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Thirteen years after Jasper Jones was awarded Book Of The Year (in 2009), Australian independent booksellers are thrilled to announce RUNT by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin) as their favourite book from last year, and the winner of The Indie Book Awards 2023 Book of the Year. This is Craig’s second Indie BOTY win, and is only the second Children’s book to win the Indie BOTY in the history of the awards (and that was five awards ago with Nevermoor). Craig's third novel, Honeybee, won Best Fiction for the Indie Book Awards 2021. As Craig says: “It bears reiterating that I owe my career to the support of Australia’s independent bookstores.”

Bookseller judge Jessie Hilton from Open Book Mosman Park (WA) commented on Silvey’s book:

Runt is a modern classic that reminded me of the work of EB White with a touch of Roald Dahl. Charming and full of heart, the characters that Craig Silvey has created are as memorable as those from his adult fiction. Annie Shearer and Runt gift the audience a story of friendship and courage that left me with tears in my eyes by the end of the book.”

On winning the Award, Craig Silvey said:

“In the midst of our pandemic isolation, as we contended with uncertainty and adversity and anxiety, it was no surprise that we collectively sought out literature for comfort and guidance and, perhaps above all, a means to feel less confined and alone.

Thank goodness for our Independent Booksellers, who found inventive ways to keep us connected to stories, who confirmed our industry to be truly essential, who invited us to convene through virtual events, who delivered books via bicycle in the rain, who continued to passionately advocate for Australian stories, who kept us all together.

Thirteen years after Jasper Jones was awarded Book Of The Year, it bears reiterating that I owe my career to the support of Australia’s independent bookstores. It means the world to have earned the endorsement of so many insightful and dedicated booksellers, and I will always be grateful for their willingness to share their enthusiasm for my writing with Australian readers.

My appreciation has never been more pronounced than now. I am profoundly honoured and deeply proud that RUNT has won the 2023 Indie Book Awards Book Of The Year.

I began writing RUNT in a time when I needed my own dose of comfort and guidance, and I found it in the admirable determination and relentless optimism of Annie Shearer and her best friend, Runt.

RUNT is a book that is defiant in its assertion of hope. We see it in Annie’s valiant effort to fix things. We see it in her kindness, her generosity, her resilience and her compassion. We see it in the way that she inspires her family and the good people of Upson Downs to live their true and better selves. And I’ve seen it in the way that readers of all ages have been uplifted and moved by her journey.

Many of us are still facing uncertainty and adversity and anxiety, and searching for a beacon. Annie and Runt were the heroes who pulled me through, and I’m proud to see their light shining bright for so many others.

My sincerest thanks again to Australia’s Independent Booksellers for this extraordinary honour, I’m thrilled beyond measure, and deeply grateful.

Craig Silvey’s Publisher, Jane Palfreyman (Allen & Unwin) said:

“After the uncertainty and upheaval of the last few years, what joy it is to have an inspiring book like Runt in the world. And how thrilling to see readers of all ages embracing Runt and its namesake, the scruffy stray who chose a quiet girl called Annie to be his friend. The universal appeal of this beautiful book and its crucial message of being yourself to bring out the best in others are testament to the jaw-dropping talents and giant heart of Craig Silvey, an acclaimed writer beloved to us at Allen & Unwin and to his legions of devoted fans. Craig gives everything to researching, writing and promoting his work and it is no accident that his books have become beacons of hope for so many readers as well as classics of Australian literature. That Runt is also poised to do so shows how brilliantly Craig rose to the challenge of writing for younger readers and how magnificently supported he and Runt have been by our passionate independent booksellers. That they have voted Runt as their 2023 Book of the Year is a massive honour and we could not be more proud of Craig or this book that has touched so many readers.”

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 2023 Indie Book of the Year.

The Winners for the Indie Book Awards 2023 are:


Runt by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)


Horse by Geraldine Brooks (Hachette Australia)


The Book Of Roads And Kingdoms by Richard Fidler (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)


All That's Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien (HQ Fiction, HarperCollins)


First Nations Food Companion by Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan (Murdoch Books)


Runt by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)


The Brink by Holden Sheppard (Text Publishing)

The Indie Book Awards would like to gratefully acknowledge the 2023 Awards Sponsors:

Book of the Year Award sponsored by Shawline Publishing Group

Fiction Award sponsored by Allen & Unwin

Non-Fiction Award sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers

Debut Fiction Award sponsored by Text Publishing

Illustrated Non-Fiction Award sponsored by Thames & Hudson

Children’s Award sponsored by Simon & Schuster Australia

Young Adult Award sponsored by Penguin Random House

and awards partner Hachette Australia and Pan Macmillan Australia

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


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