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Celebrating the best Australian books of 2021

Australian independent booksellers are thrilled to announce Love Stories by Trent Dalton (Fourth Estate Australia) as their favourite book from last year, and the winner of The Indie Book Awards 2022 Book of the Year. Bookseller judge Lindy Jones (from Abbey’s Bookshop) commented on Dalton’s book: “Only someone as big-hearted, curious and willing to listen as Dalton could get away with this concept. Coupled with his fine turns of phrase, daggy self-portrayal and evident affection for the city of Brisbane which he portrays colourfully, this is a book full of feelings that touches the reader with the grace, wonder, thrill, pain and grief of love and loving in its many manifestations. It’s an uplifting book, beautifully structured in a subtle but masterful manner, and feels like just the book readers need in these unsettling times, but one that conveys such joy and openness it will last beyond these strange pandemic-fenced days.”

On winning the Award, Trent Dalton said:

“I am thrilled and gobsmacked and humbled and deeply grateful. I got all cheeseball weepy when I got the news. I got all sentimental about this beautiful recognition because this book means so much to me and because Australia’s independent booksellers mean everything to the Australian book industry. I sat on a corner for two months asking random strangers to tell me love stories but every passing day of every passing year our independent booksellers are sharing love stories with their incredible customers through that sacred transaction of buying and selling these paper treasures we call books. Thank you to the booksellers for this incredible award.

Thank you to the late and miraculous Kathleen Kelly who gifted me her beloved Olivetti typewriter and set this book in motion in the first place.

Thank you to every last glorious stranger who took the time to sit with me and my typewriter on that corner of Adelaide and Albert Street, Brisbane, and share something beautiful about love. Stories from the heart and from the darkness and from the light. The two months I spent on that corner and walking through the city asking people to tell me love stories were probably the most illuminating and soul-restoring months of my life. Thank you to the storytellers.

Love Stories was my big middle finger to the pandemic and all the cruel distance it put between the ones we love. The gentlest rebellion there ever was maybe – grab a typewriter and write about love – but the readers of Australia took it for what it was, a gentle reminder of the good stuff inside us and the good stuff out there in every city and suburb across Australia.”

Trent Dalton Publisher, Catherine Milne (Fourth Estate Australia) said:

“Love drives Trent Dalton – it drives his empathy, his curiosity, his compassion, and it powers all his writing. And now, just at the right time, when we all really could do with a bit more love in our lives, he’s given us all such a gift: this beautiful, funny, sad, heartfelt, deeply moving and very special book about how we experience love, why we need it and what it does to us. I’ve been privileged enough to read just a fraction of the many, many reader emails, messages and letters to Trent about Love Stories, and it’s clear that this book has touched a real nerve with so many people, bringing them comfort, consolation and understanding, so I’m thrilled that indie booksellers feel the same way, and have recognised Love Stories as the Indie Book Awards Book of the Year 2022.”

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 2022 Indie Book of the Year.

The Winners for the Indie Book Awards 2022 are:


Love Stories by Trent Dalton (Fourth Estate Australia)


Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy (Hamish Hamilton Australia)


Love Stories by Trent Dalton (Fourth Estate Australia)


The Silent Listener by Lyn Yeowart (Viking Australia)


Still Life by Amber Creswell Bell (Thames & Hudson Australia)


Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief by Katrina Nannestad (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)


The Monster of Her Age by Danielle Binks (Lothian Children's Books)

The Indies are considered the forerunners of all major Australian book awards. Since the Awards inception in 2008, the Indies 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: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, 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.

The Indie Book Awards would like to gratefully acknowledge the 2022 Awards Sponsors:

Book of the Year Award sponsored by Shawline Publishing Group

Fiction Award sponsored by Pan Macmillan Australia

Non-Fiction Award sponsored by Penguin Random House

Debut Fiction Award sponsored by Affirm Press

Illustrated Non-Fiction Award sponsored by Thames & Hudson

Children’s Award sponsored by Simon & Schuster Australia

Young Adult Award sponsored by Text Publishing

and awards partner Hachette Australia

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


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