The Readings Prize: New Australian Fiction shortlist

The Readings New Australian Fiction Prize is presented to the best new contribution to Australian literature. Our 2022 staff judges are: Christine Gordon (community engagement and programming and chair of judges), Carolyn Watson (Readings Doncaster), Susan Stevenson (Readings Malvern) and Tye Cattanach (schools and libraries specialist).

Discover the six shortlisted titles below.

Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au

A daughter arranges to meet her mother in Japan; a reunion of sorts. As they travel through art galleries and temples, share meals and hotel rooms, it is clear that deeply held expectations are not being met. This is a powerful exploration of family, creation and regret that also plays with elements of time and perspective. It is a story that ponders questions of connection.

‘A beautifully tender evocation of a mother-daughter relationship, Cold Enough for Snow is a masterwork in flawlessly executed prose. Jessica Au has delivered an extraordinary novel.’ — Tye Cattanach

Hovering by Rhett Davis

Alice wants to go home after years of being away. However, the city she loves has disappeared, changed not only by years of sustained memories, but also altered in a very physical sense: everything has moved. This story plays with the concept of permanency, with a deft mix of humour and social reckoning.

‘Richly compelling and wonderfully imaginative, this brilliant work speaks to connection and how we find each other in the strangeness of life. Could-not-put-it-down-able!’ — Carolyn Watson

Losing Face by George Haddad

Joey is doing what all teenagers do after school is over: he hangs with his mates and is involved in civil disobedience. But his regular routine is forever altered when he is privy to a violent crime that shakes not only his concept of friendship but also his view of masculinity. This story is about owning who you are and understanding why you are.

‘We’re a long way from the harbour city in George Haddad’s Sydney. Tackling prejudice, broken taboos and violence, Losing Face is a nail-biting story of coming-of-age in contemporary Australia.’ — Susan Stevenson

Love and Virtue by Diana Reid

Michaela arrives at university filled with the desire to become an intellectual and social leader. She makes friends in her residential college but feels isolated by their view of the world. It is not until she starts a relationship with a teacher that she feels equal. But is she? This is a story that questions authority, sexual consent and class values.

‘Featuring a beautifully flawed ensemble of characters, Love & Virtue is a thought-provoking debut that explores some of our biggest issues. I loved it.’ — Carolyn Watson

Loveland by Robert Lukins

May leaves Brisbane and arrives in a house she has inherited located in a discarded Nebraskan resort called Loveland. She decides she is leaving her violent partner, but to do so she must reckon with the past and acknowledge how loss, friendship and hope have threaded through her life. This story explores the impact of intergenerational violence with kindness and great consideration.

‘A tale of domestic violence across generations, Loveland plays out against the backdrop of a ruined lakeside resort. A dark, lyrical slice of American gothic.’ — Susan Stevenson

Sunbathing by Isobel Beech

A daughter leaves Melbourne to stay with her friends in Abruzzo, in the month prior to their wedding. The Italian village is an oasis, where she is finally able to grieve her father’s recent suicide. The days are tempered by heat and acceptance. On her return, she realises she cannot continue with the same routines. Everything, including herself must change.

‘Gorgeously spare, Sunbathing is a deeply thought-provoking reflection on grief and regret, love and loss. Isobel Beech is a magical writer indeed.’ — Tye Cattanach

We are pleased to offer all six books on the 2022 shortlist in a specially priced pack. You can buy this pack in-store and online for the special price of $139.99 (was $173.90).

The winner of The Readings New Australian Fiction Prize will be announced live at a special event during October. Andrew Pippos, winner of last year’s New Australian Fiction Prize for Lucky’s, will join as a guest judge to decide on this year’s winner. Managing director Mark Rubbo will also join the final panel.

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Cover image for Cold Enough for Snow

Cold Enough for Snow

Jessica Au

In stock at 7 shops, ships in 3-4 daysIn stock at 7 shops