Australia’s best writers – shortlistees and winners of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards – share their favourite books of the year.
Karen Lamb, joint winner in Non-Fiction for Thea Astley: Inventing her Own Weather
My book choice for 2016 is the just released book Little Fish Are Sweet by Matthew Condon. It takes me back to my time in Brisbane in the late 1980s with the sensational revelations of the Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption. It was a very alive place at that time, a sense of a whole city and population shifting from haze to light.
Danny Parker, shortlisted with illustrator Freya Blackwood in Children’s Fiction for Perfect
My favourite book of 2016 was probably Teacup. Matt Ottley’s illustrations are epic! I’ve been lucky enough to work with Matt, so I know his work, but this just blew me away.
Jane Harrison, shortlisted in Young Adult Fiction for Becoming Kirrali Lewis
I love reading and have Gaudi-like piles beside my bed, on the bedside table, on the floor. Some recent faves include The Green Road by Anne Enright, Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea by Marie Munkara (funny and devastating in equal measure), A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (with some misgivings), The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood and Heat and Dust by Ellen van Neerven (I’m a big fan). Lots of books by female writers, though not intentionally so. But my desire recently to focus more on writers of diverse ethnicities has lead me to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, and next will be The Sellout by Peter Beatty.
Robert Stevenson, shortlisted in the Australian History category for The War with Germany, Vol III
This year I have enjoyed Geoffrey Blainey’s The Story of Australia’s People. This study is deeply researched, compelling, and accessible, as was his earlier Black Kettle and Full Moon. My other favourite 2016 read is Gordon Peake’s Beloved Land, which although published in 2013, I only read this year. Peake provides an insider’s account of contemporary Timor-Leste by skilfully blending its long past and complex present.
Steven Carroll, shortlisted in the Fiction category for Forever Young
My favourite book of 2016: Poum and Alexandre by Catherine de Saint Phalle.
Lili Wilkinson, shortlisted in Young Adult Fiction for Green Valentine
It’s a tie between Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue and Justine Larbalestier’s My Sister Rosa, two books that couldn’t be more different. One is full of love and hope and second chances. The other is deeply, deeply disturbing.
We have a copy of each of these authors’ shortlisted books to give away. For your chance to win, go to mwf.com.au/competitions, enter your details and the competition name AWARDS. Entries close Friday 9 December.
Winners of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were announced on Tuesday 8 November in Canberra. Click here to view the full shortlist.