Australian Independent Bookseller

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Australian independent booksellers are thrilled to announce their Shortlist for the Indie Book Awards 2021, their favourite Australian books published in 2020!

Established in 2008, the Indie Book Awards recognize and celebrate this country’s incredible literary talent and who better to nominate and judge the best-of-the-best than indie booksellers – the ultimate champions of great Australian writing!

Who will win each category in 2021?

Who will take out the overall ‘2021 Book of the Year’ Award?!

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

The Shortlist for the Indie Book Awards 2021 is:


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)
Honeybee by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)


Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (Fourth Estate Australia)
The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku (Macmillan Australia)
People of the River by Grace Karskens (Allen & Unwin)
Truganini by Cassandra Pybus (Allen & Unwin)


The Bluffs by Kyle Perry (Michael Joseph Australia)
Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson (Hachette 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)
Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull (Hardie Grant Books)
In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky (Murdoch Books)


The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals by Sami Bayly (Lothian Children's Books)
Sing Me The Summer by Jane Godwin, illustrated by Alison Lester (Affirm Press)
The Grandest Bookshop in the World  by Amelia Mellor (Affirm Press)
Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Lothian Children's Books)


Future Girl by Asphyxia (Allen & Unwin Children's)
Catch Me If I Fall by Barry Jonsberg (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 twenty-four shortlisted books, the best titles of the year as nominated by Australian independent booksellers themselves, will be vying for the top spot as the Overall Indie ‘Book of the Year’ for 2021. Panels of expert judges (all indie booksellers and avid readers) will choose the winners in the six book categories – Fiction, Debut Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustrated Non-Fiction, Children’s books (up to 12yo) and Young Adult (12+). Independent booksellers from around the country will then vote to select their favourite book of the year from the six category winners.

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