The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction shortlist 2016

We’re delighted to announce this year’s shortlist for The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction!

The Readings Prize considers first and second books from Australian authors, and aims to recognise exciting and exceptional new contributions to local literature.

The six books shortlisted for this year’s Reading Prize tell stories of complicated families, of relationships good and bad, of desire and ambition, humour and heartbreak, identity and loss. The shortlist includes two short-story collections and four novels, and their settings range from South Australia in 1835 to Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2008, with an extraordinary diversity of places and people in between.

The six shortlisted books are…


Portable Curiosities by Julie Koh

‘A collection of funny, bold and delightfully weird short stories. Koh is an ambitious writer with a unique voice and a wild imagination. A playful and challenging book.’

You can read more about Julie Koh here

You can read an extract from Portable Curiosities here


The High Places by Fiona McFarlane

‘In the tradition of the greats of the short form, this is an accomplished and sophisticated collection of stories by the author of the acclaimed novel The Night Guest.’

You can read more about Fiona McFarlane here

You can read an extract from The High Places here


Music and Freedom by Zoë Morrison

‘This expertly crafted novel is a profound and heartbreaking portrait of one woman’s life, touching on issues of ambition, wealth, class, and violence.’

You can read more about Zoë Morrison here

You can read an extract from Music and Freedom here

You can meet Zoë Morrison at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival


Wood Green by Sean Rabin

‘Set in Tasmania, this is a charming, quirky and very clever debut novel, bursting with literary references and boasting a memorable cast of characters. A genuine pleasure to read.’

You can read more about Sean Rabin here

You can read an extract from Wood Green here

You can meet Sean Rabin at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival


Ruins by Rajith Savanadasa

‘A complex and compelling family saga set in Sri Lanka in the final days of the civil war, deftly exploring conflicts around gender, class, generational divide, race and more.’

You can read more about Rajith Savanadasa here

You can read an extract from Ruins here

You can meet Rajith Savanadasa at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival


Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

‘Set in South Australia in 1835, this beautifully written and emotionally rich debut novel grapples with the devastating effects of colonisation and the harsh realities of frontier life.’

You can read more about Lucy Treloar here

You can read an extract from Salt Creek here

You can meet Lucy Treloar at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival

The Readings staff judges for this year’s Prize – Tom Hoskins, State Library Victoria shop manager; Christine Gordon, events manager; Alison Huber, book division manager; Nina Kenwood, marketing manager; and Simon McLean, Hawthorn book buyer – felt that the quality of the eligible books was extremely high, which is testament to the depth of emerging talent in Australian literature. Managing director Mark Rubbo and celebrated author Maxine Beneba Clarke will join this judging panel to select the winner from the six shortlisted books.

The winning author will be announced at a special event on Tuesday 18 October, be featured in the November issue of the Readings Monthly, and will receive prize money of $4000.

You can read more about the Prize here.

You can buy a specially-priced pack of all six shortlisted books here for $139.95 (was $170.86).

 Read review
Salt Creek

Salt Creek

Lucy Treloar

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 Read reviewMusic and Freedom

Music and Freedom

Zoe Morrison

Alice Murray learns to play the piano aged three on an orange orchard in rural Australia. Recognising her daughter's gift, her mother sends Alice to boarding school in the bleak north of England, and there Alice stays for the rest...

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 Read reviewSalt Creek

Salt Creek

Lucy Treloar

A stunning debut novel from the winner of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Pacific Region) and the 2013 Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award.    

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 Read reviewPortable Curiosities

Portable Curiosities

Julie Koh

In Portable Curiosities, Julie Koh re-imagines our world with a dark, satirical twist. These twelve stories combine absurd humour with searing critiques on contemporary society - the rampant consumerism, the casual...

$19.95Buy now

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 Read reviewThe High Places

The High Places

Fiona McFarlane

These wide-ranging stories resonate in the way of only the finest writing and the most pleasurable reading. There are storylines that seem straightforward on the surface but have a dozen things circling underneath, others that sit...

$32.99Buy now

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 Read reviewRuins


Rajith Savanadasa

In the bustling streets, overcrowded hospitals and glittering nightclubs of Colombo, five family members find their bonds stretched to breaking point in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war.

$27.99Buy now

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 Read reviewWood Green

Wood Green

Sean Rabin

Michael, an aspiring writer who has recently finished his PhD, takes a job as the secretary to his literary hero, Lucian Clarke, a reclusive novelist with a mysterious cosmopolitan past, who lives in a cottage in a...

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