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Australian independent booksellers have nominated their favourite Australian books of 2020 and are thrilled to announce their Longlist for the Indie Book Awards 2021!

Established in 2008, the Indie Book Awards celebrate the best Australian writing; and who better to nominate and judge the best-of-the-best than indie booksellers! What makes indie booksellers uniquely placed to judge and recommend the best Aussie books of the past year, is their incredible passion and knowledge, their contribution to the cultural diversity of the Australian reading public, by recommending beyond the big brands, and above all, their love of quality writing. The Awards recognise and celebrate indie booksellers as the number one supporters of Australian authors.

Leanne Kadareanu, Head of Books at Leading Edge Retail, proud facilitator of the awards says, “We are excited to announce the Longlist for the Indie Book Awards 2021. What a year it’s been. But amidst the chaos, an amazing array of Australian titles have been published, and independent booksellers across the country have continued to champion and promote great Australian writing. Despite this year’s uncertainty and ever-changing retail environment, independent booksellers have stayed strong and continued to do what they do best – recommend books – to help understand ourselves and the world we live in, and worlds to escape to. This year’s Indie Book Awards Longlist reflects the importance of Australian books and celebrates booksellers’ favourites in such a unique time.”

The Awards cover the best Australian books in six categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Debut Fiction, Illustrated Non-Fiction, Children’s books (up to 12yo) and Young Adult (12+).

Since the Awards inception, independent booksellers have a well-deserved reputation for picking the best of the best in Australian writing. Past Book of the Year winners have gone on to be bestsellers and win other major literary awards. Previous winners include: There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett, Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton; Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend; The Dry by Jane Harper; The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood; The Bush by Don Watson; The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan; The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman; All That I Am by Anna Funder; The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do; Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey; and Breath by Tim Winton.

Announced early in the award calendar year, The Indie Book Awards are now considered the forerunners of all major Australian book awards.

The Longlist for the Indie Book Awards 2021 is:


The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte (Fourth Estate Australia)

All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Australia)

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan (Knopf Australia)

Mammoth by Chris Flynn (University of Queensland Press)

A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville (Text Publishing)

The Survivors by Jane Harper (Macmillan Australia)

Infinite Splendours by Sofie Laguna (Allen & Unwin)

The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy (Hamish Hamilton Australia)

The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins Australia)

Honeybee by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)


Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (Fourth Estate Australia)

Stalin's Wine Cellar by John Baker & Nick Place (Viking Australia)

The Last Lighthouse Keeper by John Cook with Jon Bauer (Allen & Unwin)

The Golden Maze: A Biography of Prague by Richard Fidler (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)

Searching for Charlotte: The Fascinating Story of Australia’s First Children’s Author by Kate Forsyth & Belinda Murrell (National Library of Australia)

The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku (Macmillan Australia)

I Catch Killers: The Life and Many Deaths of a Homicide Detective by Gary Jubelin with Dan Box (HarperCollins Australia)

People of the River by Grace Karskens (Allen & Unwin)

Truganini by Cassandra Pybus (Allen & Unwin)

Fire Country by Victor Steffensen (Hardie Grant Travel)


The Hunted by Gabriel Bergmoser (HarperCollins Australia)

Kokomo by Victoria Hannan (Hachette Australia)

The Loudness of Unsaid Things by Hilde Hinton (Hachette Australia)

The Bluffs by Kyle Perry (Michael Joseph Australia)

The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham (Vintage Australia)

The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey (Allen & Unwin)

Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson (Hachette Australia)

Sheerwater by Leah Swann (Fourth Estate Australia)

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu (Allen & Unwin)

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press)


Sam Bloom: Heartache & Birdsong by Samantha Bloom, Cameron Bloom & Bradley Trevor Greive (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)

Plantopedia by Lauren Camilleri & Sophia Kaplan (Smith Street Books)

Golden Daze: Australian Surfing: Then to Now by Sean Doherty (Hachette Australia)

Rivers: The Lifeblood of Australia by Ian Hoskins, foreword by Don Watson (National Library of Australia)

To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon (Plum)

The Flying Kangaroo: 100 Years of QANTAS by Neil Montagnana-Wallace (Affirm Press)

Loving Country by Bruce Pascoe & Vicky Shukuroglou (Hardie Grant Travel)

Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull (Hardie Grant Books)

The 99th Koala by Kailas Wild (Simon & Schuster Australia)

In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky (Murdoch Books)


The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals by Sami Bayly (Lothian Children's Books) The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks (Lothian Children's Books) Wolfred by Nick Bland (Little Hare) Skydragon by Anh Do, illustrated by James Hart (Allen & Unwin Children's) Sing Me The Summer by Jane Godwin, illustrated by Alison Lester (Affirm Press) Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor (Hardie Grant Travel) The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor (Affirm Press) Respect by Aunty Fay Muir, Sue Lawson, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy (Magabala Books) Welcome, Baby, To This World by Jess Racklyeft (Affirm Press) Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Lothian Children's Books)


Future Girl by Asphyxia (Allen & Unwin Children's)

The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon (Lothian Children's Books)

When Rain Turns to Snow by Jane Godwin (Lothian Children’s Books)

Catch Me If I Fall by Barry Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin Children's)

Aurora Burning: The Aurora Cycle 2 by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin Children's)

None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney (Allen & Unwin Children's)

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin Children's)

This One is Ours by Kate O'Donnell (University of Queensland Press)

The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson (Allen & Unwin Children's)

Loner by Georgina Young (Text Publishing)

The Shortlist will be announced on 20 January 2021, with the Category Winners and the Overall Book of the Year Winner being announced at a virtual awards event on Monday 22 March 2021.

The Indie Book Awards would like to gratefully acknowledge the 2021 Awards Sponsors: Shawline Publishing Group, Pan Macmillan Australia, Affirm Press, Simon & Schuster Australia, Thames & Hudson Australia, Hachette Australia, Text Publishing and Award partner: CirclePOS.


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