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Winners of the 2020 Indie Book Awards Announced

Australian independent booksellers, members of Leading Edge Books, are thrilled to announce There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia) as their favourite book from last year, and the winner of The Indie Book Awards 2020 Book of the Year. Bookseller judge Callum Macdonald (from Berkelouw Books) commented that: “Parrett’s latest carries the dreamlike subtlety that made readers fall in love with When the Night Comes and Past the Shallows... This novel is a love letter to the stories that Parrett has been shaped by, and the personal history that at once defines and directs us. Melodious and poetic, this book is easy to love.”

Favel Parrett was the name on everyone’s lips in September, with the launch of the comprehensive national campaign for There Was Still Love, which was Favel’s fastest selling book to date and is already her highest selling first format.

On winning the Award, Favel said:

“It’s not a stretch to say that Australian Independent bookshops changed my life. Back in 2011, Past the Shallows was hand-sold with love across the county by you guys and that literally set my career path in stone. I am so very grateful. Over the years I have come to know many of you as good friends – like-minded souls who are full of passion. These friendships have been the highlight of becoming a writer. I’m truly sad that we can’t all be together celebrating. But I hope to see you soon. There was Still Love came straight from my heart and it means the absolute world to me win this award. I know my grandparents would be proud. It’s probably lucky I am not giving this speech in person, as I know I would burst into tears. Thank you, thank you, thank you – my heart is very full.”

Favel’s Publisher, Vanessa Radnidge (Hachette Australia) said:

“I don’t think there could be a more perfect book for the strange days we are living through. Favel Parrett’s The Was Still Love is a modern masterpiece that shows the resilience of the human spirit and the way families adapt, sacrifice and hold tight to protect those who are vulnerable. It is a tender and beautifully told story of memory, family and love and to see this book embraced by booksellers and, because of them, the reading public shows how the truths Favel shares resonate with so many. The Independent booksellers in Australia are wonderful arbiters of talent and to have Favel and There Was Still Love receive this Indie award is not only recognition of her work and a signal to readers that this story is worth their time, it is also a celebration of the emotional power of Favel’s storytelling. For a writer, that kind of validation and recognition is precious.”

Louise Sherwin-Stark, CEO, Hachette Australia, said:

“When Favel’s new novel was delivered to Hachette, I dropped everything to read it, and was not disappointed that I did. There Was Still Love is one of the most moving, powerful and beautiful books I've ever read. Favel's perfectly crafted sentences left me breathless and re-reading passages over and over again. I hope The Was Still Love becomes an Australian classic, it certainly deserves to be. And this award shows that many others agree with me.’

The Awards recognise and celebrate the 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 five category winners, the independent booksellers selected the best of the best – The 2019 Indie Book of the Year.


There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia)


There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia)


Tell Me Why by Archie Roach (Simon & Schuster Australia)


Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel (Macmillan Australia)


The Lost Boys by Paul Byrnes (Affirm Press)


The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals by Sami Bayly (Lothian Children's Books)


The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim (Allen and Unwin Children's)

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: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow 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; Breath by Tim Winton; and last year’s winner, Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton.

Statements from the 2020 Indie Book Award winners:

“I was a debutante 7 years in the dressing room so what a thrill to be announced as winner of the debut author award for 2020. Thank you! My congratulations to all those outstanding authors also included on the long and short list.

I’m so grateful to the wonderful community of independent booksellers, many of whom I enjoyed meeting in my post-launch whirl - you’ve warmly welcomed and embraced Allegra In Three Parts and worked super hard to get my book into the hands of readers. In these challenging times our society certainly needs the empathy, solace, hope, expansion and connection that is delivered via literature. I think many of us might be feeling like bunkering down and escaping into the pages of a good book.

I have been blessed by the support of my agent, Catherine Drayton and the unbeatable team at Pan Macmillan. Cate Paterson, Danielle Walker, Sammy Manson and Tracey Cheetham. Without you all I would never had made it onto the dance floor!”

—Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel (Macmillan Australia)

“I am overjoyed and overwhelmed to win this award. It’s a long lonely road to spend two years writing a book, not knowing if anyone will buy it, let alone read it. To know that booksellers themselves have taken the book to heart is more than gratifying. I want to say a very big thankyou to Affirm Press for having faith in me, and the concept of the book, when the going was tough.”

—The Lost Boys by Paul Byrnes (Affirm Press)

“I would just like to say once again, a massive thank you to the booksellers and bookshops around Australia that made being the winner of the Children’s Book category possible.

By taking the time and effort to share and recommend The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals with customers and by constructing such gorgeous displays, it made it possible for children and adults to take a look inside the book and learn about the unusual side of nature. Without the independent bookshops, my book would not have made it into nearly as many homes around Australia and I would not be having the chance now to talk to schools or children at such a vital time about why all animals within our ecosystems are imperative.

I am so grateful to the independent bookshops and booksellers for giving the “uglies” a chance and proving that it really is time to celebrate the beauty in ugliness.”

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals by Sami Bayly (Lothian Children's Books)

“Winning the Indie Book Awards in the Young Adult Category is such an incredible honour. The book industry is so indebted to the brilliance and passion of independent booksellers, so to be recognised by these the cornerstones of the industry, it's really a dream come true. Thank you so much to all the booksellers from the bottom of my heart for championing THE SURPRISING POWER A GOOD DUMPLING.”

—The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim (Allen and Unwin Children's)

Leading Edge Books on behalf of Australian Independent Booksellers, would like to gratefully acknowledge and thank the SPONSORS OF THE INDIE BOOK AWARDS 2020 CAMPAIGN: Simon & Schuster Australia, Pan Macmillan Australia, Affirm Press, Allen & Unwin, Thames & Hudson Australia and Text Publishing and AWARDS PARTNER: Books+Publishing


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