real equality and not merely the illusion of it.
Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner (Text Publishing)
The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley (Affirm Press)
Inspired by a letter found tucked inside her famous husband’s papers, The Birdman’s Wife imagines the fascinating inner life of Elizabeth Gould, who was so much more than just the woman behind the man.
Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover and helpmate to a passionate and demanding genius, and as a devoted mother who gave birth to eight children. In a society obsessed with natural history and the discovery of new species, the birdman’s wife was at its glittering epicentre. Her artistry breathed life into hundreds of exotic finds, from her husband’s celebrated collections to Charles Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches.
Fired by Darwin’s discoveries, in 1838 Elizabeth defied convention by joining John on a trailblazing expedition to the untamed wilderness of Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales to collect and illustrate Australia’s ‘curious’ birdlife.
From a naïve and uncertain young girl to a bold adventurer determined to find her own voice and place in the world, The Birdman’s Wife paints an indelible portrait of an extraordinary woman overlooked by history, until now.
The Midnight Watch by David Dyer (Penguin Books Australia)
As the Titanic and her passengers sank slowly into the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg late in the evening of April 14, 1912, a nearby ship looked on. Second Officer Herbert Stone, in charge of the midnight watch on the SS Californian sitting idly a few miles north, saw the distress rockets that the Titanic fired. He alerted the captain, Stanley Lord, who was sleeping in the chartroom below, but Lord did not come to the bridge. Eight rockets were fired during the dark hours of the midnight watch, and eight rockets were ignored.
The next morning, the Titanic was at the bottom of the sea and more than 1,500 people were dead. When they learned of the extent of the tragedy, Lord and Stone did everything they could to hide their role in the disaster, but pursued by newspapermen, lawyers, and political leaders in America and England, their terrible secret was eventually revealed. The Midnight Watch is a fictional telling of what may have occurred that night on the SS Californian, and the resulting desperation of Officer Stone and Captain Lord in the aftermath of their inaction.
Told not only from the perspective of the SS Californian crew, but also through the eyes of a family of third-class passengers who perished in the disaster, the narrative is drawn together by Steadman, a tenacious Boston journalist who does not rest until the truth is found. The Midnight Watch is a powerful and dramatic debut novel–the result of many years of research in Liverpool, London, New York, and Boston, and informed by the author’s own experiences as a ship’s officer and a lawyer.
The Dry by Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia)
I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.
Goodwood by Holly Throsby (Allen & Unwin)
With entrancing collages and lyrical narration, the creator of the acclaimed Mirror follows the epic flight of an extraordinary bird.
Each year, bar-tailed godwits undertake the longest migration of any bird, flying from Australia and New Zealand to their breeding grounds in the Arctic and back again. They follow invisible pathways — pathways that have been followed for thousands of years — while braving hunger and treacherous conditions to reach their destination. In Circle, Jeannie Baker follows the godwit’s incredible flight, taking us over awe-inspiring scenes as the birds spread their wings above such beautiful landmarks as the Great Barrier Reef and China’s breathtaking cityscapes.
Pig the Winner by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic Australia)
From award-winning creator of PIG THE PUG comes a brand new tale about the world’s greediest pug.
Pig, the world’s greediest Pug, won’t play fair. He’ll do anything to win!
Pig the Pug is back and this time he is being a great big cheat. But when his latest attempt to beat his best friend, Trevor, backfires will Pig the Pug learn his lesson at last?
The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton (Illus) (Pan Macmillan Australia)
THE FASTEST SELLING AUSTRALIAN BOOK OF ALL TIME!
From the punk rock stars of Australian children’s literature comes The 78-Storey Treehouse.
Join Andy and Terry in their spectacular new 78-storey treehouse. They’ve added 13 new levels including a drive-thru car wash, a combining machine, a scribbletorium, an ALL-BALL sports stadium, Andyland, Terrytown, a high-security potato chip storage facility and an open-air movie theatre. Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!
Wormwood Mire by Judith Rossell (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)
This spine-tingling sequel to Withering-by-Sea sees Stella sent away to the moldering old family estate, where she discovers two odd cousins—and a mystery.
Eleven-year-old Stella Montgomery has always wondered about her family. What happened to her mother? And could she have a long-lost sister somewhere? Stella’s awful Aunts refuse to tell her anything, and now they have sent her Stella away to the old family home at Wormwood Mire, where she must live with two strange cousins and their governess.
But dark secrets slither and skulk within overgrown grounds of the moldering house, and Stella must be brave if she’s to find out who—or what—she really is…
Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house.
Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken…
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia)
The electrifying new novel from the international bestselling author, Liane Moriarty
Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you’d think.
For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.
But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.
Which is how it all spirals out of control…
Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson (Hachette Australia)
‘All in?’ Kieran pulled me up, and the others followed. We gathered around the bigger tree. No one asked Matty – he just reached up and put his right hand on the trunk with ours.
Kieran cleared his throat. ‘We swear, on these trees, to always be friends. To protect each other – and this place.’
Finding those carved trees forged a bond between Jay and her four childhood friends and opened their eyes to a wider world. But their attempt to protect the grove ends in disaster, and that one day on the river changes their lives forever.
Seventeen years later, Jay finally has her chance to make amends. But at what cost? Not every wrong can be put right, but sometimes looking the other way is no longer an option.
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith (Allen & Unwin)
In The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, US-based Australian writer Dominic Smith brilliantly bridg
es the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the Golden Age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated Australian art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
The saga that began with Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while they are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum may be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival. The fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.
The Road to Winter by Mark Smith (Text Publishing)
Since a deadly virus and the violence that followed wiped out his parents and most of his community, Finn has lived alone on the rugged coast with only his loyal dog Rowdy for company.
He has stayed alive for two winters—hunting and fishing and trading food, and keeping out of sight of the Wilders, an armed and dangerous gang that controls the north, led by a ruthless man named Ramage.
But Finn’s isolation is shattered when a girl runs onto the beach. Rose is a Siley—an asylum seeker—and she has escaped from Ramage, who had enslaved her and her younger sister, Kas. Rose is desperate, sick, and needs Finn’s help. Kas is still missing somewhere out in the bush.
And Ramage wants the girls back—at any cost.
Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland (Penguin Books Australia)
Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him – at least not yet.