The critically acclaimed debut novel by Trent Dalton Boy Swallows Universe has been heralded Book of the Year at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards. The awards were announced on Thursday 2 May at a red carpet event held at the Sydney International Convention Centre. The event was judged by an academy of more than 250 respected publishing industry figures and celebrated Australian writing, publishing and book-selling.

Boy Swallows Universe was the recipient of four major awards, including Book of the Year, Literary Book of the Year, the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, and Audio Book of the Year. Set in Brisbane, Boy Swallows Universe has been embraced by readers across Australia. The novel has attracted much critical acclaim, winning several other awards this year, including The Indie Book Awards 2019 Book of the Year, The MUD Literary Prize 2019, as well as The Award for New Writing, and the People’s Choice Award at the New South Wale’s Premier’s Literary Awards. Boy Swallows Universe has been published globally by HarperCollins in more than 28 languages. It has sold more than 129,000 copies in Australia since its publication in July 2018.

Also winning big, Behrouz Boochani received the General Non-Fiction Book of the Year for his journal-memoir No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison. Holly Ringland took out the General Fiction Book of the Year for The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. The Book of the Year for Younger Children went to Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton for The 104-Storey Treehouse. Bri Lee continued her run of prizes for Eggshell Skull, which was named the Biography of the Year.

Richard Walsh was presented with the Lloyd O’Neil Hall of Fame Award for outstanding service to the Australian Book Industry, and The Pixie O’Harris Award for consistent contribution to children’s literature was awarded to Kathy Kozlowski.

Recipients of the industry business awards were Pan Macmillan for Publisher of the Year; Affirm Press for Small Publisher of the Year; Booktopia for National Retailer of the Year; Mary Martin Bookshops, who took out the Independent Retailer of the Year; and Hachette’s Ella Chapman for this year’s Rising Star Award.

“We know a reading nation is a better nation. Just have a look at the breadth of talent on show in the shortlists and the winners of the Australian Book Industry Awards to see the riches available in ours,” CEO of the Australian Publishers Association Michael Gordon-Smith said.

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