The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction shortlist 2019

It has been a privilege to judge this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction during our 50th Birthday year. I would conjecture that no one in Australia other than the annual judging panel reads this group of books together – all the eligible first and second novels or short story collections from Australian authors in a year period (amounting this round to nearly fifty works) – and so it gives us four judges a unique perspective on publishing in the emerging writing field.

We can report that this year’s offerings included many works that were original, daring, challenging, and extremely accomplished, and it was a genuine challenge to make a shortlist of only six books. There were tears of passion in our meeting (no, seriously, there were!). I extend this year’s shortlisted authors the sincerest of congratulations from the judging panel, and from the Readings family at large.


hum2008

A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop

A riveting collection of stories assembled around the aftermath of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and told with a poignancy that respects both reader and subject, A Constant Hum is short fiction at its best. This skilful debut explores themes of loss and renewal, and what it means to survive when so much, and so many, did not.

You can read our review of the book here


inappropriation20008

Inappropriation by Lexi Freiman

Inappropriation is a sharp and uncompromising feminist satire of identity politics in the new millennium. It is also a campus novel of the highest order. Set in a prestigious girls school in inner Sydney as a group of teenage girls try to work out who they are and how they can be, this clever, funny, and incredibly confident debut novel lays bare the anxieties of our age.

Read our review of the book here


flight2008

The Flight of Birds by Joshua Lobb

The Flight of Birds is an affecting novel whose narrative arc unfolds over the course of twelve short stories. Thoughtfully exploring the myriad ways in which humans interact with the natural world, specifically with birds, this exploratory and at times melancholy book challenges the conventions of the novel, and shows how creative practice can intervene in debates around climate and extinction.


spectre2006

A Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer

This novel is weird in the best kind of way. Taking readers on a trip through time, space, and consciousness, A Superior Spectre is an unconventional story starring a flawed protagonist. Lush with the detail of its period settings in Scotland and beyond, this genre- and mind-bending piece of writing is utterly unique.

Read our review of the book here


silence2006

This Taste for Silence by Amanda O'Callaghan

A seamlessly curated collection of short stories, This Taste for Silence showcases the talents of a writer in complete control of her craft. Inventive in its themes and by an author unafraid to enfold her readers into unsettling reading experiences, this is an exceptional debut, featuring both microfictions and longer stories.

Read our review of the book here


shout2006

The Glad Shout by Alice Robinson

The Glad Shout is a topical and thought-provoking second novel that explores themes of motherhood and the survival of family in the chaos generated in the near future of our climate crisis. Warm and benevolent, and with a heart-stopping ending, this is a generous book about love and how essential it is in the darkest of hours.

Read our review of the book here


The 2019 judging panel is Christine Gordon (Events Manager for Readings), Sharon Peterson (Manager at Readings St Kilda), Amanda Rayner (senior staff member at Readings Carlton), and Alison Huber, Readings’ Head Book Buyer. Our Managing Director, Mark Rubbo, and 2018’s winner, Jennifer Down, will join the panel to select the winner. The winner will be announced online in late October, and will be featured in the November issue of Readings Monthly. The winner receives $3000 in prize money.


You can buy a specially-priced pack of all six shortlisted books here for $159.99 (was $180.91).

 Read review
A Constant Hum

A Constant Hum

Alice Bishop

$29.99Buy now

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 Read reviewA Constant Hum

A Constant Hum

Alice Bishop

A young and exciting new literary voice, emerging from one of Australia's worst natural disasters

$29.99Buy now

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 Read reviewInappropriation

Inappropriation

Lexi Freiman

A search for belonging in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs turns into a riotous satire of identity politics in this wildly irreverent coming-of-age story.

$29.99Buy now

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The Flight of Birds

The Flight of Birds

Joshua Lobb

The Flight of Birds is a novel in twelve stories, each of them compelled by an encounter between the human and animal worlds. The birds in these stories inhabit the same space as humans, but they are also apart, gliding above us....

$35.00Buy now

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 Read reviewA Superior Spectre

A Superior Spectre

Angela Meyer

A Superior Spectre is a highly accomplished debut novel about our capacity for curiosity, and our dangerous entitlement to it, and reminds us the scariest ghosts aren't those that go bump in the night, but those that are born and...

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 Read reviewThis Taste for Silence

This Taste for Silence

Amanda O'Callaghan

Subtle, compelling and unsettling, Amanda O'Callaghan's stories work at the edges of the sayable, through secrets, erasures and glimpsed moments of disclosure. They shimmer with unspoken histories and characters who have a...

$22.95Buy now

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 Read reviewThe Glad Shout

The Glad Shout

Alice Robinson

The Glad Shout is an extraordinary novel of rare depth and texture, by the acclaimed writer of Anchor Point, Alice Robinson. After a catastrophic storm destroys Melbourne, Isobel flees to higher ground with her husband and young...

$32.99Buy now

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