Australian independent booksellers, members of Leading Edge Books, are thrilled to announce their Shortlist for the Indie Book Awards 2019, for the best Australian books published in 2018!

Established in 2008, the Indie Book Awards recognise and celebrate this country’s incredible talent and the role independent booksellers play in supporting and nurturing Australian writing.

Who will win in each category in 2019?

Who will take out the overall ‘2019 Book of the Year’ Award?!

Without further ado, here is the Shortlist for the 2019 Indie Book Awards:


  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Macmillan Australia)
  • Shell by Kristina Olsson (Scribner Australia)
  • The Shepherd's Hut by Tim Winton (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (Picador Australia)


  • The Land Before Avocado by Richard Glover (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)
  • The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)
  • Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales (Penguin Random House Australia)


  • Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Australia)
  • Scrublands by Chris Hammer (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Echo Publishing)
  • The Nowhere Child by Christian White (Affirm Press)


  • A Painted Landscape: Across Australia from Bush to Coast by Amber Creswell Bell (Thames & Hudson Australia)
  • Marcia Langton: Welcome to Country by Marcia Langton (Hardie Grant Travel)
  • Family: New vegetable classics to comfort and nourish by Hetty McKinnon (Plum)
  • Australian Dreamscapes by Claire Takacs (Hardie Grant Books)


  • All the Ways to be Smart by Davina Bell & Allison Colpoys (Illus) (Scribe Publications)
  • Lenny's Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee (Allen & Unwin)
  • Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Hachette Australia)


  • Hive by A. J. Betts (Pan Australia)
  • Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • A Song Only I Can Hear by Barry Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin)
  • Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina (Allen & Unwin)

This is how it works. 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 2019. 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.

The Category Winners and the Overall ‘Book of the Year’ Winner will be announced on Monday 18 March, 2019 at the Leading Edge Books Annual Conference Awards Dinner to be held in Adelaide, SA.

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; and Breath by Tim Winton.

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.

Statements from some of the 2019 Indie Book Awards shortlisted authors:

“Enthusiasm, insight, hand-selling, love: no wonder we trust independent booksellers with our reading and writing lives. They are indispensable to me.” – Kristina Olsson, author of Shell (Scribner Australia)

“Whenever a book finds its way into the hands of a reader, it’s the result of a series of acts of faith. At the start: the writer and publisher. At the end: the reader who allows themselves to be tempted into the new, strange world of this particular book. And in the middle, there’s the bookseller – often an independent retailer - who believes this story is worth telling, takes a punt in ordering supplies, and then, with passion, offers it to the world. Without them, we’d be nowhere.” – Richard Glover, author of The Land Before Avocado (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)

“Having worked at Avid Reader in Brisbane, I know first-hand how the support of a good Indie can completely change the trajectory of a book's life and readership. Eggshell Skull was backed so strongly by the Indies and I'll never forget it; it helped secure the success of my first book and cemented my sense of support and belonging in this industry.” – Bri Lee, author of Eggshell Skull(Allen & Unwin)

“It's so lovely to win the approval of independent booksellers because they are so plugged into their local communities and always such passionate readers." – Leigh Sales, author of Any Ordinary Day (Penguin Random House Australia)

“Independent bookstores put our books up the front, in the window and on the counter; they read them, hand sell them and book club them; they host our launches and our events and welcome us into their stores and into their communities. They are the true champions of Australian writing and Australian writers.” – Chris Hammer, author of Scrublands (Allen & Unwin)

"I'm so thrilled and honored to be shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards. The independent bookstores of Australia are so special to me - they have supported me and my books from the very beginning, and given me the opportunity to connect more intimately with the end consumer. Australia's indie bookstores ensure that the industry remains dynamic, diverse and exciting." – Hetty McKinnon, author of Family (Plum)

“Where would we be without independent booksellers? With passion and knowledge, they place quality Australian stories in the hands of willing readers. I'm indebted to their commitment to local literature, and grateful for their continued support.” – A.J. Betts, author of Hive (Pan Australia)

“Every time I've been in an Indie book store – and in the course of my travels I've been in many – I have been blown away by the enthusiasm, knowledge and sheer passion for words and writing by owners and staff. Along with librarians, they endlessly champion Australian literature and for that I am, as both writer and reader, deeply grateful.” – Barry Jonsberg, author of A Song Only I Can Hear (Allen & Unwin)

“Independent booksellers are sites of connection, drawing together diverse peoples and cultures in the love of story. Without their passion for books and their presence in communities, we as a nation are poorer; without their support for diverse Australian voices, marginalised storytellers would face a near impossible struggle to be heard; and without their expertise, readers would never discover their next favourite book.” – Ambelin Kwaymullina, co-author of Catching Teller Crow (Allen & Unwin)


The Indie Book Awards would like to gratefully acknowledge the 2019 Awards Sponsors: Peribo, Pan Macmillan Australia, Affirm Press, Allen & Unwin, Thames & Hudson Australia, Hardie Grant Egmont, Text Publishing and Awards partner: Books+Publishing.

Proudly supported by Leading Edge Books.


Brendan Fredericks | BFredericksPR | +61 (0)403 265 337 | sends e-mail)

For more info on the Indie Book Awards visit is external)

For information about Leading Edge Books, visit is external) or call 02 8732 9569

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Submitted by Karen on Wed, 16/01/2019 - 05:17 pm