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Winners Announced for Indie Book Awards 2021

Australian independent booksellers are thrilled to announce The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press) as their favourite book from last year, and the winner of The Indie Book Awards 2021 Book of the Year. Bookseller judge Katherine Downey (from The Leaf Bookshop) commented on William’s novel: “Exceptionally satisfying. Williams transports us to nineteenth century England with confidence and panache and to the workings of the scriptorium with an attention to detail that reveals the depth of her research. The fight for women’s rights informs this novel and the author’s ability to present an array of different female characters, of diverse backgrounds, ages and expectations leads to a rich and layered narrative that is superbly composed.”

Early this year* Affirm Press reported a bestselling milestone: The Dictionary of Lost Words had reached sales of over 100,000 copies across its two formats in the 41 weeks since publication in March 2020. The only Australian fiction title to reach this milestone in fewer than 41 weeks is The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris, Echo) at 37 weeks, while Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton, Fourth Estate) took 48 weeks.

*source, Books + Publishing, 18 January 2021

The Awards recognise and celebrate indie booksellers as the number one supporters of Australian authors. What makes our Indies uniquely placed to judge and recommend the best Aussie books of the past year to their customers and readers, is their incredible passion and knowledge, their contribution to the cultural diversity of the Australian reading public by recommending books beyond the big brands, and their love of quality writing.

The individual category winners in Fiction, Debut Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustrated Non-Fiction, Children’s and Young Adult were also announced. From these six category winners, the independent booksellers selected the best of the best – The 2021 Indie Book of the Year.

The Category Winners of the 2021 Indie Book Awards:


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


Honeybee by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)


Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (Fourth Estate Australia)


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


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


The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor (Affirm Press)


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

The Indie Book Awards would like to gratefully acknowledge the 2021 Awards Sponsors:

Book of the Year Award sponsored by Shawline Publishing Group

Fiction Award sponsored by Pan Macmillan Australia

Non-Fiction Award sponsored by Simon & Schuster Australia

Debut Fiction Award sponsored by Affirm Press

Illustrated Non-Fiction Award sponsored by Thames & Hudson

Children’s Award sponsored by Hachette Australia

Young Adult Award sponsored by Text Publishing

The Indie Book Awards are proudly coordinated by Leading Edge Retail.


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